The best thing about changing jobs is the vacation in between jobs. Most companies give two weeks vacation, which is about the amount of time you need to take off from work in order to keep your life running, e.g. flooded kitchen, dental appointment, weekday baseball games.
On top of that, most people aspire to the kinds of jobs where you are thinking about the job in the back of your mind all the time because it’s interesting to you and you’re passionate about it. So the only way to get a real vacation at most companies is to quit.
The New York Times ran a piece yesterday called A Life Between Jobs, which describes this trend as pretty much mainstream among Gen X and Gen Y: “Generations before them, studies have shown, valued tenure and career advancement. But this group sees the chutes in the world as interesting as the ladders.”
The best scenario, of course, is to quit and have another job lined up, because the stress of having to find another job puts a damper on the in-between-job vacation. But still, as long as you’re not in financial trouble, you can enjoy the time even without another job lined up as long as you trust yourself to get a job eventually. Which you should, because we are in a good economy for job-hunting right now.
Question the authority of anyone who tells you that this is a bad idea. There was a quote in the New York Times piece from a career advisor type about how, “Gaps in the resume are still a red flag.” But they are only a red flag if you spend your time sitting at home doing nothing.
No one wants to work with a person who does nothing with their time. That’s the sign of an uninterested person. But if you have gaps in your resume that you filled with fun adventures and rewarding projects then a gap in your resume is a red flag that you are balanced, interesting, and in control of your life. In this case, as long as you can explain the gaps in your cover letter, you’ll probably be fine.