The title of this post on NationalGeographic.com caught my eye – How Taking a Break to Travel Can Benefit Your Career
I completely agree! With a little creativity and clarity, it is relatively easy to spin a Career Break or Sabbatical in your favor. In 2007, I left my job of 7 years to travel around Europe. When I returned to the workforce, I decided to include the experience on my resume. The entry specifically looked like this:
Personal Sabbatical September 2007 – December 2007 Citizen of the Planet Traveled independently, experienced new cultures and honed foreign language skills while enhancing resourcefulness, decision-making abilities and people skills.
When I decided to take the trip, I was burnt out on work and healing from a divorce – I couldn’t think productively about what I wanted to do next. It turned out to be a great experience on a personal level. I got my sparkle back and ultimately that trip was the inspiration for this site (although I didn’t know it at the time…)
Career-wise, I returned to an economy in the proverbial toilet. The rationale for including the Career Break on my resume was two-fold: I wanted employers to know that I made a conscious choice to leave (this was before the mass layoffs) and I wanted to communicate that travel is an important part of my life. After several interviews where I answered extensive questions about my trip from starry-eyed desk-bound HR directors and IT team leaders, I began to understand my break also communicated exactly what I’d said in the position description – that I’m independent, adaptable, resourceful, and a people person. It also said to would-be employers that I am brave and perhaps not desperately tied to a job. In the job-hopping field of IT, where tenure is not a huge issue, I feel it gave me an edge. If nothing else, it made me memorable. And talking about my adventures helped me feel at ease in stressful interview situations AND allowed me to speak with passion about something, which also made me memorable.
Are you dreaming about taking an extended trip? If you answered yes and are lucky enough to be in one of the cities hosting a Meet, Plan, Go! event on October 18, 2011 (Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Toronto) then sign up right now (seriously – go here right now and kick down the $15 for what could be the inspiration of a lifetime!)
If you are not in one of those cities, or would enjoy a one-on-one conversation about your dreams, your fears and your questions, contact me for a complimentary assessment and to learn more about the travel coaching and facilitation services I offer.
Onward and upward!