“Embrace sloth,” my wife told me. She had a lot more confidence than I did in my ability to get a new job in a relatively short time. I was far more concerned that embracing sloth would become my job.
Nonetheless, when I left NPR in January, I tried to take her advice. I avoided the job-search websites; I didn’t polish my resume; I did absolutely nothing for three weeks. I spent two of those weeks in warm climates and listened to hour upon hour upon hour of live music in venues large and small.
By the end of those three weeks, my skin was crawling a bit. I don’t think of myself as a workaholic — I definitely try to draw a sharp line between work and play — but I missed working. I am one of those freaks who believe journalism is a calling, and to me, being out of a job meant I was putting my light under a basket.
And so, I turned the job search into a work project. I kept disciplined hours, set up Outlook on my home computer and put every appointment I had — be it an interview or a dentist’s appointment or a music gig — on my calendar. I sharpened my resume. I drafted a cover letter outline. And after a week of work, I released my first resumes into the wild.
It took less than two weeks to get a job after that. I’ve taken a position as editor-in-chief of Industry Dive, a relatively new business-to-business publishing company that focuses on the mobile platform. The job came together so quickly that I had to think long and hard about whether I was just grabbing the first shiny thing that came along. Part of me always knew that was not the case, but it took a weekend to convince the rest of my conscience. I really like the company’s potential; all of the staffers I’ve met are really excited about what they are doing; the pay is in the range I wanted and I’ve gotten nothing but positive vibes about the place. I decided that my concerns were overblown, just as my concerns about getting a new job at all turned out to be overblown.
So in the end, I suppose I did a lousy job of embracing sloth. But I did get a couple of months off, and I feel renewed and excited about my next challenge. That’s what a break from work should be all about.