What Vacationing While Job Hunting Taught Me

Ruts. That is what I learned about most. So many new things about ruts.

I grew up in northern Indiana (Go Irish!) and we had clay. Boy, did we have clay. Didn’t matter how big your tires were or how much horsepower you had. If you got stuck in a muddy clay rut, you were walking to the nearest farmer with an 8000 series John Deere to pull you out.

When things started coming to a close with my last role at a consulting company, I knew it was time for what was next. I had fielded plenty of phone calls from people asking me to interview to join their teams, I had ideas of what I thought I should do next, and more importantly, I had a number in my head of what I felt I was worth. Let’s be honest, whom among us doesn’t?

So after 3–4 weeks of chasing down the low hanging fruit and it leading to zero offers, I thought, “Is now really the right time to spend 9 days in Mexico with the family!?” The trip was planned and the plane tickets and hotel paid for, but should I really head out of town and disconnect from the process not knowing what is next? Is that irresponsible? Is it crazy?

Six days into my time here in beautiful Puerto Vallarta and I can tell you, unequivocally, everyone should get away when looking for their next role/career change/life change.

Back to the ruts now.


What I realized is how focused and entrenched I was in how I wanted to think, how I was forcing a future that I may not even want. My own ability to see beyond what I thought about myself, what recruiters thought about me, what my resume says about me, was severely limited.

It was as if the job search and the resume building and the interview process dehumanized my own self-realization and forced my mind to commoditize itself into some sort of packaged good that is easy to give examples of and clear outcomes of things I am supposed to claim credit for.

What I am realizing (while staring at beautiful mountains set against a blue pacific ocean and swaying palm trees and sipping a Pacifico) about this process, and really about my own view of myself is that I was in a rut. It was a well thought out, calculated and logical rut supported by friends, family and mentors, but it was still a rut. It was still leading me down a path I am sure was the not the right one.

I sold the rut’s validity to anyone and everyone I talked to with plenty of nodding heads and “The right role will find you!” to pad and enable my self-delusion. I don’t blame a single person either. Because, in the end, I sold myself the lie first. Once I bought it, I am fairly sure I wouldn’t have listened to someone telling me otherwise. Perhaps there is room for growth there.

In the end though, sometimes getting away from life as we know it is the only way to see if we are in a rut, especially one entrenched in a mindset. When we sell lies to feed our mindsets, we make bad choices and then blame the world for the outcomes. I have no idea where I would have ended up had I not taken this vacation in the midst of a job change, but I know that it will now lead somewhere far better than I would have been without it.

I would encourage you to take a look at your mindsets toward where you are now, toward where you want to go, toward who you want to be. If you can, get away from your routine and far from home and see if you are really chasing the you that you really want to become.