Three Things to Consider Before Taking Extended Time Off From Work

Leave of absence, anyone? Or maybe you just want to throw in the towel, give your two weeks notice and take time to get introspective and figure out your next career move.

According to this piece on Brazen Careerist, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Go ahead and take time off! But don’t do it to figure things out. The piece mentions people who had the best experiences during their ample time didn’t intentionally take the time off to figure things out and get clarity. In fact, it’s the opposite — they arrived at that zen moment by enjoying the journey. Truly.

They rested, nurtured themselves, traveled, spent time with loved ones and stepped back from daily routines to take in the big picture. Simply stated they rejuvenated.

Leanne Pittsford explained, “I took time off after a loss in the family, but I took guitar lessons, a photography class and went to therapy. My plan was to study for the GMAT, but after a few months off, I decided to start my own business instead. Without the time, I would’ve never had the space to consider a different path.”

2. Clarity comes in the doing — not in the reflection or research. We find this point so poignant that it bears repeating: Clarity comes in the doing — not in the reflection or research.

After Gennifer Carragher did enjoyable research and explored the world, it got old. “But after a couple of months, I started feeling depressed. I realized that I was continuing to research/think/learn without actually doing anything. I had to accept that I would never have all the information I needed to make the changes I wanted to make, and that I just needed to jump in and figure things out as I went along.”

3. Taking time off is really hard but worth it. It’s scary, right? Not having a paycheck and living in the gray isn’t exactly a comfortable feeling but the story mentions people felt pressure. Trying so hard find an answer by focusing on it 24/7 created agita. Take the pressure off yourself by realizing everything has always fallen into place and you’re right where you need to be.

“I think the relentless thinking and putting all sorts of time pressures on myself was what was causing all that stress and anxiety,” says Elif Deniz Ozdemir.