April 16, 2009
The Unexpected Sabbatical: If you are out of a job, consider taking time to reboot before plunging ahead to find a job just like the one you just lost. Give yourself the gift of time to figure out what you really want to do next.
You might be reading this and wondering what the word sabbatical has to do with you, especially now that you are suddenly out of a job. We want to help you think differently about this time. We call job loss an Unexpected Sabbatical, an opportunity to take a step back and really look at you. Look at your life, your work, what you liked about it and didn’t like about it. Although you didn’t choose the timing of this sabbatical, you can choose how you use the time off from your usual routine. Of course you have pressures and fears and concerns about the future – everyone will, especially now with the media frenzy. Despite all that, we firmly believe that if you use this time differently than you had originally planned, at least out of the gate, you will end up in a better place, a better job, and a better future.
A sabbatical is taking the gift of time and using it to recharge your batteries and renew your goals and commitments to yourself and your working agenda. It is also a time to shift how you think about what you have been doing and the way you have been doing it. It is about smelling the roses and taking the time to really see what makes you happy and fulfilled. Not everyone will make a dramatic change in their lives, and many use the time to reconnect with old friends and family or take in a museum and do things in their city or town that are normally reserved for visitors. It can be a time of reconnecting to all of who you are and maybe reigniting an old passion or hobby.
Why do this? As you discover new things about yourself you will be better prepared to identify job opportunities that resonate with you more fully. You will sell yourself more effectively in the job interview, and you will be more genuine in relationships of all kinds. Sounds like a tall order? It is actually quite simple. The act of paying more attention to what you think and truly feel will lead you to make better decisions and give you ideas about new directions that you might never have considered or even thought of had you not taken the time.
Overcoming fears about being unemployed are part of the process or path you are on. You will need to do all that you can to feel in control of your life now to ease some of that fear. You can’t control the decisions your company made or the effects of the economy but you can control what you do for yourself and your family and how you think about the time off. What can you do to feel more in control to allow yourself some thinking time and renewing time?
All around you are people who are reinventing themselves. This new economy is sprouting new ideas, innovation and reinvention everywhere you turn. The only way to do that is to give yourself the gift of time. How much time can you take for yourself and what would you like to do with the time? Only you can answer that question.