Should You Take Time Off Between Jobs?

Taking time off between jobs benefits workers. And it can be easier to ask for time off than you think. Learn more about scheduling a break between jobs.

portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.

Published February 4, 2022

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Should You Take Time Off Between Jobs?


Are you looking for a new job or considering a career change? If so, you aren't alone. According to an August 2021 survey, 65% of workers are on the job hunt.

Once you make it through the hiring process, though, you must carefully consider your start date. Scheduling time off between jobs can be a great way to recharge. And if your old job pays out your accumulated PTO, you can even consider it a paid vacation.

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Why You Should Take Time Off Between Jobs

Many of us find starting a new job stressful. Learning new procedures, getting to know co-workers, and training can leave you feeling drained. Before your first day, consider scheduling some time off. Taking time off between jobs gives you the opportunity to relax and recharge. It also ensures you have time to prepare for your new position.

During a break between jobs, you can take a vacation, visit family, schedule time to see friends, and decompress. Taking a break can also help your mental health — and it can mean returning to work with more focus and energy.

4 Benefits of Taking Time Off Between Jobs

Why should you take time off between jobs? Whether you're changing jobs within the same field or changing careers entirely, taking a break between jobs offers many benefits.

1. Ability to Fully Decompress

Taking time off between jobs can help you decompress. Today's work schedules leave many employees feeling burned out. A break lets us rest and devote energy to areas outside of our career. For example, during a break you could prioritize self-care and mental health.

Breaks also offer an opportunity to connect with family and friends. Taking time off can mean returning to work more rested and more productive, which also benefits your employer.

2. An Opportunity to Take Extended Time Off

Some employers discourage new hires from taking time off in the first few months. And at many jobs, new employers have little PTO accrued. This means your time between jobs offers what could be your last opportunity for quite a while to take an extended break.

You can use that time to travel, invest in yourself, or simply decompress. Scheduling time off before your start date might also help you avoid burnout at your new company.

3. Use the Time for Self-Reflection

A break between jobs offers the perfect opportunity to look back and appreciate how far you've come. Whether reflecting on personal or professional accomplishments, self-reflection helps us gain perspective on our lives.

The time between jobs also offers an opportunity to think about the future. What goals do you have for your new career? Where do you hope to be in five years?

By stepping back from the daily grind to reflect, you can start your new job with an increased sense focus.

4. Chance to Pursue Personal Projects and Interests

Most of our work schedules leave little time for personal projects or interests. Taking time off between jobs frees up time to pursue a hobby, such as learning how to bake, finishing up a watercolor painting, or starting work on a novel.

A break can also mean time to check off small tasks that often fall to the bottom of the to-do list, like updating your interior decorations, starting a new exercise routine, or decluttering.

How to Get Time Off Between Jobs

Sometimes, your new company gives you a start date that doesn't leave any time for a break. So what's the best way to communicate that you want time off between jobs? Here are four tips.

How Much Time Should You Take Off Between Jobs?

The answer depends on your employers, your budget, and your needs. At a minimum, aim for at least one week between jobs. That gives you time to decompress and prepare for your new role.

Some workers prefer to take 2-4 weeks off and build in a vacation or trip during their break. And, in some situations, you may be able to take more than a month off between jobs.

However, a long break may not work for everyone. If you rely on steady pay, you may prefer to start the new job sooner — particularly if you need to start by a certain date to maintain healthcare coverage.

Some people may also struggle with too much unstructured time. But almost everyone can benefit from some kind of break between jobs, if possible.


Feature Image: enisaksoy / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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