Fulbright Career Corner: Take a Break

Fulbright Career Corner: Take a Break

The month’s piece is not about a new searching or networking strategy. Because it is August – the vacation month – and soon students will be back to school and companies will be looking to hire (summer is always slow), I wanted to remind you: make sure to take a break.

David J Smith — career coach, author, and Fulbrighter

Looking for work is not easy. It might not be physical in the same way as other types of activity are (though, rushing to make an informational meeting or burning the night oil to finish an online application can be tiring and draining). But, it is still demanding, especially in a psychological way. Getting rejected can zap your spirit and ruin your day! We all have had those experiences. But we don’t always take the time to recognize the achievements we have made while looking for work.

Celebrate small successes whenever you can. After an informational interview (especially one that was particularly helpful), savor what you accomplished. Enjoy a latte, if that is what you do! After you spend an extensive amount of time on an application or 2-hours in a grueling interview, take a break from it all. Go to a movie.

I’m not suggesting that you should overindulge. But by engaging in simple pleasures after you have invested much, you are helping to replenish your body and soul. You are also providing yourself with some space between the stress of looking for work, and your personal life. This is important.

And it’s vacation time. Even though you might not be working full-time or even part-time, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time off to go to the beach or travel (maybe even to where you did your Fulbright!). Feeling guilty about taking a vacation? Recognize that by taking a holiday you are improving your mental attitude and recharging your batteries so that you can better commit to the work of finding work later on. A tired haggard interviewee will not impress a potential employer.

So, take time for yourself. Celebrate the small and “in the moment” successes that you have and allow yourself the chance to enjoy and benefit from a vacation.

—David J. Smith

David J. Smith (Fulbright Scholar, Estonia 2003-2004) is a career coach and the author of Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (Information Age Publishing 2016).  He is on the career advisory board of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network.  David writes regularly on career issues at davidjsmithconsulting.com. He can reached at davidjsmith@davidjsmithconsulting.com.

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