Summertime – take a break from your career

Summer time is the time when many of us take a break from our career. We all have a favourite way of spending our holidays; where some of us love relaxing on the beach, others like to spend time on an activity like mountain biking, where others again like to travel to far away destinations. The word ‘holiday’ or ‘vacation’ is well chosen; it derives from the Latin word ‘feria’ which roughly translates into ’emptying’ or ‘keeping unoccupied’.

Getting out of our daily life is an effective way of escaping from the routine thoughts that have filled our minds. In our professional lives there seems to be always something to think about; taking care of our daily work tasks, maintaining positive relationships with our colleagues,asking ourselves whether we are happy with our career and how we can develop it further.

According to the 2010 Randstad Workmonitor poll, 65 % of people regard the holiday period as a perfect time to think about their career. In my opinion the holiday is such a good time for this as  taking time off usually allows you to get some distance. I read somewhere that the best way for most of us to do this is by undergoing on an activity that differs from your routine. Holidays allow you to take time to go on long walks in nature, spend more time with your family and see places you have never seen before.

Is it a good idea to take your ‘mobile office’ with you when you are away? According to research by the British Institute of Leadership and Development amongst 2500 managers of international organisations, 40 % of managers experiences more stress upon return to the workplace. 90% of them fears the first day after their holiday because of enormous  amount of piled up e-mails they have to go through. About one third of managers try to avoid this stressful situation by checking e-mails while on holiday.

Whether to be ‘on call’ whilst away is a dilemma for some, however, from my own experience I know that attitude plays a big role in this. If you bring your mobile on holiday then your colleagues know this and will make use whenever they see fit. If you don’t then being contacted is just not an option.

Your hierarchical position within the organisation is also of importance. Within some organisations it is expected of managers in certain roles to be contactable. If you have difficulty with this then your personal values clash with the values of your employer.  In this case it may be a good idea to start finding other ways of  dealing with this and possibly ask yourself whether this is the ideal company or role for you. On a positive note, the majority of people in the Randstad poll, 85%,  indicate that they are able to leave work behind when they are away.

In our daily lives our thoughts  may sometimes go round in circles which can prevent us from  seeing new opportunities. A post holiday feeling may leave us with a refreshed perspective. I often hear  people say that they want ‘to hold on’ to this feeling and these newly discovered ambitions. I guess there is no other option than to accept that, as with everything in life, also this feeling will pass.

However, there may be some questions you can ask yourself during or after your holiday that give your more insight into how you can bring your fresh ambitions into reality. Examples are why you enjoyed the summer break so much, which activities brought you the most pleasure and why and which aspect of your professional life you can change in the coming months. It is certainly helpful to discuss your post holiday perspective with a career coach and get insight into ways of implementing your next career move. Have an enjoyable holiday!

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