I might be known for being someone that often makes big decisions without thinking them through entirely. Isn’t that what keeps things exciting though? I recently decided to leave my job and as I was figuring out my next move, I knew one thing for sure. I wanted some time off for funemployment. It wasn’t quite clear to me yet if I had enough “rainy day” money saved up, but I just knew that I would be okay. The other thing that I had wanted as part of my time off was to take a mini vacation. It would have been so easy to go back home to Seattle, but I wanted to use this time to explore an area that I hadn’t been before and get out of the city.
The time off was a rollercoaster. It flew by incredibly fast, but it taught me so much in so little time. I can’t wait to share with you below just what those lessons were. One thing I will say though is that this felt like a true vacation versus being employed and having a vacation which are two very different things. In my career, the work never stops and I’ve been known to respond to emails and take urgent calls at all hours of the day even while on vacation. I’m happy to report that some of my biggest decisions that I had to make during my time off were mainly around what I was going to have for lunch or dinner.
1. Back Pocket Money
Let’s revisit that money thing again, shall we? When I was working, I roughly knew about how much I was spending a day for my daily latte, commute, and lunch. On my time off, I thought I could save more because I would be eliminating the commute, but naturally, that budget got rerouted to other things… like clothes, snacks, random things I thought I needed. Since I wouldn’t be working, I also thought I could eliminate coffee, but that proved to be more challenging than I thought. My body was so used to it every day that not having caffeine gave me a slower start to the day or required an afternoon nap. I had to keep a close watch on my budget which meant no excessive spending and being weary of the bills I still had to pay without a check coming in. Even with that in mind, there are some things you can’t predict! That thing was dropping my phone and shattering the screen even WITH the glass screen protector I had on it. It happened right before I was about to leave for my trip and I knew I couldn’t go on it without a phone, but as you can imagine, it was not cheap. My heart sunk having to go through with this, but what other choice did I have?
2. Thinking about nothing is relieving
Every day was a new day for me and not every day came with a challenge. Each morning I woke up with somewhat of a plan of what I wanted to tackle, but I wasn’t on a deadline for it. For the first time in my life, I felt very much in control of my own decision making. My brain felt relaxed and that was a relief. In the moment, it may have felt like mindless activity for the duration, but I knew that this time off was actually preparing me to start work again. If I had left my position and jumped into something immediately, I wouldn’t have had the time I needed to decompress. This may be the recruiter in me saying this, but I do think it’s important to have some space between jobs so that you can properly close the chapter on one story before opening another. On my list of favorite decisions to make: deciding on lunch or dinner, picking out floral arrangements for my vase, and deciding which series I wanted to binge watch on Netflix.
3. Yow Yow! got to have its moment
For years, I always said that Yow Yow! had to take a backseat to the rest of my life because it always came in second to my education and career. It made me wonder for the longest time if I could ever cut it out as a full time writer/blogger. Now that I had this time, I wanted to give it a shot. I wanted to wake up every day and have the space and time to come up with the content I wanted to share. I wrote more posts in this span of time than I ever have during a normal vacation or winter break. The most important part for me was that I never felt rushed. I could spend time with my words and if I could have this all the time while juggling a career, I would be perfectly content. It was incredibly fun to do, but it led me a bigger revelation I had for myself.
4. When it was time to go back to work
One discovery that I had was that as much as I loved working on Yow Yow! I wasn’t having the same impact with writing that I had had in my career with recruiting. Yow Yow! was peaceful, but isolating. It also led me to more creative blocks; something that I don’t face in my career. I started to miss the hustle and bustle of being back in the office, juggling a dozen things at once and having a day that was completely unpredictable. I needed the break sure, but I knew I wasn’t ready for retirement any time soon. Funemployment showed me that there was more growth to be had in my career and new challenges that I wanted to hit.
Tomorrow is day one again and it feels exactly like the first day of school. I know I won’t be able to sleep tonight. I’ve got “eagles” in my stomach (virtual high five if you can nail that reference) and of course, I feel unprepared! One of my biggest worries is that even though it was a short amount of time in some people’s eyes, that I’ll feel rusty going back. Here’s hoping that I can pick up my LinkedIn Recruiter again like a bicycle!