Consider a Career Break…

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!
♥ Audrey

AtB2011 details

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Lord of the Rings”

The last day of my current contract is Friday, July 22nd and I start my 2011 America the Beautiful Tour the next morning. I’ve decided an EPL-style acronym would be AtB so I’ve dubbed it AtB2011 (#AtB2011). The trip will take me from Austin (TX) to Asheville (NC) to Ashland (OR) ~ Ax3. It just so happens that it currently has 3 legs – the southeastern leg, the western leg and the return leg. Time-wise, I’ve mapped out 3-4 months, but the duration is completely subject to whimsy and work. Below is a map overview. My routes don’t even cover half the country, yet I’ll probably log close to 10,000 miles. Amazing.

AtB part 1 :: Austin to Asheville

July 23 to August 23NC/SC/VA + St Louis-OKC

This first leg is primarily to connect with friends & family and test out my mobile set-up. I’m kicking off the whole deal with a personal development workshop in Charlotte. I’m super excited. Then my friend Jonathan and I are going to boogie our butts off at Floydfest. The line-up looks stellar and the site sits smack in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Xavier Rudd was supposed to play there, but sadly he had to cancel.

After the festival, I’ll spend a couple of weeks cruising around Western North Carolina – I lived there from 1992-2000 and adore the area. I have a week planned in Asheville to kick back and do some work-work. I’ll also visit my old stomping grounds in Boone and see family in Roanoke and Lynchburg, VA. Finally, I’m taking the long way home to rendezvous with college friends in St Louis for a weekend.

pit stop
August 24 to 31 – Texas

I’ll be on-boarding my new tenant (a visiting professor from Italy), swapping out gear and getting in some QT with the immediate family. Continue reading