I know, the title of this post sounds crazy: take a vacation while you’re unemployed?

Well, in my case, I had enough from free-lance earnings and needed a break from the slow pace at which job searching is going these days. I got tired of sitting around, refreshing Craigslist every ten seconds, and decided that even though I was out of the day-to-day hubbub of a full-time gig, I still deserved a pause.

The week that my partner and I spend outside of New York was great. I read a lot, got tan and had enough space to really think about what I want in my next job. I also came to terms with the crossroads I’m at with my career, realizing that I’ve been going nonstop since college and should take this time to assess where I’ve been.

My first realization: I want to be a writer, not necessarily a journalist. As the media consolidates and morphs into god knows what, I’m going to take the opportunity to write for a broad spectrum of outlets, from nonprofits to Twitter, and have fun learning the new processes. I enjoy talking to people and learning new information, then synthesizing those interactions into written form that, I hope, help readers pick up what I learned. I ultimately don’t care if my writing is on A1 of the Times or in a report on a Web site.

I also realized that whatever job comes next, it has to be one that’s more dynamic than me just sitting behind a desk typing away at computer keys. I can’t tell you how many friends I have who have pinched nerves, carpel tunnel or some other ailment from using a keyboard-and-mouse combo all day long. I never understood how people worked repetitive factory jobs until one day a colleague compared what we do to putting together widgets. Yow! That’s not what I want.

The last realization I had was about money: I’d much rather be happy doing something I love than earning a ton of dough. Yes, I always knew this was in the back of my mind, but with the whole financial crisis/implosion, it truly became clear to me just how fleeting the things are that money buys. People that were getting thrown out of their homes for defaulting on mortgage payments quickly found this out; they saw that their families were there for them to take them in and feed and support them.

This last point goes contrary to an axiom my father blabs all the time: Rich or poor, it’s better to have money. I get what my father’s saying but I have to disagree, noting that life is easier if you have a support networks of friends and family that are there to help you in both tough and good times. That’s something that money can’t buy.

Coincidentally, all this is happening at the same time as the Jewish holidays occur. For me, a Jew from Los Angeles, the holidays have always been a time of self-reflection and looking back on the past year. I plan to really dive into the moment these holidays provide and try to get a sense of where I want to go.

At the very least, I know what I don’t want.

Photo credit: Flickr