# Taking Time Off Between Jobs

Amid our fast-paced lives, taking time off between jobs might seem daunting. But as I reflect on my journey, I want to share the profound impact these pauses have had on my life and why you might consider embracing them, too.

Years ago, my father jokingly suggested I write about how to take time off between jobs. Today, as I see friends and co-workers navigating career transitions, I realize the importance of discussing this topic. It’s a path I’ve walked out of sheer burnout and necessity.

My first experience with taking time off was after a grueling stint at a startup. I clocked in over 80 hours weekly, often sleeping in the office to meet deadlines. The stress was palpable. Despite the potential skepticism of former colleagues, I felt like I was always the first one in and the last one out. One day, I decided I couldn’t continue. I left, and the following week, I was bedridden, my body finally succumbing to the exhaustion.

This period of rest wasn’t just about physical recovery. It was a time of introspection. I had to relearn how to relax to understand that not every day needed a milestone. This realization was transformative. I began to explore, interviewing for various roles and eventually landing a job at Pivotal Labs in San Francisco. With its myriad tech opportunities, this city was a playground for personal and professional growth.

Years later, I found myself in New York City after another job transition. With the lessons from my previous break, I explored the city with vigor, visiting coffee shops, exploring boroughs, and even traveling to Berlin. The freedom to interview for jobs without the constraints of a 9-5 was liberating.

However, life is unpredictable. After a short stint at another company, I faced layoffs. By 2023, I decided to take another break. This time, the world was different. The pandemic has reshaped our lives, our relationships, and our values. This break allowed me to reconnect with family, help friends, and, most importantly, reflect on my journey.

Now, as I interview for new roles, I do so with clarity about what I want and where I want to be. The opportunity to take time off is about more than relaxation. It’s about growth. It’s about living life beyond the confines of a 9-5 routine. The pandemic has shown us that flexibility is possible, and we should seize it.

So, what’s my advice to you? Live. Relax. Learn. Explore. Whether picking up a new hobby or simply taking a moment to breathe, remember that this time off is your time. The wording misrepresents itself. It’s not about being idle; it’s about growth, reflection, and understanding oneself better.

Remember that there’s more to life in a world where our jobs often define us. Don’t be your harshest critic. Embrace the pauses, for they might lead you to the most fulfilling chapters of your life.