Why I Always Take a Between-Jobs Vacation
"Who's down for another round of margins and guac?" My friend and former co-worker asked the table as he was polished off the last crumbles of tortilla chips. "Annie, you're obviously in, right?"
You'd think I would've been obviously in, as we were out celebrating my last day on the job, and I'm not alone to turn down a happy hour special. But actually, I passed on the promise of more delicious dunks for good reason.
"Dude, I can not have more than one margarita tonight. I'm going to Nicaragua in, like, five hours, and I still have to go home and pack! "
Yep, that’s right. Just hours after I handed in my company laptop and posted my last #workviews Instagram, I hopped on a plane to Nicaragua with my fiancé for a week of rest, relaxation, and reflection before I dove into my next gig. I know how lucky I am to be able to do this—not only to take a week off of work entirely, without a paycheck, but also to be able to use that week to travel somewhere for a restful vacation. And luckier still to (for the most part) have something, whether it's a new job or a freelance gig, to come back to afterward. But because travel is so important to my wellbeing, and because I've been very fortunate to have the opportunities and resources to make it a reality, the in-between-jobs trip is a perk I afford myself every time I move from one thing to the next in my career. It’s become an invaluable way for me to pause and reflect on my accomplishments and prepare myself for what comes next.
A vacation between the end of one job and the start of a new "What makes the transition vacations arguably more effective than the regular ones is that you really are 50 ~ truly ~ 51
“What makes transition vacations arguably more effective than regular ones is that you really are truly disengaged,” vocational psychologist Bryan Dik, Ph.D., cofounder of JobZology, a site that matches professionals with meaningful work, tells SELF. “You have this opportunity to be doing something totally different than what you’d ordinarily be doing without even wondering how the meeting or whatever else is going in your absence,” he continues.
Many of us are guilty of going on vacation vowing to unplug and then secretly checking our work emails, or find that, try as we can, we can not let go of nagging stress from an unfinished task or upcoming deadline. But when you have closed the book on your last job and have not started your next one? You're freer. You can devote your energy completely to doing what you need-not your boss, not your coworkers-which you are in a relaxed, unfrazzled state before you start your new job (and new phase of life) .
That does not mean you have to put work out of mind completely. But Dik says between-jobs trips can help you focus on your big-picture career rather than the day-to-day. evaluate. Ask yourself: What did you most appreciate and enjoy from your previous work that you could take with you, and what were the ways that you were beaten down? Answering these questions can help you begin again with a new level of energy and a growth-oriented perspective, "Dik continues.
“These transitional trips are natural opportunities to take a step back and re-evaluate. Ask yourself: What did you most appreciate and enjoy from your previous job that you can take with you, and what were the ways that you were beaten down that you now need to avoid? Answering these questions can help you begin again with a new level of energy and a growth-oriented perspective,” Dik continues.
That's certainly the case with me.
Transitions are powerful times of growth. They are hard and they sometimes fill me with fear and self-doubt and they usually make me cry, but I love them in spite of, or, because of-those things. No one sums up my feelings on this topic better than Danaan Parry, author of my favorite borderline-cheesy-but-actually-super-wise poem, called "The Parable of the Trapeze." In it, Parry compares life to a series of trapeze bars. He then argues that hurling yourself from one bar to the next, while scary, is actually when all of the best stuff-the real stuff-happens. "... The transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored, "he writes. "Yes, with all the pain and fear and fear of being out of control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives."
And so, as a fan of Parry and his trapeze metaphor, I've made an intentional point to honor and savor my transitions. As a travel lover, I naturally do this on trips, which I meticulously save for all the year, so that when the opportunity to travel arises, I have a travel fund of some amount be raided. Aside from Nicaragua, I've also gone down to the Dominican Republic to stay with a friend before I started a new job, and another time, I planned an epic between-jobs trek to Machu Picchu in Peru. During all three travel experiences, I was able to take a step back and think about how far I've come, where I am now, and where I want to be in the future.
Not only have I enjoyed the life-enriching experiences of these adventures, but I’ve used them as opportunities to take stock of where I am in my professional life—and where I want to go. I’ve had a pretty zig-zaggy career path so far. The space between zigs and zags has been more or less up to me (like when my job changed so drastically that I decided I'd rather try my hand at freelancing than stay at a more stable position that I wasn't suited for). But at least once, I've found myself suddenly having to figure out what the heck I would do next. And while I’ve been able to connect the dots in retrospect, I haven’t always been able to do so in the moment—so some of those transition points have been a bit difficult. At most of these junctures, I've been fortunate to be able to take one of these powerful, reflective trips. They have been incredibly helpful in giving me space to pause and actually do the dot connecting, which helps me come home with an updated and stronger sense of my own narrative.
If an in-between jobs trip sounds like something for you, planning starts when you're negotiating for your next job.
"Many people do not realize that you can negotiate your start date as part of your new job agreement, "Explains career coach and hiring expert Alison Green, who book, Ask a Manager, was just published in May. "They have this idea in their heads that you're supposed to start within two weeks, but that's just not true. It's very common to take time off, and it can not be part of the negotiation process. You can just be in the middle of a job and say, "she would." If you do get a pushback, Green suggests telling them why you want to take the time off in the first place. "Say something like, I want to start this job with you as fresh and focused as I can be, 'and chances are, they'll understand."
In fact, some employers may even be happy that you asked in the first place. "As a hiring manager, I think they should be better when they begin," explains CEO advisor Alexander Lowry, who's also the executive director of Gordon College's financial analysis master's program. "They'll be rested, they'll be happy, and they'll be hungry for success."
And do not worry that asking for time is going to look. "As a hiring manager, I've already determined that I've found the right person-it's you," confirms Lowry. "Does it matter, then, if it takes you longer to get here?" No. "In most cases, you'll get your week in between. Maybe you'll have to shave a few days off the plan. Worst case scenario, they just say no. But do not be afraid to ask.
And don't forget there are a few ways to help cover the cost of your week off.
If you have unused vacation days from the job you ' re leaving, you may be able to use them after you quit-or get paid for them. There are actually a number of states that legally require your employer to pay out accrued vacation or sick time after you leave the company. "So if you live in one of those states, you could use the cash to fund your trip," explains Green. Alternatively, depending on your business, you can also ask if they are willing to pay your income, even if you do not live in a state where it's legally required.
"Everybody is different, but you could say to your boss, 'Look, I've worked really hard, and I've used almost any of my vacation / sick / personal days-could I use them after I leave? "A normal human being of a manager will at least try to figure something out with you," explains Lowry. "Maybe they'll let you give a month's notice instead of two weeks, for example, but then you take a week off during that time. "
Or consider asking your new job for a signing bonus during the negotiation process, offering career consultant and resume writer Tiffani Murray, and put that money towards a vacation before you start. "This could be any amount of $ 1,000 to $ 10,000, depending on your level," she explains. Then, she says, you can look at this money as you are in the middle of your life. same psychological benefits as they are on your vacation as long as you are intentional about how you spend your time.
Staycations can also give you the same psychological benefits as going on a vacation—as long as you’re intentional about how you spend your time.
Lounging around at home or taking the time to do annoying life things, together that terrifying IKEA bookshelf, is a totally legitimate way to spend your time off between jobs. But while it's relaxing and / or productive, operating in the same home atmosphere without doing that new and exciting thing. So if you've been working out a way to take a week off, try to play a tourist in your own hometown.
"The danger of staycations is that you have a lot of the same stress-inducing cues in your environment that you had to work so it's hard to feel like you're really escaping, "says Dik. "But changing your routine pretty wildly-like going to see a site that tourists see but you never do-can still give you that unplugging, resetting, perspective-taking, kind of experience." Even if you only have a few days to veg at home before your new job, or only are able to make a breakthrough in your career.
Volunteering is a good option, too. “If my clients can afford to take time off but can’t afford to travel, I always encourage them to find a volunteer effort to take part in,” suggests Murray. “Giving back to others is another way to give new life to your mind, body, and soul.” And in the end, that’s what honoring your transition is truly all about.
Annie Daly has written about travel for BuzzFeed Travel, Yahoo! Travel, AFAR, United Hemispheres, Cosmopolitan, and more.