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Dilemma! Please Help

Travel Forums General Talk Dilemma! Please Help

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1. Posted by Leanne81 (Budding Member, 39 posts) 17 Sep '08 05:50

Ive been planning to do some travelling by myself now for a couple of months. It's been a hard couple of years since splitting with the boyf, selling the house etc and i've just plucked the courage to def go for it. However, i have now been told by my work that i can't have 6 months off . They are willing to give me two months but i would have to give up some of my holidays too.

My options now are

1. Take the 2 months
2. Or resign.

I've got a really good "safe" job, decent money, flexi-time, pension etc. I'm relucant to give it up. I have good qualifications and now a few years of work experience under my belt but it would be difficult to get back into this type of job as they don't come up often. I suppose there would be other areas i could get into just not as good benefits.

I really want to do the travelling and don't think the 2 months would be long enough because i might never get to do it again.

Has anyone ever been in the same situation? Any advice would be appreciated! Ta x:)

2. Posted by andy11 (Full Member, 136 posts) 17 Sep '08 06:10

Honestly, i would keep your job, far more important. Traveling is ok, you might even find your just hanging around a lot of the time though, yeah you will see some interesting things and have a few good conversations, nights out, but its really not worth giving up your job for.

Just because you may have heard stories about how good it may be, or was, these stories can get a bit enlarged somewhere down the line.

It's really not anything you can't imagine and it's not really that big a deal, the first few days are the most exciting, getting off the plane, getting some nice weather, experiencing some new scenery, but this won't last long it will soon become familiar....

I would take 2 months, you can pack in tons in 2 months, and then get back to your safe job. You would be mad to let it go.

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4402 posts) 17 Sep '08 08:19

Certainly not an easy decision. Is your experience really specialized, or would it still be worth something in another job? Do you really care about this specific job you're doing (so that you'd really prefer going back to doing the exact same thing), or is what you care about just the "safety" and built-up experience which you're afraid you'd lose?

If it's the latter, than I'd recommend just quitting. A period of travelling counts for a lot with many (of the more clueful) employers, as it's an indicator of the type of experience (having dealt with a huge variety of circumstances, being independent and resourceful) they can't "train" in any of their employees, and are always looking out for.

Two months is the kind of time period where you'd probably really cram it full with things to do, and have a rather strict and set itinerary. This is very limiting. Six months (or longer!) on the other hand is the kind of time period where there's no way you can plan against it, and so you'll be almost forced to go with the flow, to really experience new places and to have your further travels determined by your previous experiences. That's the start of really travelling, and really learning what you care about and find important.

There will probably never be another time in your life where long-term travelling would be as easy and painless to get into as right now. Is having the certainty of some "benefits" worth giving up on that for? (There's nothing to say you won't find even better benefits when returning, as your travelling experiences might be such that you'll be looking for completely different types of work, or will have started to care about completely different things.)

There's few people who don't return from long-term travel with drastically different viewpoints on how they want to live their lives and what they consider important. There is so much more to life than just a job. (Obviously this doesn't hold universally; Andy above seems to not have experienced anything like that while travelling; it happens. But the vast majority of long term travellers do find this, and many are the tales of people who set out for six months and only returned home six years later.)

You haven't posted enough for me to really gotten a good idea of who you are and what you care about, but the sense I have gotten of you these last few weeks is that travelling is a long-held desire, warring with the... sensibility and safety of just following the regular straightjacket society tries to put upon everyone.
Just know: there's many paths through life, and many ways to break free. The rewards of charting your own path are immeasurable. Go with your gut feeling.


Also, if the experience you've built up at that company is quite specialized, then that does mean you're worth a lot to them (and to any competitor) as well (as it'll take a long time to train a replacement). Obviously that means they'd rather not let you go at all (hence them telling you about that two month maximum), but that does make me wonder... I don't know how large the organization is, but the way I'd gauge it, they'd be mad to not want you back - whenever it'd be that you'd return. (Unless there's really strict constraints on them and they're not experiencing any growth or anything, perhaps. But organizations without growth might not be the best place to stay long-term anyway.) Personally I'd offer them the choice between them giving you a year's worth of unpaid leave (call it a sabbatical if that'd make it more palatable for them), or you quitting. It's your life, and you hold the power; if you're resolved that you want to go travelling, then you're dealing from a position of strength, not them, and that means you can call the shots.

[/inspirational guru] :)

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 17, 2008, at 8:20 AM by Sander ]

4. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru, 880 posts) 17 Sep '08 08:35

The obvious answer is this: Take the two months and go and travel...If you are approaching the end of your two months and feel like you just gotta keep going, quit then. The company you work for is doing what is right for them...it's to be expected. It's up to you to do what's right for you. Take the time they give you and make your decision later...(while developing a contingency plan that has you coming out all right if you decide to keep going)

Life is an adventure...It's up to us to live it.

D

5. Posted by Leanne81 (Budding Member, 39 posts) 17 Sep '08 09:30

Hey guys thanks for the quick replies.

Unfortunately i will be replacable in my job but getting back into this sector is hard and jobs don't come up often. I would be able to get a job doing something else when i get back. It might be what i need i think because it was be easy to become stagnent with my "safe" job.

Piecar i was thinking about that but i get on well this my manager and wouldn't want to cause any animosity especially because i will need a reference and in case i went for a job again. I know it's a dog eat dog world.

The other thing is if i do resign then it forces me to take other avenues i wouldn't necessarily take. I've got good qualifications and work experience now. I think your right Sander travelling will def give me other skills and hopefully an employer would recognise this. I would also like to prove to myself that i can cope on my own and in different circumstance being the homebird that i am.

I think i really have my heart set on travelling now, since joining travellers point and speaking to others i feel so much more confident about it and excited about the prospect of the unexpected (hopefully all good).

I won't get this opportunity again i don't think and don't want to regret it. But what if i go travelling and after the first month or so hate it then regret quitting. Help!!!

6. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4402 posts) 17 Sep '08 10:07

Quoting Leanne81

But what if i go travelling and after the first month or so hate it then regret quitting. Help!!!

That's a risk you basically run with anything new you ever start doing. Sure, the stakes here are higher, but fundamentally it's no different, and if that's a sentiment that you let determine your every action... well, I suspect that the stagnation you mentioned then is the only possible end result. (And if it does happen, at least it'll have told you something very fundamental about yourself that you can rely on for the rest of your life, with no risk of regrets about missed chances. It'd take you a while to build up your life again until it'd be just as comfortable as it is now, but I don't really doubt that you'd succeed.)

And don't get me wrong, there is a real (albeit tiny) risk of this. There's a small percentage of people setting out travelling who has that happening to them, who find that that lifestyle really isn't for them, that they can't find enjoyment in the face of uncertainty, that they need the reliability and security of familiar environments or friends or whatever it is that they miss too much. I wish I could tell you that you won't be one of them, but I haven't ever seen something these people had in common to extrapolate from.


Still - trying to guess at causes anyway - if you look at yourself with full honesty, does the desire to travel come from within yourself? (Do you really want to go out there and see sights you could never have imagined possible, do things so far outside your frame of reference that you could never have conceived of them? Do you find yourself chafing under the constraints of the life you know, without knowing how to change to a different lifestyle?)

Or does the desire to go travelling come from outside, from hearing tales? (Are there people you want to tell those same tales to? Do you want to break expectations and show yourself as more than people think you are? Do you feel this is something you have to do now so that you can afterward settle down and never leave home again?)

If the latter case rings true, you might want to rethink and re-question your motives. (You probably still would fall in love with travelling, but it'd be a lot shakier basis to set out on.)


The reality of returning home from travelling is that most people back home can't begin to imagine what it was like. They lack a frame of reference, and won't be able to really relate to everything you'll have experienced. Sure, they'll be interested for a week or two and want to look at your photos and hear a couple of tales - but then the interest wanes, and the 9-5 days of waiting for the weekend take over for them again - and you... you're still seeing yourself standing there on top of that mountain pass, with the sun breaking through the clouds and bathing the entire world in a magical glow, and remember how much more real that felt.
There'll be countless moments like that which'll stay with you for the rest of your life, and the only person for whom they'll hold meaning is you.

If the above paragraph makes travelling sound more attractive rather than less, then I think you have nothing to worry about. :)

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 17, 2008, at 10:10 AM by Sander ]

7. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru, 880 posts) 17 Sep '08 11:12

I don't see why it would have to be set up for animosity...You are out and travelling...You decide you need to keep going....you rationally explain your decision....the boss goes "Harrumph!! Well, at least you explained yourself...best of luck" I wasn't considering just sneaking away in the night.

D

8. Posted by supersuk (Budding Member, 14 posts) 17 Sep '08 14:17

Funny, I'm in the same situation except I haven't quite told/asked my employer yet.

I figured since I'm still young (26), debt free and have a few years of experience that I could easily find a job elsewhere if they do decide to terminate my employment. My position has a high turn over rate also, so worst case scenario I can always re-apply since I'll be leaving on good terms (i hope). Its probably makes more sense to re-hire me because they know my experience rather than hiring a new person the next time they need someone.

Sometimes they're not allowed to give you more than X amount of time off because it's clearly written in their company policy. They're only allowed to give 1 month vacation + 1 month unpaid before they have to terminate your employment (for insurance, benefits, policy sake). It doesn't mean that they can't entertain the idea of rehiring you after.

Is it detrimental to your career path? Are you going to be accumulating debt? Do you have a good safety net? How is the job market for people like you? How career oriented are you? Its really something you have to decide for yourself, weigh the pro's and con's then decide.

Whats the worst that could happen? You go traveling, don't enjoy it, come back and find a different job? Life goes on.

Personally I'm going to ask for 6 months. If they say "no", then I'd ask if it would be possible to work out something to get my job back 6 months later. Then go traveling regardless.

I want to hear more of your thoughts on your situation because I'm going to go through the same as well =)

Good luck.

9. Posted by amn36 (Budding Member, 6 posts) 17 Sep '08 15:42

well this is interesting because being older I have a good job, but I've now decided to travel. But my mindset is still very much in the "safe" world of having a job etc.

My place are pretty good. They're sending me to rome for 6 months to work (and learn the language) early next year and then I'll take three to four months off to travel a bit. I guess it's not "real" travlling if I've got a set finish date...but for my first time I just want to try it and see how it goes. If it works then great. I'll go back....get more money together and go away for longer. If it doesn't then I go back with a bunch of pictures and memories. As far as I can see it's a win-win.

Why not just go for the two months and see how you feel about it? You can then go back....raise a bit more money and hand your notice in if you decide that you're happy to just see where life takes you.

(see....that's called compromise and wisdom (aka playing it safe)....you youngsters will get that when you get to my age too)

10. Posted by Bettinamc (Budding Member, 21 posts) 18 Sep '08 07:32

Don't die wondering 'what if'. I left my secure job, secure high income this year to teach English in China. I wish I had of done it years earlier. I have travelled in the past, but only for 1 - 3 months. There is nothing quite like the freedom of travelling with no end date.