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No summer vacation for you!

John Heckers //June 14, 2010//

No summer vacation for you!

John Heckers //June 14, 2010//

You’ve been laid off, and it’s summer. Your thoughts turn to road trips, sandy white beaches, or spending some time with the kids or grandkids really getting to know them.

If you’re job hunting, you’re out of your mind. You must not take a summer vacation or time off to “enjoy the kids” if you value your career. Here’s why.

1). Other people aren’t taking the summer off. Taking a vacation might be fine if everyone was taking one. But your competition is still hard at work, networking, interviewing, and doing the other things necessary to find a job in this economy.

2). Jobs pop up and get nabbed quickly. Even a two week vacation can cost you an opportunity. In today’s economy, applications for some of the top jobs are closed off very rapidly. By the time you get back from travelling to see family or some attraction, the application period may well be closed.

3). You are back at square one. If you take a vacation or time off while job hunting, you are starting from scratch again when you return to your job search. Take however long you were on vacation. Double that time. That is how long it will take you to get back to where you were before you went on vacation.

4). Your networking will suffer dramatically. Guess what. If you’re not around, you can’t network. People go out of the minds of other people very quickly. Any momentum you’ve built with networking will die when people can’t reach you, or when you don’t call back.

5). You’ll lose your edge. There’s nothing like a vacation to relax and soothe you. And that is the last thing you need right now. People who are trying to find jobs need to be energized and focused on finding a job.

6). Employers will move on. Let’s say that you’re called in for an interview that you can’t make because you’re 1,500 miles away on a sandy beach. There are plenty of other candidates waiting. Most employers will move on to someone else.

7). You may not be as flexible on times. If you’re doing child care, your ability to make an interview or networking meeting is just plain not going to be as flexible as your competitors who aren’t playing mommy or daddy. Love your kids. And put them into day care or otherwise out of the way during the job hunting week. They are a major hindrance to your future employment. And don’t even think of bringing your brat on an interview. That is definitely the kiss of death. Remember…probably you’re the only one who thinks your kid is the most loveable thing on the face of the earth.

8). Taking time off for vacations or child-care shows a lack of commitment to the work world. Sad to say that most employers in corporate America want you to be totally focused on your job. If you’re taking time off to do child-care, visit family, or spend time with your family on vacation, you’re clearly demonstrating that your focus is elsewhere. This is a mistake.

It is also a mistake to take time off until you’ve been at your new job for close to a year. Here are a few reasons.

1). Your job may not be there when you get back. Until you’re settled in your new job and everyone can count on you, taking time off might remind them that they didn’t really need you in the first place. Stay put until you’re indispensible.

2). You need unbroken time to find your way around your new job. Taking time off will slow down your productivity. This may mean that you’re the last to know and the first to go in any RIF or lay-off.

3). It makes you look lazy! So, you’ve just started a job and you want time off? What are your priorities?

4). You’ll have to negotiate it up-front. Most employees don’t get time off for the first year. If you want to take that cruise, you’ll have to negotiate it up-front, which can mean that the employer will search elsewhere.

The bottom line is: don’t take time off until you’ve been at least six months, and, preferably, one year, at your new company. Don’t take time off at all (other than a long weekend) when you’re job hunting or starting a new job. Let child-care take care of your children during the job hunting week so you can be free to actually search. Ignore these suggestions at extreme peril to your job hunting and on-boarding.

Join John and Nicole Heckers for a free class: “Why Am I Still Unemployed?” at the Denver Athletic Club, Monday, June 28th, 7-9 PM. More info and registration at http://stillunemployed-cbm.eventbrite.com.

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