At this point in your trip planning, you probably have a plan together and have started researching heavily, looking into costs of doing a trip like this, assessing your financial situation, and looking at possible routes.
But what about job and career?
For some, this part is easy. If you’re one of the many people using this trip as a way to get out from underneath a career you hate, then you simply quit.
But what if you like your job? What if you actually want to come back to your job and career when you return from your travels?
You do have options when planning for your RTW trip. Even in a country like the United States, where the idea of RTW travel and sabbatical trips aren’t nearly as popular as other parts of the world, you may be surprised at what you can work out with your employer.
There’s a misconception out there that all long-term travelers are running away from something, and that something is typically a bad job or career. While this is a reason some take a trip like this, it’s certainly not the only one, and there are plenty of people out there traveling who actually love their jobs, plan on returning, but simply wanted a break.
If you are one of these people, then it’s time to start planning how you can keep your job while still traveling the world.
Ask for a leave of absence
If you are great at your job and are valued within your company, then your bosses won’t want to lose you. Hiring and training new employees is an expensive endeavor, and if you like your job and career and want to come back to it after your break, then asking for a leave of absence is a smart move.
Take a sabbatical
You would be surprised at how many companies actually offer sabbaticals after being there for a certain number of years. It might not be something that’s promoted, so if you don’t know, it doesn’t hurt to ask. And even if that’s not something they do offer, maybe you can be a trailblazer for the company. Americans are going to realize sooner rather than later that our frenetic work pace doesn’t exactly make us better, smarter, or more productive.
For more information on sabbaticals, be sure to read the following articles:
- How a Career Break will Shape your Future in the Worlkforce
- Taking a Sabbatical vs. Quitting Your Job
- The Art of Negotiating a Sabbatical: How to Quit Your Job Temporarily
- How sabbaticals benefit companies and individuals
What if you can’t keep your job?
It’s important to be optimistic when planning a trip and lifestyle change like this, but it’s also important to be realistic. There are plenty of employers and bosses who simply aren’t going to go for the sabbatical or leave of absence route. They know that there are plenty of people out there looking for jobs, so why hold one if they actually do need the employees?
This is a legitimate concern, and even if an employer does agree to a leave of absence, it better be in writing to make it official. If you do have to just outright quit your job in order to travel the world, then make sure you don’t burn any bridges while doing so. Even if that boss is unsupportive and just doesn’t get it, it pays to remain cordial. A job may be open when you return, and if not, you are probably going to need him or her as a referral.
If you don’t have anything lined up for when you return, that’s okay. It can be stressful, yes, but if you know this going in, you can plan and make sure you have a little nest-egg for when you return (which is something you should have regardless of your employment situation). Your trip is going to give you a whole lot of newly found confidence, which is something that will benefit you greatly in your return to the job search.
Jump in to something new
There are countless career break, RTW travelers who left their jobs to travel the world only to find a new love while gone. Typically people who are willing to quit a job to travel the world aren’t meant for the formal, cubical setting of most corporate jobs. Traveling the world gives these people a chance to take a step back from life to really asses what it is they want to do.
It’s a great opportunity to reflect on your life, your decisions, and what you have done up to this point. Since time will be on your side during a RTW trip, take advantage of that time to dip into your creative side. If you like writing but found you didn’t have the time during your hectic life, then pick it back up on the road. If you like drawing, then draw. Like practicing yoga, then take yoga classes. All those things you have always said, “I’d love to do that, but I just don’t have the time.” Do them! You never know what you may be able to build a career out of.
- Read about Keith, who has given up his old career to build another one around travel.
- Read Why a Travel Break can be the Best Career Move You’ll Ever Make