The conventional wisdom says that if you really, really want a job you’re supposed to keep searching no matter what. No matter the circumstances. Persistence will overcome everything. Never quit.
Well, I think there are some good reasons to stop looking for a job and do something different, despite all the advice. And they are…
Sometimes, You Need to Take a Vacation From Your Search
When you are working, you take a vacation to get away from it all. Recreation is really re-creation. If you follow all the rules, searching for a job is a full-time occupation. I get that. But if you are doing a full-time job looking for work, then you also need to have some time off to get away from it all.
Take my personal example. In 2001 I was laid off from my company in June, right at the tech bust. I was a good soldier: I looked for work every single day. Then I got a phone call to turn on the television because some plane had slammed into the twin towers. When I saw the towers fall, I prayed that all were safe. But the little voice inside my head said, “You’ll never find a job until at least the beginning of the year — there is too much uncertainty now.”
So I stopped looking. Instead, because I had enough money saved, I took September through December off. I spent three weeks 800 miles away helping a friend with a project. I drove another 700 miles and visited my Mom over Christmas. I helped others. I took care of myself. I got away from it all.
I came back to the job search refreshed and wanting to find work on my terms.
You need to Pause to Determine the Job You Want to Have
There are a lot of us who, by chance of where we got our first job and the opportunities presented to us, found ourselves in the wrong job. Seriously, how many people yearned in college to become an insurance underwriter?
Or, where we’re working now gives us heartburn, frustration or even depression because the work we do isn’t the work that we like to do. All the pundits tell us to talk about our results and tell our stories of how we helped the business — all to get another job that’s exactly like jobs we had and hated.
You’ve looked and looked, but your heart isn’t in it. It’s time to quit your job search.
It’s time to get away and decide what type of work gets you excited. Or decide if it’s really time to do something different and start your own business. Take time to find what types of people you like to work with. The type of management that brings out the best in you.
You see, we get so close to ourselves we miss all that. We get pressure from society, pundits, our family and our sense of responsibility to find another job — even if it’s a job we hate.
I was at a party once and most of the people in my little circle bemoaned their jobs. When I asked why they stayed, the answer was: “It’s a paycheck.”
I get the need for a paycheck. Believe me. But if we hate what we do, we don’t really commit ourselves to finding that same job, because that just puts us through the pain all over again.
Every once in a while, we have to pause and find out what we want to do and who we want to work with. Then, after a couple of weeks of soul-searching, thought and discussions, we come back and re-boot the job search.
Look, job searching is tough. If you really need a job and anything will do to get that paycheck, I get it. But too often we beat ourselves up over not having work when getting a little perspective from being away would help us find what we need in other ways. If you purposefully quit for a specific period of time, you can get away from the guilt trips and relentless feelings of failure you get from a long search. It helps you rediscover who you are and helps you get your sense of worth back.
Yes, we need persistence. We need to search like it was a full-time job. We need to follow the good advice out there about what needs doing to land that job.
But sometimes, we need to quit the job search — for a while.