Teachers do it, practitioners do it, and even students do it. As you hurl towards the New Year with your lists in hand of how you plan to change the world, or what you will accomplish in the next 12 months, there may be a few of you who are thinking, “Why can’t I just take a break?” Moving too fast in life is not always the best course when trying to reach your goals. Time spent in quiet contemplation sets the necessary foundation to help focus you more than list building and speed-interviewing can any day. When you feel the need to plan ahead, think about slowing down and taking a career sabbatical.
Taking a rest doesn’t mean you are copping out or even dropping out. It means you are smart enough to know when it’s time to regroup, get organized and focus on your long-range plans. Let’s face it the holidays bring out the best and worst in most of us. Stress causes us to make decisions in a vacuum and to react instead of proactively plan for your future. When you are too busy with life, you delay putting off what you need to take care of most and that is you. Your decisions about career, money, family and the like take a back-seat to the more pressing concerns of the day-getting the kids off to school or paying the bills.
Taking a career sabbatical from your job search is no different. When you give yourself permission to rest and regroup it sends a message to you and everyone else that you are making yourself the priority. The benefits you receive are tremendous as you give yourself the time and attention to focus on your career in a calm and detached way. A career sabbatical offers you the opportunity to reflect on what’s working and change what is not working as it relates to your current job or your future job search.
It’s okay to take a breather from the chaotic job search even if it’s a few weeks so that you can know you are making the right decision when a job offer does come along. Your hard work is rewarded when you learn to take time for yourself and make sure you are on the right track. All the lists and plans and goal-setting won’t help if you are burned out and overwhelmed as a result of the holidays or just having to deal with your job search for so long.
Giving yourself the opportunity to focus on you will go a long way in helping you stay focused on your job search and maintain the optimism and fortitude you will ultimately need to stay in the game and to reach your ultimate career goals. So next time you feel guilty over not sending out 100 resumes in a day, stop and realize you will get where you are going a lot faster if you just lighten up, relax and take a break. Your hard work will pay off whether you decide to move 100 miles per hour or at 10 miles per hour. Take a career sabbatical while you have the chance and don’t deny yourself the freedom to rest, refresh and regroup for the new year.