I firmly believe that high school graduates should take a gap year (more on that in another post), but they are not the only age group for which gap years make sense. I really like Marc Freedman's proposal in a recent HBR article, that gap years be adopted by the older set. In the article, he suggests gap years as a retirement alternative, but I think they make sense even earlier. More and more, individuals will go through several career and life transitions and time to reflect and re-position their efforts in a way that best suits them can only help the economy. In fact, I think it's part of what's wrong with our economy today: too many people not doing what they are best suited for. Said another way, individuals need to focus on their strengths and often, those strengths that take time (even a year) to figure out.