Kayaking on the River – Job Search – Taking Time to Enjoy

This weekend I’ve spent plenty of time kayaking on a lazy river  with my family. It has been a long time since I’ve been on a boat of any kind, and the first thing I wanted to do when I got on was to paddle everywhere I could.  Near and far, always going fast.

It was like a contest to see how far and how fast I could go.

Then, something happened… instead of being in contest mode I switched to chill-out mode.

I paddled less, and just floated and enjoyed more.

In the quiet floating time I could think, reflect, enjoy, and see things I wasn’t seeing when I went fast.

I’m reminded of my job search, where I was paddling frantically week after week.

It’s hard to tell a job seeker to slow down and relax, because they feel like they are drowning, and have just a few moments of oxygen left.

But I wish I would have slowed down.

I wish I would have taken time to “think, reflect, enjoy, and see things I wasn’t seeing when I went fast.”

There’s more to life than being in a rat race.  So many people I meet have had unfulfilling careers in jobs they wouldn’t want to go back to, but they are anxiously trying to get back to unhappiness, because it carried a regular paycheck and some false sense of security.

They paddle fast, and miss all of the opportunities to change their life, and reflect on what is really meaningful, and make decisions that will lead them to where they really want, and deserve, to be.

Unfortunately the panic weighs for than the need to retool, but if you can, please take some time today, and tomorrow, and for the next few months, and slow down, and really figure out where you want to head.

3 thoughts on “Kayaking on the River – Job Search – Taking Time to Enjoy”

  1. Jason, I’m trying to slow down and make sure I apply only for jobs that match my passion. But with three kids, a wife and, of course, in-laws, it’s hard to avoid the rushing influences. How would you advise I explain my laid-back strategy?

  2. Great question Tom. As I was writing this I thought “how would I have taken this advice 5 years ago, in my job search?”

    I also had 3 kids, a wife, a mortgage, two car payments, and a baby on the way.

    The problem I had with going to fast was that I was going in the wrong direction. When I slowed down I could see other options/alternatives, and seriously consider them.

    Before I’d ignore them, like a gnat on the windshield. But once I took a breath, slowed down, and thought about it, those other options seemed more viable.

    I’m not saying to not do stuff – you should network and stuff like that. But on your way home, in the car. or in the shower, or at night when you can’t sleep, instead of fretting (which is really hard to avoid, right?), think about other things:

    – how awesome your family is, and the benefits of spending more time with them (which will likely end sooner than later),
    – how you now have some free time to get exercise,
    – how you have time to retool – read some books, start that hobby that had been so elusive, etc.
    – how it would be if you really did take the plunge and change careers, or start your own business, or something like that.


    It’s not about sitting back and doing nothing, but making sure you aren’t so busy worrying (that’s probably what I filled my spare time with) that I didn’t do anything more than … apply to one more job and hope someone got back to me :s

  3. One more thought – I just saw your comment in my email… my thought from today is that if you have a very smart job search you can focus your time and efforts on high-value activities that are going to be effective (not necessarily applying on job boards)…

    In other words, you can spend 40 hours a week applying online, or 4 hours networking into those opportunities you find on the job boards… which do you think is more effective, or will produce the right results? I’m not saying to work just 4 hours on your job search, if you are totally unemployed, but be careful you don’t be busy just to feel busy…

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