I'd only intended this 'sabbatical' to last for a couple of months, and though the latest lockdown threw a spanner in some my plans for my 'doing whatever I want' time, there have been a few concerns growing in the back of my mind:
- Money. It almost goes without saying, but money is kind of a necessity in our society. Whilst I've saved to create an adequate buffer for the short-term, it will run out, and I'd like to have a job before that happens.
- Time. Few people would blink at a resume gap of a couple of months. More than that, and it becomes an issue. Whilst I enjoy having this time for me, I'm aware that there's a growing risk of long-term unemployment, the longer I take.
- Collaboration. But most importantly, I do miss having a team of people to gather with on a daily basis and work on interesting and challenging projects together. Jobs allow us to do this *and* get paid for it. I do currently get to do a little of this through my volunteer work, but it's mostly with people who volunteer on the side of full-time jobs, and so naturally it's not the same as collaborating with somebody who can dedicate a lot of time and energy to the thing.
- Don't pigeonhole myself. It would be natural to simply just search for 'librarian' and 'communications' work, but there are interesting jobs out there that sit outside this scope. In fact, one of the more interesting jobs that I had an interview for was completely out of left-field, but still aligned closely with my skill-set. Similarly, temp agencies have sent me job descriptions for work that I would have never have considered. Admittedly, some of them were clearly not a good fit for me, but other suggestions have expanded my outlook for the kinds of work that I might want to consider.
- Don't apply for just anything that I can do. There are definitely jobs out there that I could do quite confidently, but I know that my heart just wouldn't be in it. If I have doubts during the application process - especially after speaking to the hiring manager - then I give myself permission to bow out, and focus more on those applications that I really feel enthusiastic about. Applying for jobs is hard enough, without dedicating the time and energy into an application that I'm not one hundred per cent sure about.
- Get paid more or learn more. I know where my strengths are, and what I'm worth. However, I also know where I want to build new skills, and in those areas it's worth considering roles at a lower level than I'm used to. To expand my experience at a comfortable level of responsibility, whilst being mentored by a good supervisor - definitely worth taking a pay cut.