Quitting a job to start a new one doesn't always have a seamless transition. Sometimes there are a few weeks or months between the stations. How do you approach the transition phase?
Many positions in Germany are vacant, and employees are very willing to change jobs. Anyone who dares to take the leap into a new job does not always start with a new employment relationship without gaps.
Sometimes there are weeks or even a few months between the last working day in the old job and the first working day in the new job. Provided you can afford it. What do you do in the transition phase?
"Until a while ago, this topic would not have been an issue," says Munich-based psychologist and career counselor Madeleine Leitner. The desire alone to have idle time between two jobs was unimaginable. "There was the image of man: you work."
According to the career consultant, there are still conservative industries today, "so it's probably still the exception that you even consider breaking out of the pattern". You start with the new employer when the notice period expires.
However, according to Leitner, there is currently an applicant market in many areas. And that means: "Applicants dictate the rules. If you look around, people are looking almost everywhere." In this respect, one can ask different questions today than a few years ago.
With a view to the CV, a break or gap of up to half a year or even a whole year is "no longer a discussion at all". According to the career advisor, whether this is then labeled as a sabbatical or a trip around the world is of secondary importance.
According to Nico Rose, employees can "act relaxed" here. Nowadays it is completely normal for people to take a sabbatical between two jobs or within a job. "And the companies know that too, at least those who want to score points with good working conditions," says the coach and book author. A period of a few weeks to a year is in the green.
According to Rose, you should think twice about longer periods of time: "In some sectors, I think in the direction of IT and programming, for example, the half-life of professional skills is extremely short." Here you should avoid the impression of having lost touch during the break.
When asked what to do in the transition period, Madeleine Leitner sees no exclusion criteria in most sectors. "Anyone who really plans their career and has a strict idea of their own working life can of course use the time for further training or qualification."
But you can also travel, chill out, renovate a house or spend time with your family if you have the financial means to do so.
"It is important to have a high degree of transparency towards the future employer," says Nico Rose. Everything else depends on the specific situation. "If you've "powered through" the last few years, it's perfectly legitimate to take a break for a few months."
Anyone who wants to explain a sabbatical in a plausible way should, on the advice of Madeleine Leitner, point out that it ultimately benefits the employer. "Studies show, for example, that the majority are happier after a break." In this way, one can convey to the new employer that a break before the new appointment is important in order to build up strength again.
According to Nico Rose, the era in which you have to actively sell such a phase is over anyway - "except for very backwoods organizations". You don't have to glorify the trip around the world as educational leave. "That was once."
Madeleine Leitner sees it similarly: "Always bending over backwards and always wanting to please your employer - in the end you don't score with that either." Instead, she recommends having the courage to be authentic. HR managers also find it refreshing when someone is open and honest.
If the ideal candidate is not available at the desired time, employers often want to negotiate compromises. You agree to a later starting date if the new employee has already taken part in a training session before the start of the contract or is present at an initial introductory session.
According to Madeleine Leitner, it is a good idea to openly discuss mutual expectations. "Maybe there really is a need and just five minutes of my expertise help enormously." Anyone who refuses, although it would actually be easy to set up, does not necessarily contribute to a positive start.
Nico Rose also advocates transparency here. "In principle, it is certainly a good signal if you are available for the future organization - at least from time to time." First-class onboarding processes would not just start on day one, but in the weeks before.
On the other hand, according to the psychologist, the organization should show understanding if people want to be completely offline for some time. Clear communication helps here.
The shape of the transition period also depends not least on whether job changers have given notice themselves, have been given notice, register as unemployed or not. There is no obligation to register as a job seeker or unemployed during the transition phase, explains Malin Hochscheid, a lawyer and consultant at the Saarland Chamber of Labor.
Cornelia Oster, specialist lawyer for labor and social law, advises everyone to take this step. The main reason is the insurance status. Anyone who registers as looking for a job and is unemployed usually has health and nursing care insurance through the employment agency. This also applies to a blocking period after resignation, but here you may have to accept gaps in the pension insurance periods.
Malin Hochscheid advises not to give notice until you have a definite prospect of a new job. For this purpose, the contract should be signed and a seamless transition from the old to the new employment relationship should be ensured.
One could agree with the employer, for example, to prepare for a certain amount of time. In this way, the last months of the employment relationship can be celebrated overtime. This enables free time without financial or insurance law disadvantages.
In addition, Hochscheid points out that the unemployment benefit is financed by the contributors. "It is not reasonable for them to pay unemployment benefits full time if someone has no important reason for being unemployed." A break is not an important reason.
Last but not least, anyone who registers as looking for work and as unemployed has so-called reporting obligations to the employment agency. For example, you have to make sure that you can check your mail every day in order to be able to meet any requests from the employment agency.
"Travel must also be approved by the employment agency and is only possible to a very limited extent," explains Hochscheid. Applications must also be written or, for example, application training must be completed. These points need to be clarified before the supposed free time between two jobs.