3 Reasons Why ‘Play’ is Essential When Changing Careers

boy-477013_640“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”- Proverb, Unknown.

I hate to admit this, but I became dull recently. Several weeks ago I was working around the clock on a re-branding project for my business. Even though I was getting through the technical aspects of setting up my website, my creativity slowly became stifled.

I also noticed that my connections with colleagues, friends and loved ones were limited because I was constantly working and when I wasn’t, all I was talking about was work. Yes, I officially felt myself becoming dull.

This recent experience took me back to my job transition five years ago. I worked 10-hour days and would come home and apply for jobs. It was a cycle of misery for months on end until I decided to change things up and stop applying.

I started a Meetup group instead and began organizing young professional networking events and it was a blast! I met new people and got connected to businesses and nonprofits, one in which hired me to run their young professional networking events.

Over the course of one month, I transitioned into a job that I loved all because I decided to do something that I enjoyed and came natural to me.

Now as a career coach, I see my clients get into the application grind (believe me… I get it) and I highly encourage them to play to get out of it and here’s why:

1. Play provides insight to what you love to do-

If you love building things in your free time, there’s a good chance you’ll love doing something similar in your career. Some people will decide that their play remains a hobby, while others will incorporate it into their work. Either way, play can provide insight to how you think, problem solve and jobs and responsibilities you might enjoy in your career. 

One of my former clients loved tinkering in his garage and building things. He also enjoyed learning anything web-based or technical in his previous career. When we started working together, he decided to take a free class on website development because he thought it would be fun. Eventually, he decided to go back to school and get a certification in web development.

2. Play gives you something else to think about than your job search-

Play allows you to take your mind off of things for a little while. It gives you a break from the tiring job search and hard work you put into your current role. Most job changers who add play and travel into their repertoire, go back to their current role with more enthusiasm and more gusto in their job search. Moreover, it breaks any cycles of anxiety or depression that can come with major life changes.

3. Play increases your connection with other people-

While going through a career transition, more than anything we need to feel connected and supported. There is more to you than just your work and talking about it. Play provides opportunity to share experiences, connect and network with other people. Recently, I had a client who got connected to a job opportunity through a person he met through a Meetup group he attends for fun.

And if you’re struggling to figure out how to play…

…think back to the activities you enjoyed during childhood and lost all sense of time. If you enjoyed legos, go purchase an erector set or join a Meetup group that involves woodworking. If you enjoyed performing, consider joining an improv group or acting class.