We’ve all been guilty of it…sitting at work dreaming of sun soaked locations, white snow, cascading waterfalls and ancient ruins. Some of us take the leap and go, while others of us convince ourselves that we won’t be able to find another job as good as the one we already have…the risk is too great!
A lot of us have filled our heads with the notion that we must work until retirement and only then fulfil our dreams of travelling the world. We convince ourselves of this because we tell ourselves that taking a career break is actually career suicide. We can’t recover and we can’t afford to place ourselves in debt. We are defeated before we have even tried! Or are we simply taking the easy path? Have we allowed fear to dominate and blinded ourselves to the possibility of enhancing our career path through travel?
How could travelling the globe possibly make us a more desirable job candidate, I hear some of you muttering in bewilderment? Ask any jetsetter and they will tell you that packing in their job to explore the world was not something they ever regretted. Ask any employer what values they see in those who have quit their jobs in favour of travelling and they will tell you that the candidate who sits before them is a more independent thinker, more willing to take a risk to achieve success, is more self-confident and has a more diverse spirit. As a recruiter I’d certainly give that candidate some considered thought.
Often people who have taken a sabbatical to travel or recharge return to the workforce a more well-rounded individual. They have more life experiences, expanded their education, have more clarity about what it is that is important to them and understand the value of living. They know that if they do not like a situation, it is within their power to change that and make life better. Personally or professionally, this is a great attitude and one that will always propel you forward because you have the initiative to incite change. I’m seeing leadership qualities here.
If you’re smart, and I know that many of you are, you will integrate your travel experiences into your resume in a manner that demonstrates how your career break relates to your career path. Did you undertake volunteer work or learn a new language when you were taking time out? Did you launch your own travel blog or undertake freelance work while you were ‘on the road’? Your time away does not have to sabotage your job search once you return. And this is what a lot of people fear. And why so many of us are still clinging to a mundane working life! You do not have to be paralysed by the anxiety of never again finding a job as good as the one you have now. You do have to trust in your abilities and believe that you again will find rewarding employment.
I doubt any of you have ever heard anyone who took a year off work return and say, ”I so wished I had stayed and worked instead.” They certainly aren’t words I’ve ever heard uttered. And am unlikely to. And while fear of the unknown may grip you, it is those moments when we find ourselves outside of our comfort zone that we truly learn and grow as individuals. So if you are tired of waking up to a job you are not passionate about, fed up with the status quo and sick of allowing society to tell you how you should be living, rather than living the life you feel compelled to live, then just do it! There will never be a perfect time, so why delay?
A career break is not for everyone. And yes, returning to a regular life may be a challenge. But if this life is for you, what are you waiting for? Listen to your calling and pack your suitcase. There will always be work somewhere in this world and while you may realise that you don’t want to return to the job you once had, broadening your life experiences will help you to stand out from the job seeking pack. So with the spotlight sure to shine on you upon your return, don’t postpone the inevitable, say bon voyage and be on your way to a richer life and career.