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Should Job Seekers Take Vacation?

July 24th, 2008
Join Jason Alba as he spends time with Barry Groh, executive in the non-profit space, with a personal “Getting Started on JibberJobber” session.  Barry has not started to use JibberJobber, and this one-hour session will answer all his questions, address things such as importing from LinkedIn and Outlook, and anything else that comes up.  Simply use the same registration information and callin number you find on the Free Webinar page (even though the date is for next year, this will happen on July 29, 2008 at 9am MST (11am noon).

When in my job search I listened to a guy who said taking a vacation from his job search was a huge mistake.  He lost momentum and found it hard to get back in the groove.

I was working 60 hours a week (10 hours a day, 6 days a week) in my job search.  I could have used a vacation, but (a) I didn’t have money, and (b) I was to anxious to get a paying job to go off and frolick somewhere cool.

It seems to me I’ve read articles from career experts saying it is important to take a vacation during the job search.

I didn’t even want to stop working on holidays!  I was anxiously engaged in finding that next job!

What do you think – should job seekers be able to (or, make time to) take a vacation?

11 Comments »

11 responses to “Should Job Seekers Take Vacation?”

  1. Jason – I advise my clients to take time off from their job search on a regular basis! The search (as you experienced) can be so all-encompassing that it stretches its way into every hour of your waking life! With resources and networking galore online, it is easy to stay glued to the computer. The trouble is, it really isn’t going to help your search to become a job hunting zombie.

    Job seekers should schedule job hunting hours as they might have scheduled work hours. If you were a workaholic, 24/7 type of worker, consider working a little more balance into your job hunt than your paid work life.

    Does “time off” require a vacation? Actually getting away? Not really, although being physically removed from your job hunting notebook may help. I don’t advise totally disconnecting for an extended period if you may hear about interviews or offers. Checking in every night or every other night is a good idea.

    The bottom line – take time off, recharge and you’ll be better off for it!

    Miriam Salpeter
    Keppie Careers

  2. jemimah says:

    It probably depends on your field (I work in IT) , but the vast majority of job opportunities I’ve received have come in through recruiters that have called me. I have found spending many hours sending resumes and filling out applications to be mostly a waste of time. The more time I spend, the more stressed I feel, and the more desperate I probably come across to people.

    The way I do it, I set up rss feeds to online search engines, which I check once per day. Then I apply for anything that seems reasonable. This takes max 3 hours per day. I put my resume on a couple job boards, and make sure I always answer my phone and email. Then I find something else to do, so I’m not obsessing constantly about getting a job. I try not to spend much money, but I’m not so stressed I need a vacation.

    Seriously, you’ve got to relax, play video games or something. Getting a job is mostly luck, and it takes however long it takes to get lucky.

  3. Greig Harper says:

    I think it it’s a balance of how focused you are as an individual, your financial situation and what the vacation involves. I’m not convinced there’s any one size fits all solution.

    If you’ve been laid off, haven’t had a vacation for a while and can afford it I don’t see any reason not to do it. But you need to bear in mind how long the job search can take and your financial situation.

    Considering how hard we all work these days and how little vacation we get it’s not unusual to find people taking time off for a long vacation when changing jobs.

  4. No, do not take a vacation. OK, maybe a short one, but definitely don’t take six months off to go travel the world. As a recruiter and hiring manager, the first thing I think when I see lengthy gaps in employment are:

    1) This person must have been fired. Why would they chose to leave and not have anything else lined up?
    2) This person likes to sit on their arse and live off unemployment. Why else would they wait until the very moment their unemployment check expires before looking for another job?
    3) This person has been looking for a job for HOW LONG? Why hasn’t anyone else offered them a job by now?

    Though I know that there are possibly very good reasons for gaps in employment, the realist in me is always looking for the angle and the scam. For me, the shorter the gap in employment, the easier it will be to convince me that you want to work and will be a focused, long-term hire.

  5. A vacation is indeed deserved provided one believes in “work-life” balance and secondly moves about in life not believing in the scarcity model.

  6. Rob Lewis says:

    I totally disagree with “Totally Consumed”. With an economy in the toilet and many companies afraid to hire, maybe you should rethink that view or it could leave you overlooking some very promising prospects. Lengths of gaps are only going to grow in this current market and not everyone waits until that “next gig” is lined up to leave an environment they feel is toxic. Vacations are very good after a long tenure at another company so long as it fits with their economic health and their ultimate game plan for their career. I have done it myself, taking three months to play golf, de-stress, and map out what I wanted out of my career. I had never had a problem explaining the gap, did not receive unemployment and received numerous offers during that time. It ended up leading to the most successful run of my career! If a hiring manager or recruiter has a problem with it, then it seems that their views may need adjusting, NOT mine.

  7. Barry Groh says:

    If job hunting is to be considered a full-time job while you are doing so, wouldn’t it also be a good idea to take time off from your search to be able to recharge? I would definitely encourage a vacation from the job search, just as long aas it is in keeping with any normal vacation. How many people do you know take more than two weeks at a time from their normal job? So, a vacation shouldn’t be any longer.

    To be able to be strong, to be fresh, and to be balanced (which was raised by another commentor on this post) it is vitally important to take a vacation. Your family needs you devoted to them for a time, and your own sanity needs time away.

    You may not be able to go to the south of France (not my favorite place anyway) but getting away and doing someting different is a good thing!

  8. david perry says:

    When you don’t have a job your JOB is to find a job. so 5 days a week you need to go to work – at your desk – finding a job. a vacation is that time of year when you take time off work to relax, meet relatives, have some fun and re-energize your mind and soul. so if you have a job and you suddenly loose it i suggest you take your regularly scheduled vacation time AND then get back to work looking for a job. DO NOT skip it – unless you where going to put it on an already strained charge card. BUT DON’T extend it either. After a job loss you need to decompress. Pick yourself up and decide what you want to do next [career wise]. Not taking a vacation or working 24/7 looking for job will just lead to burnout, frustration and result in your experieincing a longer time unemployed. Jobs will come and go. Life comes but once.

  9. Paloma says:

    I found this in my emails today after reading the blog on vacations and job search – I think the approach should be one of moderation. I see what they are saying below – you can have your cake and eat it too if you do a bit each day on your search and then take time with family. I don’t think you should spend money going overseas or having a fantastic time at disneyworld if you don’t know where your next paycheck is coming (that strikes me as a bit irresponsible). I am sure however that some people have access to free or limited expense things to do around their city/state or may have a friend/relative offering a country place for a week/weekend get-away. I think it’s important to have a little downtime and to be “available” emotionally and physically with your spouse and children. Sometimes you merely need a break in routine – maybe work on something else in the house or help someone in your neighborhood (perhaps a small service project). Helping others is always a good way to forget ones own problems.

    Here is the information I found amongst my emails as I was contemplating this topic:

    Should You Take A Vacation From Job Hunting?
    Vacations are a time for rest and relaxation; however, if you’re in the market for a new job, putting that search on hold for a vacation can lead to missed job and networking opportunities.
    Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to sit on the beach with your laptop and send out applications all day long. Plan ahead so you can relax and keep up with your job search. You don’t want to miss out on a job opportunity because you have been a little out of touch. Don’t risk losing the chance to respond to an employer’s question or network with a colleague. Job opportunities won’t wait for you to return from the beach. It is OK to take a few days off here and there but the search should always be on. Here are some tips for taking your job search on the road:
    Check your job search email account regularly. Bring your laptop or Blackberry and set aside some time to check your email for employer inquiries or updates. There may be a chance that a prospective employer needs to know more about your qualifications. Or maybe your job search advisor has found something that you need to jump on right away!
    Make sure your vacation spot has internet access. Most hotels and vacation spots have internet access in their business centers or lobbies, but do check before you make reservations.
    Bring your cell phone. This doesn’t mean you have to bring it with you to a romantic dinner or while swimming at the pool, but having it around will make it easy for you to check your voicemail on a regular basis and respond to important phone calls. If you are traveling internationally, make sure you have an international calling plan.
    Keep business cards handy. Even though you may be overseas, you never know whom you may meet! This is a small world, and you may make contacts that will improve your chances of landing a position back home.
    Have access to your résumé. You may need it for those contacts you have made, or perhaps you may need to email it to someone important.
    Set aside a little time each day for your search. The morning hours will give you the opportunity to “get it out of the way” and enjoy your day. Most likely if you wait until the evening you are more tired and less motivated. But if you must, wait after the children have gone to bed and you have time to yourself. Pour yourself a drink, sit by the pool and plug away!

    http://www.aiuonline.edu/aiuzine/issue40/main_theme.aspx

    Paloma

  10. Alison says:

    Short vacations, maybe.

    Otherwise, when you accept the job, accept it a week or two in the future. Relax, take a break, and have a few margaritas then, with a clear head as you prepare for a new career.

  11. SMoriah says:

    I totally agree with Rob Lewis; “Totally Consued” (you might want to spell check your name!) has the attitude of most managers and employers for whom I would rather NOT work. “Totally Consued” is totally inhuman and inhumane!