Summer Job Search II-When Is a Break Needed?

Now that we’ve completed the 4th of July weekend, a hot topic in many conversations over the next several weeks will be vacation plans. Obviously, hearing this becomes an added burden on those without jobs. Many unemployed people have canceled any vacation plans purely for cost reasons. While financially prudent, they shouldn’t forget about a primary reason vacations originated in the first place. People that work hard for several months need a break. Well, working VERY hard is just what many unemployed have been doing for quite some time.   

Many, if not the majority of job seekers I have spoken to, describe at least one job search in their careers as the most difficult project they have ever worked on. Even in a strong economy, finding the right employer with a match for your talent can take extraordinary time and effort. Combine this with the financial stress and uncertainty that often accompanies the process, it’s no wonder many name this among their greatest challenges faced.

The record levels of unemployment we now have began in late 2008. Currently, nearly half of those unemployed have been so for more than six months. So for more than half a year, millions of Americans have been tackling one of the most challenging projects of their careers; finding a job in the most difficult labor market our nation has seen in twenty-five years.

Any worker that has spent the half a year or longer on a particularly demanding project would now be talking about how badly they need the break provided by an upcoming vacation. Many of their co-workers and family would agree. We can all recall times in our careers witnessing instances where not taking a needed break has resulted in burnout, whether it happened to ourselves or to a colleague. We then probably witnessed a subsequent negative impact on performance resulting from this burnout.

I understand and commend the financial prudence that lead many unemployed individuals to scrap any vacation plans for this summer. However, someone in a protracted job search must be cognizant of possible burnout, because a resulting decline in performance on job search will likely extend the search even more. The first step may just involve allowing yourself to take a break, since it will not turn you into a job search slacker.

Remember you have technology on your side. I’ve heard many unemployed job seekers argue against taking a free or low cost that day trip because they’ll worry about missing a potential call. Amazingly, they never would hesitate to schedule a full day of job interviews due to these concerns. You have countless opportunities to check your voicemail and email remotely. Plus, in all likelihood, following up the next day will not kill your chances. 

For a low cost getaway, accepting a long-standing offer to spend a weekend at the home of a friend or relative might prove to be just what the doctor ordered. Do not assume it makes you a free-loader or something to be pitied. Consider the fact that were the situation reversed, you would welcome the opportunity to provide a close friend or relative such a needed respite.  Also, rest assured that concerned parties will respect how much you want to discuss your search once you let them know.

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