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Old 10-16-2014, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
2,581 posts, read 8,699,361 times
Reputation: 1692

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4 months isn't long enough IMO. Heck, you might even be able to negotiate leave without pay for that amount of time. Some companies give 3, 6 or 12 months with proper approvals. I personally wouldn't quit my job for anything less than a year of travel, but everyone has their own levels of risk tolerance, employability, financial security, etc...
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Sunrise
10,865 posts, read 16,038,322 times
Reputation: 9061
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefragile View Post
What were your references like from the companies you quit from after only 6 months? Curious if you got good references from them.
I didn't care. I just omitted them from my resume and claimed that I went straight from school to traveling the world. "Now I'm back, and ready to launch my career!" Six months later I was back in some tropical wonderland.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Sunshine state
2,388 posts, read 3,379,490 times
Reputation: 3588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nolegator View Post
If it wasn't clear in my first post, I'm talking about quitting for a sabbatical or taking extended unpaid leave from work, not just a month of vacation time. I read on another forum about a guy who left his finance job following his divorce and went on a cross-country motorcycle trip for almost 4 months to clear his head. I'm interested in doing something like that in the next year or so. I'm just worried about regretting it later if I permanently screw up my career.
Ok, this is not my personal experience, but one of my co-workers told me a story of her sabbatical before she came to work for this company. She and her husband own a yacht and they both love sailing. So they took off to sail up and down the Caribbean for a year. They are pretty well off (her husband has his own company who does custom house building) and they were in their 40's when they did the trip. She's in marketing field. She told me they saved up money for years, signed up for online banking so the monthly bills could be paid online while they're traveling, and had relatives check on their house regularly to make sure everything was okay.

When they came back from the trip and she started applying for jobs, she was upfront about her 1 year gap. She just told interviewers that she took 1 year off to sail the Caribbean sea with her husband. Some took it well and actually applauded her for it, some did not. But in the end, she managed to find a job that still paid well and didn't frown on her 1-year gap.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:07 PM
 
Location: City of Angels
2,933 posts, read 5,295,473 times
Reputation: 2259
I do this kind of stuff all the time. My longest trip was 16 months, and have done 6+ months 5 times. Average around 5-6 months off per year. I have never made a resume so I am not sure how it would effect my work prospects. I primarily work in politics (mostly focusing on ballot access) and potential employers know me by reputation, so haven't had a need to make a resume. I think it's a lot easier if you do this as a lifestyle. If you only do it once, it could certainly have a negative impact on your career.
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,805 posts, read 1,800,051 times
Reputation: 4673
Different stories for different circumstances.

20 years ago my wife was diagnosed with a long-term illness that would eventually keep her from traveling much (we're there now, unfortunately.) So we talked a bunch and decided that we wanted to have some experiences and see some parts of the world that might be easier at our then-ages than it would be later (i.e., now) so I went to my boss and said, "I'm going to take a leave of absence. If you want to fire me, I'll understand, but this is more important to me than your unhappiness at my choice."

He agreed, and not surprisingly, as soon as I got back months later, he turned the tables on me and took one of his own. We were both the better for it.

Meanwhile, my wife, who was working for a soulless Wall Street firm (I know, shocked!) at the time, just quit, knowing that her skill set and gender would ease reentry later. As it turned out, she was so energized by the sabbatical that when she came back she set up her own firm and competed against her former employer. She even ended up hiring her former boss some years later. Things work out.

On that first "big" trip we spent around six weeks in Europe, a couple in Israel visiting family, then flew home (Seattle) and did laundry (relatives were house-sitting,) We then went off to Fiji for a couple of weeks, then New Zealand for three weeks, and finally returned home on a freighter across the Pacific from Auckland to San Francisco. We were gone around four months altogether.

It cost a bunch and it took quite a while to pay off the credit cards. Didn't regret it one iota. You only live once.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:58 PM
 
18,088 posts, read 17,194,531 times
Reputation: 25191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nolegator View Post
I have 15 days of vacation a year, and even taking a week off is a nightmare of scheduling conflicts and begging coworkers to cover for me to the point that I'm dissuaded from doing more than occasionally taking a Friday off to make it a three day weekend. I went from school to college to grad school to full-time 50 hours a week employment without any break, and now I'm pushing 30 and very much feel the itch of an unlived life.

I see stories occasionally how people dropping everything and making a motorcycle trip to Alaska or whatever. That sounds awesome, but I feel like people rarely talk about the practical considerations. How much did you save up in advance? How long were you gone? How long did it take you to get back to where you were in your career when you returned? How did you explain your resume gap to employers?
Yes, I quit and my wife and I took a two year vacation and traveled the world. We had tens of thousands of dollars saved up, and access to a lot of credit just in case. Also had zero financial obligations.

As for the career, I started a new one, and I am better off than ever before financially. Sure, blowing through tens of thousands of dollars may in some people's view set me back financially, but really, I make money to spend it and enjoy, and the two year vacation is one heck of an experience.

The employment gap thing is way, way over-hyped, the zealots on this forum and in these ridiculous employment articles on the MSM like to make an issue out of it to hype people up. The gap issue revolves around unnecessary job hopping, history of starting and stopping a job in a short amount of time, and actual skills that could erode if not maintaining proficiency. If in the chance you did run across a company/hiring authority that took issue with it, you probably would not like to work there anyway.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:40 PM
 
168 posts, read 186,858 times
Reputation: 287
I've done it a few times. Australia for 3 months, Japan for a year (I worked, but not really as part of my career), California for a year, doing odd jobs and snowboarding.

In the end I think I'd have rather focused on my work or building a relationship, rather than wandering about by myself. Although at the time I wasn't sure what I really wanted to be doing, and I had gotten out of bad relationships and jobs.

Another issue I had was I missed the boat on buying into real estate in NYC and California before it became too expensive.

My advice is to bring a girlfriend, or try to meet a girlfriend on the trip. There's some romanticism to the solo traveler, but it's mostly in the imagination. Traveling solo is kind of lonely and boring about 50% of the time. These days it's good to have a job lined up for when you return home.
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Old 10-17-2014, 05:51 AM
 
39,457 posts, read 39,526,000 times
Reputation: 18397
I quit a job to travel when I was 28 and didn't officially work for 8-9 months and at the time it didn't cause any real issues on my resume or getting a job afterwards. BTW, the job I quit I disliked completely and the human resources manager offered to give me leave without pay which I refused as I didn't want to return to that job under any circumstances.
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Old 10-17-2014, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
2,581 posts, read 8,699,361 times
Reputation: 1692
Quote:
Originally Posted by graceC View Post
Ok, this is not my personal experience, but one of my co-workers told me a story of her sabbatical before she came to work for this company. She and her husband own a yacht and they both love sailing. So they took off to sail up and down the Caribbean for a year. They are pretty well off (her husband has his own company who does custom house building) and they were in their 40's when they did the trip. She's in marketing field. She told me they saved up money for years, signed up for online banking so the monthly bills could be paid online while they're traveling, and had relatives check on their house regularly to make sure everything was okay.

When they came back from the trip and she started applying for jobs, she was upfront about her 1 year gap. She just told interviewers that she took 1 year off to sail the Caribbean sea with her husband. Some took it well and actually applauded her for it, some did not. But in the end, she managed to find a job that still paid well and didn't frown on her 1-year gap.
This is what I have in mind. I think a "gap year" to pursue a passion is awesome. I also love sailing and dream of doing exactly what these folks did. Unfortunately my wife doesn't think she could spend a year living on a sailboat, so this probably won't play out for me. We are talking about taking a family gap year to travel the world while "home" schooling our boys along the way. If we do this and leave our jobs, I would be completely up front when interviewing after our return. If a potential employer applauded it, then that's probably a company I would want to work for. If they did not, then that's probably somewhere I don't want to to work.

The biggest trick is to have enough saved up to cover expenses while traveling and then having enough to cover everything once the trip is over. That way you won't feel forced to take the first job that's offered to you upon "re-entry".
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Old 10-17-2014, 05:40 PM
 
2,563 posts, read 3,377,139 times
Reputation: 3522
The first time I "retired," I was 35. That lasted for five years. Then I decided to go back to work. I think I just said I was traveling, which I was, but the lady in the personnel office said "oh, you were a consultant." So I guess they wanted to hire me. In any event, if you want to take off time to travel or whatever, just do it. Worry about the consequences later.
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