We all dread work after a nice holiday, but sometimes that dread is a sign of something more serious. Hays’ Chris Dottie is here to help you tell the difference.
Don’t get me wrong, I need my holidays as much as the next person. And, admittedly, the thought of getting back to the hustle and bustle of working life after a carefree week or two of relaxing on the beach can give me, or anyone, a fleeting case of the post-holiday blues.
I’m not ashamed to say, however, that a part of me can’t wait to get back into the office feeling refreshed and relaxed, happy to see my team, and ready to get back to what I love doing.
Are you reading this after returning from a holiday, feeling stressed or unhappy almost as soon as you sat back down at your desk, and this feeling hasn’t subsided since?
Here are some signs that your post-holiday blues are actually a strong indication that it’s time to look for a new job.
You went into holiday mode way before you actually went on holiday
In the weeks leading up your holiday, you were picturing that beach and all of the fun activities you had planned.
Of course, it’s only natural to feel excited about your holiday and let your mind wander at work, but there’s a difference between that, and clocking out mentally weeks before you’re due to go away because you could see a temporary end in sight.
Once you booked that holiday, did you let your performance slip and abandon projects and tasks halfway through, without even creating a handover document when you left?
If so, this is a sign that you were so desperate to get away from your current job, and decided to go into full holiday mode before you even went on holiday. This is just one of the signs that you may be disengaged in your role, and maybe it’s time to find a job that you feel more connected to.
You realised that you felt happy and relaxed being away
Once your holiday began, did you realise that this was the first time you felt completely happy and relaxed in a very long time?
I’m not saying your perfect job will feel like a holiday. Work is meant to be challenging. However, you are entitled to enjoy what you do and feel happy in your job, all the while maintaining a good work-life balance.
If this holiday made you realise that you couldn’t remember the last time you felt relaxed, and that you certainly haven’t felt happy at work for quite some time, then I would suggest it’s time for a change.
You didn’t talk about work the whole time
You might have thought about your job, but you made an extra effort not to talk about it to others. Obviously, people don’t speak about work as much as usual when they are on holiday, but sometimes it just comes up in the conversation naturally, whether it’s with the friends you make by the pool or the conversations you have with your partner.
But no, you avoided the subject completely. Why? Because you want to pretend like work doesn’t exist right now. Talking about it makes it something real, something you have to go back to, alongside those dreaded post-holiday blues.
You didn’t look forward to going back to work, not even a little bit
As your holiday drew to a close, did you realise that no part of you wanted to go back to work? Not even to finish this one project you were enjoying, or to catch up with that colleague who has now become your friend?
The cold, hard truth is, you racked your brains, and couldn’t find any reason to feel pleased about returning to work. I think this is the clearest sign that it’s time to move onto something that you do miss while you’re on holiday, even if it is just a little bit.
When you return, it’s like you’ve never been away
As soon as you got back, did it feel like you had never been on holiday? The only thing that’s different is that you have a crippling case of post-holiday blues, even after a few days of being back in the office?
If your holiday feels like a distant memory, and you feel just as stressed now as you did before you booked your trip, then this isn’t just a bout of the post-holiday blues. Here’s what you need to do next.
- Put time aside to consider what type of job will make you happy, crafting your ideal role.
- Update your CV, adding all of your recent skills and achievements, while tailoring it to your ideal role.
- Start your job search, staying organised, discreet and motivated.
- Meet with a recruiter who can help you during your job search, connecting you to the right people.
- Brush up on your interview skills, so that you are interview-ready once it’s time to meet with a potential employer.
By Chris Dottie
Chris Dottie is managing director of Hays Spain. He joined Hays in 1996 as a consultant before assuming his current role.
A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.