Want the freedom to take months off every year?
How much time do you dedicate to time off each year? Two weeks? Three? Four? Do you take them consecutively, or a few days at a time? And how much of that time is spent truly relaxing and experiencing the peace and calm you deserve?
I take multiple months off a year. In this article, I’m going to help you do it too.
First: What would you do with a whole month off and plenty of money to do what you love?
What would you do with one entire month off with plenty of money to get away? Spend time traveling? Celebrate something special with family? Chase an intoxicating hobby?
I’ll give examples of what I do. I’ve taken weeks or even months off at a time. This year, I’m headed to Turkey and Greece for July. I’ve been to Costa Rica 5 times over the past 7 years—I’ve become obsessed with photographing tropical birds. I went to Peru, finally explored Machu Picchu, and captured an awesome shot of the Marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird (scroll further to see the photo!). I had the time and money to throw my parents the 50th anniversary party of a lifetime — we had it at the National Aviary! Florist, caterer, fancy schmancy clothes, the works.
I’m not saying this stuff to brag or rub it in. I’m saying it because I want you to know that you’re capable of having the life you want, too.
I know exactly where you are. You love being a vet, but you feel like you’re always being pulled in 19 different directions. You want to please everyone and feel like you’re pleasing no one. You’re burning out, but not enough to fully realize that you need (and deserve) a way out.
You don’t want to beg for days off anymore. You don’t want to feel trapped in a schedule that feels unsustainable. You don’t want to dream of being able to stitch together 10 consecutive days off using half your vacation time and a couple of weekends. You don’t want to feel overworked and underappreciated.
Get excited, because you can do this. And you’re about to make a life changing decision.
Full time relief work may be the answer to your problems.
About 5 years ago, I made the decision to leave my full time job and start doing relief work full time. It is by far the best career decision I’ve ever made. My quality of life has improved to a point that I never imagined, and it’s only getting better.
Relief work has allowed me to start living the life of my dreams for many reasons. But one of the biggest is the freedom it’s given me with my schedule. It’s absolutely magical. I finally have the freedom to choose my schedule, hours, rates, commute, and even my co-workers.
So how do you schedule long vacations as a relief vet? It’s simple. When you want to take time off, you just don’t schedule work.
Let me reiterate that: As a relief vet, when you don’t want to work, you just. Don’t. Work.
How to transition to working relief
IMPORTANT: These steps will get you the best results. Don’t skip this section!
1. Recognize you’re at a turning point.
Just like with any problem, the first step is acknowledging the problem. If you’re burning out and feeling trapped, don’t shove those feelings deep down. Bring them out into the light and admit them.
2. Give yourself powerful, un-ignorable incentive.
You’ll need some leverage to get out of your comfort zone. Get painfully aware of what you’ll be missing if you stay on your current path. What would you miss if you didn’t have more free time? Going to every one of your kid’s soccer games? Doing that trip around Europe you’ve always dreamed of? Finally starting a business around that hobby you’re so passionate about? Write down everything you’d do if you had the time. Get really specific.
3. Make the decision to change your life.
Be brave and realize that you are the only one standing between yourself and a life with more freedom and joy. Show yourself some love by admitting you deserve more. Then commit to making the necessary changes.
4. Think outside the box.
Whatever you’ve been doing hasn’t been working. So you need to consider options you’ve either (a) never thought of or (b) considered unrealistic. For example: I was working full time ER when I realized that my quality of life needed a drastic overhaul. One sunny day, I sat down in Central Park with a legal pad and used Tony Robbins’ tough decision-making algorithm to come up with options to change my schedule.
Tony’s method has personally helped me a lot, so I can vouch for it. The method involves writing down every option you think of first, even if it’s completely unrealistic. Then it helps you flesh out your plan. My first step was moving to part time ER while I worked on my relief contacts. Within about a year, I transitioned to full time relief work. And my quality of life has never looked back.
5. Stop dreaming and start planning.
This is true of every wish and goal in life: you have to write it down and schedule dates to bring those dreams out of the clouds and into reality. Start small. Take it step by step. For example, after I came up with options for a part time schedule, I scheduled a meeting with my boss to discuss my new schedule ideas. Always keep the ball rolling by scheduling the next step.
In terms of building your relief contacts, Relief Rover has a ton of tips and tricks on how to do that. It’s completely free for vets and techs to sign up. You can even grab our free e-book, Secrets of Smart Relief, to help you get started in the relief world.
Once you’re up and running, you’ll be able to book as many shifts you want per month. When you want to take time off, you just need to bulk up your schedule before and/or after your break.
How to schedule long vacations as a relief vet
1. Set your annual income goal for the year. For example, you want to make $200,000 for the year.
2. Calculate your income per shift. For example, let’s say your rate is $120/hour and you work 10 hours per shift on average. Your income per shift is $1200.
3. Calculate the total number of shifts you need to work to meet your annual income goal. Divide your annual income goal by your average income per shift. $200,000 divided by $1200 is 167. So that’s the total number of shifts you need to work in one year to make your annual income goal.
4. Calculate the average number of shifts you need to work per month. 167 divided by 12 is about 14. So in this example, you need to work 14 days per month to make your goal.
5. Then to take a month off, you just need to schedule those shifts elsewhere. So in this example, you could add a day or two to the other months of the year. Or you could work an extra 3-4 shifts per month for 2 months before and after your month of vacation. The bottom line is: You just need to schedule those 14 days anywhere else.
It really is as simple as that!
Well friends, I gotta go. Currently I’m taking one of my long breaks: I’m celebrating Ramadan, a time of fasting for Muslims. Every year I take the month off to spend it with family and friends. We fast, donate to charity, engage in random acts of kindness, and feast at night. Also, today is my birthday! Everyone at my sister’s house is still asleep, but they’ll be waking up soon. I’ll write more for you later. It’s time to get ready for an awesome day!