At some point during a job search, every job seeker has to devote time to getting to know themselves again and to allow enough time for self-revelation to happen. Guilt can be a real opponent along with feelings of embarrassment. While it seems everyone else is rushing off to busy and demanding jobs, the job seeker may be heading for the park and a walk in the woods, or time spent sitting on a bench near a pond where the birds sing a song of companionship. Coming from a world bent on busyness, there is a temptation to consider this a wasteful self-indulgence. But time spent alone brings you feelings of genuine significance and the questions that arise are both honorable and important because they lead to finding out where your real life is calling you to go.
When you have left your job and taken a self-funded sabbatical, by choice or because you were laid off and forced to, you will notice how easily distracted you can become – it’s an almost irresistible force that pulls you back to staying busy and contributes to a false sense of productivity. You didn’t leave your old job and employ this time of reflection just to clean the closets at home, or to talk on the phone for hours with old friends, or to shop for sales in the local department stores. These are not good uses of your precious time, and they will not help you advance your career decisions, but oh, how they will tempt you!
Instead, you will have to dedicate yourself to staying untethered to ordinary life as much as possible. Ignore feelings of shame when your spouse or friends ask “What did you do today?” Resist the temptation to come up with an answer that makes you each feel safe and comfortable. Talk instead about what you learned about yourself, and what you uncovered that seems like a major insight into the dream that keeps calling you. Share the mission that came to you because you gave it permission to communicate with you while you were sitting quietly in the sun, feeling warm and gentle breezes move across your face.
This period without a job is not idle time, but unbridled time. To the untrained observer, it may look like empty space, but it’s a rich time, filled with soul encounters while playing in the field of possibilities. Without these connections to your Higher Self, you would not locate your true North – the direction you need to follow in order to find your right livelihood and a precious new life.
Some day when you look back, you will see how it kept you from running away from yourself, lead you through the mysterious forest of your hopes, and safely brought you out of the wilderness of your fears – nothing was more important than the time you took for yourself.