Last year I left my job to go back to school so I could take my career in a new direction. Now that school is over, I’ve been off work for several months while I search for my ideal role. It has given me time to reflect and also brought me clarity.
Some days I feel regret for walking away from a steady job to start down a new path, but then I remind myself why I did it. I wanted to learn and grow. I truly consider this an investment in myself and it has been the most rewarding investment I have ever made.
I’m also a big believer in fate. I believe things happen for a reason and there is a reason I haven’t yet landed in the place where I’m supposed to be. I’m not ready for it, or it isn’t ready for me. That’s okay. I can be patient. Patience has given me a lot in my life, so I trust in it. I also trust in hard work, so I guess fate needs to sync up with hard work in this case!
Being off work for almost a year has taught me some things. And I love to learn, so this has been a valuable learning experience!
Believe in your dreams
I had a dream I would work in the music industry and it happened. I had a dream I would work in the golf industry and it happened. I dreamed I would become a makeup artist and it happened. Right now, I’m working on some more dreams. Among them, I want to become a yoga teacher, tell meaningful stories, build strong relationships and help people and animals. I also want to somehow combine all of those things into becoming an entrepreneur one day.
Make a plan
It will change a million times, but you need an idea of where you want to go. None of these dreams would have come true if I didn’t have a plan. For example, in high school, I worked in a record store (yes, I’m showing my age right now by calling it a record store). In the store, I met someone at a label. In university, that contact led me to a part time gig. After I graduated, I waited (with so much patience) for my opportunity, and it appeared. It was worth the wait!
Try not to worry about money
Make a plan to live, do whatever you need to do so you can enjoy this time off and not freak out about paying the bills.
Call it an unpaid sabbatical
Lucky you, if it’s a paid sabbatical! Personally, I needed this time for a wellness break. I felt unfulfilled in my job, so I channeled that emotion into motivation to make a change.
Have a supportive partner/friend/family
I couldn’t do this without a lot of supportive people. As my mother says “you always land on your feet. Something will come along.” But she also says, “I can’t believe it’s taking this long.” Like all mothers, she means well, but man, what a kick in the butt! Thankfully, I’m grateful for her tough love.
Don’t sit still
Be creative. Learn some more. I went to school, but I’m also trying to teach myself more about social media marketing. I read a lot and try to find people to learn from. I volunteer to do social media for a non-profit so I can practice. I taught myself to use WordPress and built this website. I’m working on my yoga practice with different teachers so I can discover what kind of teacher I want to become. Always be learning and growing. Being curious and having goals outside of work will make you better in your work.
Continue to network
There are so many cool people out there who will make an impact on you. Go find them! I enjoy introducing myself to new people and hearing about their journeys. Building new relationships is at the heart of my personal and professional identities. You never know where it will lead.
Taking a self-prescribed “time out” may not be for everybody. We all have responsibilities. It doesn’t have to be a year. It can be a month or a few weeks. If you need it, take some time to recharge your batteries and do some soul-searching. So much good can come out of it. Not just for you, but for people around you too. You never know, you might inspire someone to shake up their own journey!