Career Tip: Take Your Paid Time Off

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September is Self-Care Awareness Month!

How do you vacation? Do you wake up at the crack of dawn and hit the streets for a full day of activities and exploration or do you use vacation as a time to rest and rest some more or a combination? It actually doesn’t matter how you vacation, what matters is that you take your vacation.

  • If you can’t take off work because you have too much work to do, that’s a problem.
  • If you can’t take off work because no one can handle the work without you being there, that’s a problem.
  • If you can’t take off work because you will have double the work when you return, that’s a problem.
  • If you can’t take off work because your boss won’t approve your paid time off, that’s a problem.
  • If you can’t take off work because you don’t know what to do with yourself when you’re not at work, that is a problem.

Compassion fatigue and professional burnout are prevalent in human services and we are a year and a half into a global health pandemic (Am I the only one who feels that 2020 and 2021 aren’t separate years, just one long blur?).  In addition to your normal work duties, you are tasked with keeping everyone safe through political division and civil unrest, social distancing, mask mandates, and vaccination policies, and reopening the workplace which shifts us into a new level of stress and anxiety.

Being overworked is not a badge of honor. Stop bragging about how long you worked and how many projects you’re juggling and how tired you are. We are no longer celebrating exhaustion. We will no longer accept being overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated!

It’s time to stop working yourself into complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. You are no good to anyone long before you get to that point, but more importantly, you are digging yourself an early grave! Time to release and set new boundaries, rest and rejuvenate, then revaluate what work/life balance means to you. No more confusing being overworked with having a strong work ethic! We have retired the Superwoman cape!

Career Tip: Take your paid time off

You can avoid compassion fatigue and professional burnout if you change course now. Start by taking a mental health day if you aren’t ready to take a full vacation. Your health and the health of your career depend on it. Vacations and relaxation help you to be more alert and productive.

A rejuvenated mind is also ripe for idea generation and opportunity recognition. You can schedule your one-hour Fall Harvest Brainstorming Session today to uncover new ways to advance in your career.


Nicki Sanders, MSW, CEO, is a Career and Empowerment Strategist who helps high-performing women of color in management go from overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated to energized, well paid, and appreciated. Through Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, she also helps businesses recruit, hire, train, and retain great employees. Nicki has an extensive background in developing and managing successful programs and leading high-functioning multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life she loves. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.
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