Time off

August 01, 2021

This summer I decided to give myself some time off. The reasons were different, but a lot of them were related to my mental state regarding my visa in Canada. Long-story short, I had a pretty rough time dealing with my visa process, and at the same time I worked for Hootsuite. Living in a foreign country is usually pretty stressful, specially during your first years, and unfortunately I couldn’t do a clear mental separation between my personal and my professional life. Because of that, I started feeling like I wasn’t giving my 100% at work and the last thing I wanted to be was a bad professional, so I decided to move on.


Before starting thinking about what to do next, I thought I needed to do a mental reset so I can really feel I’m being a good developer. My approach was pretty simple: spend a month off and later on, start looking for jobs. For the ones who don’t know, Vancouver is a city where it rains quite a lot, so when the weather gets better in summer, you really want to get the best of it. I like to run and do all kind of outdoor activities so I thought it would be the best thing in the world.

The problem

The only thing I didn’t take into account was that apart from doing exercise, I also like to code (and sometimes I can become a bit workaholic). What’s the problem with that? well, that a week or two after I started with my time off, I started feeling anxious for not having a job. Me and my wife are lucky enough to be able to live with only one of our salaries, so there was no rush, but I unconsciously needed to feel like I was being useful (although I was taking care of all the house-related chores).

The “solution”

There was only one way I saw possible for me to really enjoy my time: I’ll turn things around, start looking for jobs so when I get one, I can actually have a great time. So here I went, starting looking for jobs, to see how the market was, while I did outdoor exercise. I’ll talk in a different post how was my experience interviewing, but for this post’s sake, you just have to know that it didn’t work as I expected, and here are the reasons:

  • While you interview, you have to focus on it and study, so you don’t actually feel like you are having a time off.
  • Interview processes can take a lot of time (sometimes months).
  • The job market is HUGE, specially in north-america, which sometimes makes it even harder to know what to apply to. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great having so many opportunities out there, it’s just a bit more stressful.

All these things made it more challenging to me to rest while I had to look for jobs.

The advice

Probably my take-away from all this would be: know yourself before deciding to have some time off and really think if you are going to be able to really rest. In my case it ended up working, it simply wasn’t as I expected.

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Written by Ivan Company, a guy who likes to code Follow me on Twitter