Worried that the corporate world will pass you by while you’re lounging on a beach in Fiji? What about those promotions you may miss out on by taking a year out to teach English? Have you missed your chance to buy a house at a favourable rate because you’re in some far-flung destination? It’s common to worry about how traveling can adversely effect your ‘real’ life on your return, but I’m here to dispel any myths about that.
First up, traveling is a past time respected and admired by almost everyone, and that includes any future potential employers. There’s no-one in the world who doesn’t enjoy trading travel stories and listening to how you narrowly escaped death in Rwanda so rather than thinking that prospective employers may frown at your choice to see the world, the opposite is actually true. Let’s have a look at how you can be received when you get back to the dreaded ‘real world’:
1) Out-going – every company wants their new staff to be friendly and personable. With travel on your resume, you’re immediately displaying that characteristic.
2) Confident – you may not have left home as a confident individual, but after traveling, immersing yourself in other countries and constantly conversing with people from different walks of life, you can’t fail to be a confident young person.
3) Risk-taker – you’re not the grey, square, generic employee that the company is already full of. You’re a dynamic, fun risk-taker and you’re much more a desirable employee because of it.
4) Independent – no boss wants an employee to require spoon-feeding, after traveling through so many countries, it’s clear you don’t need that either.
5) Adaptable – The world of work is an unpredictable places, some people get stressed when their surrounded in confusion and uncertainty – you, my traveling friend, have already proven that not to be the case.
Now, one of our founders is quite the career-man, after almost three years in marketing in London, followed by an 8 month backpacking stint, Duff went back to the career ladder in Sydney, Australia. After two more years of market research there he hit Taiwan for 11 months of teaching English. He’s now back in Australia looking to get back on the career ladder, how is the traveling being received on his applications?
I can only say that travel has affected me in a positive light and with the people I have spoken to so far I think they can see that. If not, their loss but I certainly don’t think that travel will have an adverse effect on any career prospects you have. In fact, I would say it has the opposite effect, making you more desirable to companies not only in your home country but if you decide to try it one of the fantastic countries you’ve explored along the way – I’m going for it in Australia having met the love of my life along the way.
Travel can also open doors for you in different ways – I’ve managed to pick up a couple of jobs teaching English along the way (something I would never have done otherwise) and could always turn that into a career should I wish. A career is what you make of it, you can pick it up whenever you want and still be good at what you do. Ultimately, as long as you are happy in what you are doing that is all that matters BUT please don’t ever think that long term travel will adversely effect your career prospects because it won’t.
I have now had a couple of meetings with recruitment consultants and one interview. Each time I have spoken with someone they seem intrigued with my travel experiences and look on it as a positive thing. I’ve had comments such as ‘wow, you went to Taiwan for a year’ and ‘What’s [Insert country name here] like? I’ve always wanted to go there’. So at a first glance I’d say they were intrigued and interested about my travels. It looks like I’m about to be employed again, with some of the most awesome travel experiences imaginable. No complaints from me!
I’ve been a long-term traveler for years, hoping to crack the 100 country mark in the next 12 months and although a corporate career is the last thing I’m after, what I would say is that travel has opened so many opportunities for me. I’ve casted for Samsung commercials in Thailand, filmed a travel TV show for a month in Taiwan, been offered corporate positions in Australia, Bangkok, Korea all in positions of responsibility that I would normally have to work for years to achieve in the ‘real world’.
You know what? This is my real world, I travel around the world, make my money online, start businesses that don’t require me to answer to anyone nor work anywhere and I’m loving it. My question to you guys would not be “Does travel hurt your career”, but rather “Does a career hurt your life”. Hit the road folks, don’t ever look back and reap all the generous rewards on offer.