Mark B. – tech

Take a break, go travel…


When you’re established — or early — in your career, it can feel like the gap year ship has long since sailed. You’re officially in the workforce. But no matter where you are in your career, it’s never too late for a gap year.  Time off for travel, experimental projects and self-improvement are important for being productive and creative.

If you watch “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, he travel around the round and somehow helped him jazz up his online dating profile, but will it boost your career? Absolutely.

Taking a break helps you generate more ideas. You’re more creative when you’re exposed to other cultures. Equally important, provides a necessary recharge.

“It’s too risky.” We grow up believing success means a good college, a high-powered career and retiring in luxury. Be bold and don’t be afraid to go against the grain. If investing in your growth, creativity and happiness is wrong, you don’t want to be right.

Find the guts (and the plan) to do it

Once you know how you want to spend your time, do your research. Others have blazed the trail and have advice. Traveled the world on small budgets, hit the road in a VW van, cycled cross continent, or backpacked across foreign country.

Next, investigate your employer’s sabbatical policy. You may qualify for a sabbatical after a certain number of years of employment. Or, you may be able to take an unpaid leave of absence in return for a guaranteed job when you’re back.

No formal policy? No problem. Any workplace worth its salt will be open to a conversation about your future. Maybe you can freelance part-time from the road. Don’t be afraid to ask, and cite how the organization will benefit. If you want to quit, that’s valid, too. Just be courteous on your way out.

Finally, work on budgeting. Travel is cheaper than you think! You won’t pay to dry clean suits anymore and, unless you plan on champagne and oysters every day, you’ll spend less money on a daily basis.

Based on how you want to spend your time, make a budget and savings goal. (If you quit your job, give yourself a month or two of buffer for your homecoming job hunt.)

Work travel into your career narrative

In between sampling exciting food and taking in breathtaking views, you’ll have plenty of time for projects. Find freelance gigs or take online classes to keep your skills sharp. Look for volunteer opportunities that boost your cred in your industry. Blog or write a book on a topic you want to be an expert in.

But don’t let your resume be your only compass; your personal interests matter, too.That’s the whole reason you’re taking this gap year, so use it as an opportunity to explore not only a different place, but also a different part of yourself.

Other opportunities may arise that you can’t imagine right now. That’s what’s so awesome about travel: It’s interesting and creates opportunity.

source: linkedIn post by Tamara Murray


This entry was published on June 9, 2014 at 9:07 am. It’s filed under Self Improvement and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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