Take Time Off Before Starting a New Job. Really!

Many of us are accustomed to jumping from the oven to the microwave when it comes to starting a new job. Milk the compensation and double dip as long as possible is the order of the day. The last day of work is typically on a Friday and we tend to start the new job the following Monday. I, for one, think that is a horrible strategy. Not good. We all deal with high levels of stress every day in the jobs we have as healthcare IT professionals. Let’s face it – we all need a break. Why not ask for some time off between assignments so you can recharge the batteries and get some much deserved rest and relaxation? Yeah. That’s what I’m sayin’.

The best time to make this request in my years of experience, both as a hiring manager and as a search consultant, is during the offer phase of the search. When you are ready to accept an offer you have more leverage to ask for time off than you will probably ever have. So go for it. If your new employer selfishly asks you to report to work without taking a sabbatical for a couple of weeks, you are probably making the wrong choice in a new employer. Right? I have participated in lots of search assignments where the candidate wanted to take some time off before starting their new gig. It’s rarely an issue.

We all deal with busy work each and every day. Whether it’s a new product roll-out, new release updates,  travel issues or other customer – facing situations. Those challenges are here today and guess what? They will be here tomorrow and the next day – and the day after… the view rarely changes. So forget about everything for a couple of weeks. This is the time. Make sure you ask for a break to rediscover what’s it’s like to do absolutely nothing. No responsibility at all.  Unplug the laptop, turn of the iPhone or Blackberry, sleep late and just chill!

Taking on a new job can be very exciting – a new beginning. Make sure you are ready and that you look forward to your new assignment – but only after you are fully relaxed and recharged. Got it?


About the author


Tim Tolan

Tim Tolan is the Senior Partner of the Healthcare IT and Services Practice of Sanford Rose Associates. He has conducted searches for CEOs, presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents of business development, product development and sales. Tim is also the co-author of "The CEO’s Guide to Talent Acquisition – Finding Talent Your Competitors Overlook," available on Amazon.


  • Tim – I think this is very, very good advice. For the 2nd consecutive year I find myself spending the month of March in-between EMR contract assignments…and I must say it’s been great! The first week I did really, really relax, 2nd week I did some interviewing for some new contract assingments, 3rd week I completed some much needed spring cleaning, 4th week required some decision-making regarding which new contract to ‘engage’. This week did some more relaxing and completing some fun at home projects. I’m fully refreshed now and ready for this new season of Spring and a new assignment…I plan to do this every March! Thanks for sharing this timely advice!

  • Most job seekers don’t know what it’s like to be “fully refreshed” before starting a new assignment. Good for you Shirley! That’s the right way to give yourself a break!

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