A time will come for most travellers when they need to start earning money again. Some take jobs on the road to top up funds, others develop mobile incomes that allow them to travel indefinitely. We always knew that we wanted to have a home base again and since we had no desire to take temporary jobs or set up a mobile business this meant re-entering the workforce.
It hasn’t been a walk in the park but we got there in the end and learned a few things along the way.
These suggestions are based on my own experience of wanting a a job that not only paid my bills but fulfilled a number of interests and expectations.
Some folks head home completely skint and just need to start earning straight away but we wanted to make sure we found the right thing for us.
Start before you get home
I know, I know… why should I be even thinking about finding a job when I’m still travelling? However, we spent maybe a day or 2 at the most laying the groundwork during the last month of our trip and it really helped.
We updated C.Vs and really put some work into our LinkedIn profiles.
I had already been contacted about a couple of positions before we’d set foot back in the U.K and it was a great confidence boost.
Give yourself some breathing space financially
You want to put as little pressure as possible on yourself when you return home. It’s a difficult and challenging time readjusting and you should try to make it as easy as possible.
We gave ourselves enough funds to last around 3 months before we had to start worrying about money and I honestly wouldn’t trade that for an extra few months on the road.
We took 2 weeks when we got home simply to get settled back into our house and catch up with family and friends without worrying about finding jobs. It was a relief not to be panicking that we wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage and to go through the reverse culture shock with no added stress.
Be focused in your search
When I arrived home I was completely clueless as to what I wanted. My background is in marketing and I was keen to go back into this. What I didn’t know was what sort of company I wanted to work for, what kind of role, where it would be and how much money I needed to earn.
Paul encouraged me sit down and prioritise what I wanted and it was the best thing I could have done.
I discovered that the most important thing to me was work/life balance followed by a 30 minute commute or less and a role in either social or digital communications. Industry wasn’t important and once I worked out how much money I needed I was set.
I only applied for 19 jobs in the whole 3 months, I didn’t want to waste my own time or anyone else’s by applying for every single advert I saw.
My priority list allowed me to turn down two roles that didn’t match my requirements with a confidence that I would eventually find what I was looking for.
I’d never understood the importance of LinkedIn until I started looking for a job. I read this great post from Katie Aune, it’s a very useful guide if you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn.
Build your network on there and you never know who might be able to help out, I was approached directly for roles that didn’t make it onto the usual job boards.
The freelance role I ended up taking is with the company I worked with prior to our RTW trip. This was only possible because I maintained good relationships with people I used to work with, I requested LinkedIn recommendations and everyone knew exactly when I would be looking for a job.
Don’t burn bridges with past employers, you never know when they may be able to help you in the future.
Big up your travel experience on your C.V
Out of everyone we’ve spoken to and been interviewed by we’ve only met one miserable person that thought travel was detrimental to your career.
Everyone else was impressed that we had the guts to do it and when we talked about everything we’d learned people were fascinated.
If you write a blog make sure to promote the hell out of it. Obviously I work in marketing so the fact that I’ve continued writing while running a content management system and being very active on social media has been a great bonus.
It’s enabled me to go for the communications positions that I really wanted.
Photo credit: Michel Herve
Stick to your guns
It took us 3 months to find what we were looking for and those 3 months were no picnic. We came home with the expectation that it would take at least that long but when all you’re being asked every day is “have you got a job yet?” you start doubting yourself.
You feel that you have to constantly be looking for work and the endless cycle of applications and interviews is pretty daunting.
Don’t be tempted to take something that isn’t right just so you’re working.
I know someone in a similar position to us that turned down 5 jobs before she found the right one. It took her 5 months and having to really scrimp but it was worth it.
The job market in the U.K is the best it has been since before the recession. Even on the run-up to Christmas which is notoriously quiet for hiring, there were a lot of new positions being advertised.
A lot of people are terrified to leave their job to travel because of the perceived loss of security. You will always be able to find a new job and it may even be better than whatever you’re doing now. “I really regret going travelling” – said no-one ever!