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Old 10-16-2014, 12:23 PM
 
62 posts, read 115,001 times
Reputation: 120

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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?
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Sunrise
10,865 posts, read 16,025,850 times
Reputation: 9061
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?
I did this for years. I would work at some stupid corporate BS job that paid fairly well. I'd convince them that it was my life's goal to work at their Fortune 500 company and really get my career going.

And then I would quit after six months and move to Africa or the Caribbean with all the money I had saved up (living like a monk and saving 90% of my pay). When I ran out of money, I would come home and find some other BS corporate job. I would also just show up in Europe with next to nothing to my name, and then work odd jobs like tutoring English in exchange for a place to stay and pocket change.

I wouldn't change a thing -- but it did put a serious dent in my personal finances. I'm basically 10 years behind where I should be financially. However, I don't think my plan would work today -- people have to explain long gaps in employment. And companies aren't hiring like they used to. And I did this in my 20s, not my 30s. (Although I spend most of my 30s living the life of a beach bum in the islands.)

Why not just find a job that involves constant travel? Best of all worlds. Especially if you can knock the "work" part of the job out of the way in a hurry and concentrate on having fun.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
18,358 posts, read 24,593,244 times
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I agree with you, ScoopLV. Your plan would not work these days (though I envy you for having pulled it off).

I managed to travel frequently when I was working by looking for jobs that had more vacation time than most - usually I was able to get 4 weeks. Sometimes it required me negotiating for extra time off, and usually these were not the highest paying jobs that I could have found. I also made damn sure to train my staff so that they could manage without me being there, so there was no valid reason for my employer to complain when I was out of town. And I limited my vacations to no more than two weeks away from work.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Sunshine state
2,381 posts, read 3,374,730 times
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I would be interested in hearing more about how to go about this as well. My situation is arguably better, 20 days PTO per year and it's (usually) easy for me to ask co-worker to cover for me, so I'm always able to take a 2-week stretch for long haul trip. I've never tried taking all 4 weeks off in one trip since I feel guilty for putting extra work on someone's plate while I'm gone. I've toyed with going sabbatical every once in a while, and my company actually allows extended unpaid leave (and I've seen folks do it). I just never had the courage to do it.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Sunshine state
2,381 posts, read 3,374,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
I agree with you, ScoopLV. Your plan would not work these days (though I envy you for having pulled it off).

I managed to travel frequently when I was working by looking for jobs that had more vacation time than most - usually I was able to get 4 weeks. Sometimes it required me negotiating for extra time off, and usually these were not the highest paying jobs that I could have found. I also made damn sure to train my staff so that they could manage without me being there, so there was no valid reason for my employer to complain when I was out of town. And I limited my vacations to no more than two weeks away from work.
That's what I've been doing as well. Making sure all the 'process' will run smoothly when I'm gone for two weeks. But I still dream of taking a month off without having to worry about what I leave behind and whether some stupid emergency will come up while I'm gone. Sigh...
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
1,601 posts, read 2,776,893 times
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I can only dream about being able to do that at this point...I'm 45, a 19-year State of Texas employee in management, and there's no way I can walk away now since I'm just 7 years away from being retirement eligible. I wish I had done what you're describing when I was younger and after finishing my graduate degree, but I was so anxious to start working a "real" career.

The only good thing about it is that we get so much time off that I am able to take a fair amount of good vacations throughout the year. I just want more, though....
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:23 PM
 
17,381 posts, read 8,740,564 times
Reputation: 16468
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoopLV View Post
I did this for years. I would work at some stupid corporate BS job that paid fairly well. I'd convince them that it was my life's goal to work at their Fortune 500 company and really get my career going.

And then I would quit after six months and move to Africa or the Caribbean with all the money I had saved up (living like a monk and saving 90% of my pay). When I ran out of money, I would come home and find some other BS corporate job. I would also just show up in Europe with next to nothing to my name, and then work odd jobs like tutoring English in exchange for a place to stay and pocket change.

I wouldn't change a thing -- but it did put a serious dent in my personal finances. I'm basically 10 years behind where I should be financially. However, I don't think my plan would work today -- people have to explain long gaps in employment. And companies aren't hiring like they used to. And I did this in my 20s, not my 30s. (Although I spend most of my 30s living the life of a beach bum in the islands.)

Why not just find a job that involves constant travel? Best of all worlds. Especially if you can knock the "work" part of the job out of the way in a hurry and concentrate on having fun.
What were your references like from the companies you quit from after only 6 months? Curious if you got good references from them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by graceC View Post
I would be interested in hearing more about how to go about this as well. My situation is arguably better, 20 days PTO per year and it's (usually) easy for me to ask co-worker to cover for me, so I'm always able to take a 2-week stretch for long haul trip. I've never tried taking all 4 weeks off in one trip since I feel guilty for putting extra work on someone's plate while I'm gone. I've toyed with going sabbatical every once in a while, and my company actually allows extended unpaid leave (and I've seen folks do it). I just never had the courage to do it.
One of my coworkers leaves on vacation for 3 weeks like once a year. None of us mind, she gets her stuff worked out & planned before she leaves, many times she delegates to others. I left for 3 weeks once a few years ago, no one minded.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:30 PM
 
62 posts, read 115,001 times
Reputation: 120
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.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:41 PM
 
1,706 posts, read 2,235,635 times
Reputation: 1034
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.
A friend of mine has done this twice - for 4-6 months each.

How it will affect your career and future job prospects depends a bit on your field of work. My friend is a computer science guy, so there are plenty of jobs available all year round for him.

Note a few things:
"I spent 6 months learning how to meditate in Bhutan"
"I spent 4 months in Thailand learning Muay-Thai"
sounds better at a job interview than:
"I took a break from life and went to Alaska for 4 months"

Money is a major factor. Cross country trip in a car or motorcycle is expensive. Do the math. I would suggest a place where you get more bang for your buck. Unless you have a lot of money saved up - look for cheaper destinations that interest you.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Sunrise
10,865 posts, read 16,025,850 times
Reputation: 9061
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.
Can you reboot your career? What is this career, anyway?

Yes, you CAN permanently screw up your career doing this. Naturally, it depends on what you do. Or it could be the best thing you've ever done. It worked out well for me. But I wouldn't recommend dropping out and traveling for a year or two to everyone. Traveling the world was ALWAYS part of my plan. It was the expected next step after graduation.

When I did this, I worked in unrelated fields from my degree -- and only for the money. Only after returning "for good" did I embark on my career path. (And then I STILL ended up dropping everything and moving to a better location. But at least it was to take a better job.) Let me stress that when I did this, "I wanted to see the world before starting my career" was an acceptable explanation to the people who did the hiring in my field.

And then I changed careers twice. But that's another matter entirely.

What you are suggesting is not without risk. Just be sure you understand the risk. What will you do with all your things? Relationships? The opportunity cost of perhaps working in a dynamically changing field like tech -- where falling a year behind could kill a career?
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