Searching for a new job is often one of the most frustrating parts of life. Especially when you’re doing it alone without anyone like a professional career strategist or career coach guiding you. It can feel like hacking through a thick jungle of dead ends with a dull machete.
One of the most frustrating aspects to job hunting is feeling like you’re not making progress. Sometimes this feeling is real and sometimes it’s not, but either way, it wears on your energy and confidence–two essential qualities needed for networking and interviewing. So take a vacation!
If you get to the point where you feel completely drained and frustrated, it may be time to step away and take a vacation from job hunting. The vacation doesn’t need to be a literal getaway trip, although it could if your resources allow it. If finances are tight, take a vacation from your job search while staying at home, but doing something you truly enjoy.
Everyone needs to take breaks. And it’s understandable if you feel like you can’t or shouldn’t, but don’t let those feelings lead you deeper toward job search dead ends. It’s important to recharge your batteries–especially if you’re feeling hopeless about your job prospects.
The most important thing about taking a vacation from job hunting is to spend the time doing something that brings you peace, joy, happiness, or whatever it is that restores your energy and confidence. For some people this could be volunteering for a week doing something they’ve always wanted to do. For others it could be cataloging all their family photos in order to create a memory book for their kids. Whatever you choose, make it something you really want to do.
Try to immerse yourself in the activity you’ve chosen. Think of it like a shower. Let the frustration, fear, anger, and whatever other negative emotions that have attached themselves to you wash away. This vacation is about metaphorically removing job search frustrations and doubts that have become mental and emotional leeches sucking your energy and confidence away and slowing your progress toward a new position.
Be careful to not let guilt over suspending your job search trap you into exchanging those activities for other activities that also drain your energy. This is not the time to work on “honey do” list items you’ve been avoiding. Think of this vacation as an investment in finding the job you want. Remember you want to rebuild your confidence and energy bank. Do something you’ll enjoy!
When you’re done, you’ll have fulfilled something in your life, and you will be more ready to look at your job search with less stress, and renewed energy. You’ll find the sun has come out, you’ll be more open to and aware of opportunities, and better able to take advantage of them.
Want additional reasons for why you should stop and untangle the vines when your job search feels like it’s going nowhere? Read Harvard Business Review’s “The Data-Driven Case for Vacation” by Shawn Achor and Michelle Giellan.
The article looks at how employees are foregoing company-paid vacation time, sometimes even losing vacation hours and, in effect, donating time to their employer in an effort to curry imagined benefits. The authors, Achor and Giellan, discovered, “People who took fewer than 10 of their vacation days per year had a 34.6% likelihood of receiving a raise or bonus in a three-year period of time. People who took more than 10 of their vacation days had a 65.4% chance of receiving a raise or bonus.” It’s not clear there’s a cause and effect with taking vacations and nearly doubled chances of raises or bonuses. There might be a third factor such as better organizational skills or something else that correlates to taking vacations and getting benefits.
But the idea that a relaxed, rested mind is more productive than a stressed, exhausted one is hard to refute. According to Tony Schwartz’s article “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive” in the Sunday Review, “A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.”
The main takeaway seems to be whether you’re exhausted from working — or exhausted by looking for work — stop! A vacation will do you good.
Julia is a Career Strategist and Gallop-Certified Strengths Coach based in the Bay Area. She helps career-focused professionals showcase their unique abilities and talents in order to amplify their presence in their chosen fields and when re-entering the job market. Julia uses her extensive leadership experience in executive management, business development, team building and recruiting to help her clients have the career they always wanted. Learn more about Julia at www.JuliaHolian.com, www.LinkedIn.com/in/JuliaHolian, https://Twitter.com/JuliaHolian (@JuliaHolian) and www.Facebook.com/JuliaHolian.