So I just started a corporate job....just looking for some people's experiences with taking a long break to travel and the consequences.
I've been thinking about this for a bit now, and just decided to post. I just got out of college last May and started working for a large corporation. I saved some vacation time and am going backpacking in Thailand and Cambodia this April for 2+ weeks. I also studied in Australia for a semester and got to travel a bunch while I was there. Basically, all this travel has made me realize that there will definitely be a breaking point in my future where I say "F it" and go off for a while to experience more of the world.
After talking to some people about this idea, the consensus is that this approach is often career suicide.
My question to anyone who has had a similar experience is how was it when you returned from a long break? Did you find that companies looked at this positively as "worldly experience," or did they think of you as a slacker and just write you off?
This is very important to me, so any help would be extremely appreciated. Thanks!
Hello Ekush 😊
I think companies these days are a bit more openminded than that. At least the ones I worked for are.
After I finished highschool I took a year out before going to university. I lived in another country and travelled around Europe for a few months.
When I worked for a company I used to do overtime in return for more time off to travel. They seemed to encourage it rather than think of me as a slacker. Anyway most companies these days dont hire people for life. The upside of this is they dont expect u to be married to them either.
I think the most important thing in life is balance. It keeps everything fresh and interesting. Fit in work, travel, family, friends, other hobbies. It becomes quite a juggling act after a while but can be done. Even travelling would get boring if u do too much of it.
If I was to suggest a downside to making travelling part of your life it would be that it costs a lot of money over time and u wont have as many cars, houses, designer clothes... as some of your peers may aquire.
Welcome to TravelBlog.
Not only are companies more open minded these days, but they will probably view someone who has travelled as being more open minded and having had 'life experience'. I have heard company reps say that while uni grades are of course important, they also look for people with that experience.
If the time out is an issue at a later job interview you can always sell it to them as having got the OE out of your system before settling down - regardless of your real intentions at the time.
Besides, there will always be another job :-)
There is a little say who put it this way...some work to live, some live to work. The day you think your job is your life, is the day you show that you end up losing your inner soul...you than show that you are "own" by a corporation and that you lost all ability of self-determination.
If people need to define themself by their job, it's simply because there is not enough in themself to shine.
Exactly, there is always another job....and if you make the sacrifice of your passion for a job, you sell yourself for a very cheap price.
So don't worry, the world is run by independent people who cherrish others independence....to realize yourself is to do what you want...get on the road...you'll only grow...and enjoy!
I can't tell you what is going to happen upon my return and what companies will think of me, at least not yet. However, I'm currently on my 4 month tour of some of South and Central America. Keep in mind I'm also 36 years old and had been in the corporate world for a while! I think everyone else's advice is good, however. If you want to do the travels, do them. You will find another job at some point...or you find a way to start your own business doing something related to your interests or travels, which is ultimately what I hope to do...
great posts....thanks a lot guys! time to start packing 😊
Great topic, Elias. That is something that I often think about, and when talking to people who like to travel, I always get answers like these, meaning "go for it".
But I'd really like to hear from someone who actually did it. Someone who travelled, put his/her professional life on hold for 1, 2 years, and went back home. What happened when you were back? Was it easy/quick to find a good job? Was it easy to fit in the market?
I found a better way....for the last 12 years, on the road every year between 12 to 22 weeks...give you the feeling to be all the time on holiday...without really get disconnected...and the best part, you know next year and the ones after will be the same.
I did it LEGrandBleu. I did it a few times.
But I did tailor my resume to make it look like I had travelled less. I also have the advantage that I look several years younger than I am. I leave out my date of birth on the resume and only tell the interviewer my age if (s)he asks. I started working for the last company when I was 29. Just adding up the years I worked and studied that were listed on my resume would have made me 22 without me having to actually lie(if leaving out some things is is not a lie). I always leave date of birth and marital status off my resume to avoid being subjected to discrimination on those grounds before I even get to the interview. Once I get to the interview those things matter less because the interviewer can see that I am energetic, charming, well spoken and when I talk about the travelling I can sell it as experienced with dealing with different types of people(an asset in any work place in my opinion) and dealing with adverse situations. Once I got the job people were actually very interested in the travelling and very encouraging about it even if they couldnt, wouldnt or didnt want to do it themselves.
I have not noticed any problems with coming back to the working world after traveling. Out of school I worked for about seven years, so I had built a good work reputation (and a great travel budget) prior to my leaving, which certainly helps. Also, as an engineer I have been able to work a few amazing jobs on a contract (short-term) basis in some amazing places while I traveled, which means that instead of just having a three year gap on my resume called 'World Travel', I have two very interesting and career specific jobs breaking up my time on the road. Of course, I definitely put my travel experience on the resume, because any intelligent employer will pick up the gaps regardless of how you attempt to conceal them - I called it 'An Educational Journey Around the World' on my resume. The way I see it, if an employer does not want to hire me because I have a large gap in my work experience due to traveling then I don't want to work for them anyway, because the time will come when you want to hit the road again.
'Career Suicide' or not, if you want to go traveling then you should, because it only gets more difficult to get away the longer you wait and if you wait until retirement then there will be a lot of things you may not be able to do (climbing mountains, trekking...) My decision to risk my career and go traveling is the best decision I have ever made.
It also depends on just what you mean by a "corporate job," since not all industries are alike. A friend of mine quit his job as a Bay Area software engineer to travel; he's been on the road for close to a year (and, incidentally, sends his regards from Namibia), and doesn't regret his decision at all. But he's also in a position where, thanks to his specialized skills and extensive contacts, he'll be able to jump back into a high-paying career without too much trouble.
Another friend, on the other hand, was thinking of leaving her job as an editor last year, but she realized that in the hyper-competitive world of New York publishing, taking a year off wasn't really an option. Publishing is one big schmooze, and breaking away from that social network for a year is a good way to get yourself forgotten. In the end she decided to quit, do a bit of traveling, then go to grad school instead. She's happier for it, but she was largely growing disillusioned with her career to begin with.
Ultimately, as explorer_keith points out, it really comes down to whether or not this is something you want to do. If it is, the details will figure themselves out (even if that means a bumpy period of readjustment). And in the end, you might just find a way to incorporate your travels into your career - the best of both worlds, as we'd all agree.
All the previous posters have said a lot of what first came to mind when I read your post. So I'll try to avoid any repetitive stuff and just add what I can.
It took me a couple of years to decide that bailing on my job and taking a year to travel was an "OK" thing to do. My mental roadblocks were more than just the career issue, but that was certainly a big concern. When it came down to it...I figured that I'd either eventually look for a new job while working (wasn't going to stay in the same one forever), or look for a new job after traveling for a year. Either way, I still have the same education and work experience...but now I've added some fairly unique personal experience.
My profession is mechanical engineering, so like Chris describes below...it's one of employment opportunities. I've just returned, so I can't fully comment on what the work world is like after returning. But of the people I've talked to so far, it doesn't seem to be a concern for them at all. At this point, I can say that I'm completely satisfied with my decision to take the risk and explore the world for a year.
What it came down to for me was...would I be more likely in 10 years to regret having gone on the trip, or having not gone? Work will still be here for you when you get back. Life is more than the corporate work world...go play.
I love all of you hehe
Great responses from everyone, I really appreciate it.
Thailand and Camboida in 10 days! Woo Hoo!
Hey Ekush, we came back from 12 months travelling in September last year. We both left good jobs and sold our house (I was 27 and Matt 30 when we left).
Coming back we were uncertain about what the future would hold job-wise but after 12 months away it didn't seem a huge concern.....we were excited about starting the next adventure.
Now 6 months later we both have better jobs then the ones we left and a place to call home.
Enjoy Cambodia and Thailand!
I'd echo the comment "There will always be another job". I quit my software engineering job over 2.5 years ago in order to travel and fully expect to be out of the job market for at least another year. Though I don't particularly want to return to that industry, I know that I would be able to find something in it again if needed - maybe not the same pay or level of responsibility (at least at first), but enough to make a living. Only you know how attached you are to your career, and obviously some employers/industries will look considerably less kindly on a break than others, but unless you're a total halfwit then there'll be an opening for you somewhere. If you're capable of getting a job in the first place then taking a break isn't suddenly going to make you completely unemployable.
And, as mentioned in explorer_keith's comment, when IS going to be a good time to take a break? Marriage/kids/mortgage do not make the decision to take that break any easier (though they don't prevent it either). Wait until you're 65 and you may not have the physical/mental capability to enjoy your travelling - assuming you even live to 65. Surely the best time to take the break is going to be when you can enjoy it most - in your physical/mental prime and with some cash in your bank account?
One of my most powerful motivations to leave my job was to fast-forward several decades and pretend I was looking back on my life from my dotage - would I want to see 45 years spent in an office saving money that I never had the time to use, or the few years when I left so-called "real life" and gave myself the chance to encounter and absorb some of the knowledge, cultures, and emotions of a world and its people that I didn't know even existed while I was stuck behind a desk?
I thought I am the only one who fast forwards my life to help make decisions John. I sometimes say to myself, 'which decision would create the memories you will want to have when you are 80?'
Out of curiosity Mel, which country do you work in? I live in England and it is a requirement to have your date of birth on a CV or application form, alongside exact dates of all employment and qualifications. So far I have taken a gap year doing voluntary teaching which counted as work and I am shortly off to study abroad. I am interested in one day doing a longer trip but am unsure how to make it work unless it involves work or study. A gap on the CV, even if it is only a few months, looks bad and while travelling is a great life experience it has neither a company name or a specific job description!! How have people managed to put extended travels onto their CV without it looking like a 'break' in their employment record?
I dont work in any country now Anna. Me, my daugher and my boyfriend all live on my boyfriends income.
We live in Germany.
I think the CV is a form of advertisement. You can put whatever you feel will show you in the light you want to be seen in on it. It may be that some companies want to know specific details. I dont think there is any law about it??
You can always be honest about taking a break. I once told an interviewer who wanted me to start working in just a few days that I am not available for a month because I want to travel in Mexico. I explained that between one job ending and the next starting is an ideal time to take a break since I dont know when the next time I have a month free will be.
Also I think that companies who object to people taking time off or how old people are would be very conservative and maybe not such a great place to work.
Hi check out http://www.travelblog.org/Europe/United-Kingdom/England/London/Vauxhall/blog-267378.html we have been back to reality 7 months and although better people life goes on.
Regret what you do......not what you don't !!!!