Being without a job looks like a coast to people who get up and go off to work every day. You make our own schedule, going to the gym or the grocery store when you want. But then it can twist you up on the inside, creating a whole lot of stress. It might look like a vacation, but it sure doesn’t feel like one.
So is it OK to take a vacation when you’re out of work and want more than anything to get back in to work? It’s OK if you think it’s OK.
What kind of convoluted talk is this? Let me repeat the idea, with emphasis on a key word: It’s OK if you THINK it’s OK.
This is all about how you think and feel about your situation, and might just be harder work than actually finding a new job or career. And it might even be the ticket to finding your new job or career.
Here’s the deal. When we’re stressed about something big like finding a job, we act like a dog hunting for a bone he can’t find. Run in circles, fret about something he can’t fix, and live every moment in anticipation of having that bone in his mouth. But not living in the moment he has right now.
That’s the worst part of being jobless. It’s like having a clenched fist you just can’t relax. Your attention lacks focus, you’re always a little distracted. Common sense tells us that we humans need time to replenish our fortitude and our creativity. But you can only let go of that imaginary clenched fist if you THINK you can. Meaning, create some space to work on how you think about this situation you are in.
One of my favorite ideas is that “discipline is the price you pay for freedom.” Discipline works in your favor when you apply it to organizing your contacts, talking to people, and staying connected. But we often don’t think about the discipline it takes to set aside the computer, the hammer, or the project at hand — to take a break.
If you decide to take a vacation while you’re jobless, whether for an afternoon or a week, it’s not worth doing unless you make the effort to not feel guilty, to enjoy yourself, and to be in the moment and the place you are in – not worrying about which emails got answered. (FYI, you can leave notes for people about your absence—they’ll still be there when you come back.)
If you THINK you can be present, smile, relax, and enjoy yourself, by all means do it. And if you think you’re not ready, take some time to slow yourself down, be by yourself for five or ten minutes a day, clear your mind, close your eyes, and practice just being in the moment, just concentrating on your breathing.
That’s a good start. Take a mini-vacation to prepare for vacation. Get your head in a place to soak up the rest, the break and the rays. Then go get yourself some re-creation.