Can You Benefit Professionally from a Working Vacation?

Most health and safety professionals that I’ve had the opportunity to speak with did not start their careers in Health and Safety. The profile that I see most often is a former line worker or supervisor who was personally impacted by a preventable incident and wants to make a positive change for their coworkers.

This shift in career focus can be both rewarding and intimidating. Becoming a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) may seem like a daunting task. After all, you’re done with school. Shouldn’t exams be ancient history? 

I can certainly relate to this mindset. Nine years ago, when I got my CPA at 23, I thought this would be the last exam I would ever write. Surely this designation was all I needed to succeed! 

Two years later, when I got my MBA at 25, I thought that would be the last exam I would ever write. Armed with a more well-rounded business education, I could do anything in my field! 

Three years later, when I became a Certified Salesforce Platform Developer at 28, I thought that would be the last exam I would ever write. I certainly wouldn’t still be writing exams into my 30s! (Can you see where we’re heading?)

Three years later, when I became a Certified Salesforce CPQ Specialist at 31, I came to the realization that it is not possible for me to know what skills I’ll need to tackle the problems of the future. What I do know is that whatever is ahead, I’m ready.

Deciding to become a CSP or a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) mid-career means balancing priorities to make time for yourself. I propose taking a working vacation to focus on your personal goals and accomplish what matters to you. In each of the past four years, I’ve used a portion of my vacation days to take a working vacation. 

My 2019 working vacation goal was to become a Salesforce Certified Application Architect. It’s something that I didn’t have time to do because of the work-related responsibilities that take up my time. I took a working vacation and completed four certifications over the course of one week. Believe it or not, I felt refreshed and reinvigorated at the end of that week, both results of a successful vacation.

We’re now in early 2020. Take a moment to think about what you want to do this year for yourself, not for work. What personal projects resonate with you? What new skill have you wanted to learn if you only had the time? When can you start your working vacation?

About the author: Cary Walkin is the Director of Corporate Operations at Intelex. Cary joined Intelex in 2014 and has held multiple roles across the company supporting our internal business processes and people. In his current role, Cary works with the senior leadership team to operationalize the corporate strategic objectives. Cary leverages his expertise in business, finance, and technology to design and build CRM, CPQ, and ERP systems that enable Intelex’s scalable growth. Cary’s experience is a rare combination of cross-functional breadth and depth. He is a Charted Professional Accountant, and is a Certified Salesforce Application Architect, and has a Master’s of Business Administration from York University. Prior to joining Intelex, Cary pursued his own software product development experience by making a full length video game entirely in Microsoft Excel. The game, Arena.Xlsm, went viral and launched to over 600,000 players and was featured by over 150 media outlets. 

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