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 button Microsoft

Start as early as possible, it might be the last thing on your mind but you’ll thank me for it

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.

 

Smokey the bear Maddie Deaton

When I realised that Smokey the bear had the whole fire safety thing covered my hopes of being an ambassador for the National Park Service shattered!

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.

 

Network

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.

 

black and white office

I honestly never thought I’d end up back in this office but when the right opportunity knocks on your door…

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.

Work sucks yellow pin

But it doesn’t have too if you take your time trying to find the right opportunity

 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!

Don’t forget to pin me!

FInding a job after travel - Two for the Road

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20 Responses

  1. Rob

    It sounds like you were very well prepared for your re-entry to good old Blighty, Really good idea having a buffer, I remember coming back so in debt from my first travels it was very depressing.

    Will have to have a closer look at LinkedIn it’s passed me by so far…

    Reply
    • Maddie

      We were as prepared as we could be in that we knew it was going to be incredibly difficult so tried as hard as possible to ease ourselves in gently. I honestly thought LinkedIn was completely pointless but since I’m now freelance it’s great tool to promote my skills.

      Reply
  2. Carmel

    This is really good advice, Maddie. I have already been doing a little updating here and there on LinkedIn and keeping an eye on companies I’m interested in working for. Now that I’m doing the traveling thing, I feel more confident to give myself a 5-10 year plan that I’m excited about so that when I get to the interview stage, it won’t be, “um, er, well, I really like this company and um…well, we’ll see how it goes, maybe I’ll end up here!” When I’m really thinking, “I just need money to go travel.” I’ve been using LinkedIn for awhile, but haven’t really engaged in it much. We’re lucky that we’ll be staying with my mom until we find jobs, but then again, it might motivate us to take a job just to get outta there!

    Random side note: do you know if and when you’ll be around in July? We’re still thinking about visiting the UK and would love to meet you!
    Carmel recently posted..ANGKOR WAT IN PHOTOSMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      That was what was great about our job search this time around, we were genuinely excited to started something new and plan for the next stage and I think it came across in interviews. It might be worth just sending your resume to some interesting companies a month or so before you get back to see if anything is available, nothing ventured and all that… The main thing is not to worry, make sure you cling to your relaxed travel self and it will all work out!

      If we manage to get Russian visas we’re away the first week in July but have plenty of free time apart from that. I’ll send you a mail with our availability as it would be great to meet you both 🙂

      Reply
  3. Emily

    Thank you for this post! It’s reassuring because 3 months into our trip I get anxious when I think about returning to the work world. I especially love your tip about bigging up the travel experience – I don’t think I would have brought it up before but now that you mention it, it seems like a great way to show who I really am, and also the dedication I put to something.
    Emily recently posted..In Peru: A Review of Peru HopMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you really don’t need to worry, when the time comes you will find something to do that earns you some money again. We felt that we needed to account for the 2 year gap on our CV’s and the amount of positive feedback we got was great, it was also a brilliant ice breaker.

      Reply
  4. Lauren @Roamingtheworld

    This is helpful. I’ve been home 8 months now after 2 years abroad. Have picked up a a few part time jobs but nothing financially sustainable but trust all will align. I know the field I want and have been active in networking, which is helpful for sure. Will see where it leads.
    And I second the blog promotion- finally feeling confident about talking up my blog! Whatever can set us apart, right?
    Lauren @Roamingtheworld recently posted..A blind-date adventure with Lauren from Sobremesa in SpainMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      I think the hardest part is knowing exactly what you want to do, good on you for holding out for the right role. Totally agree that travel/blogging can set us apart from the other 100 people applying for the job, it was amazing to have that positive feedback from interviewers. The most surprising thing was that no-one looked shocked or sceptical when I told them how long we’d been away, they were just interested in hearing the stories.

      Reply
  5. Amy

    Congrats on finding a job you really want; it’s great to know that (most) employers value travel and blogging experience too. I’m planning to teach in Asia for a while and have just started the application process for next year. I’m glad I started planning early; the amount of documents that need to be sorted, forms that need to be filled in and skype interviews that have to be arranged is really daunting but I know that nothing worth doing is ever easy!
    Amy recently posted..Our Tour with the Easy RidersMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      Thanks Amy, it’s such a weird feeling for me as work was always just something that had to be done before. Good luck with your teaching plans 🙂

      Reply
  6. Calli

    Great post! We’ve recently returned home and while my boyfriend had a job lined up I’m still looking. With him working a lot of the pressure is off of my which is wonderful. My biggest struggle is accepting that we are now home and working instead of planning the next big adventure 🙂
    Calli recently posted..Beautiful BC from A to Z: U is for UclueletMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      Hi Calli, I think once you have the bug it probably will never go away. Although I’m really happy to have a home again I’m always looking for the next adventure, we absolutely have to have a trip in planning stages at all times! Good luck with the return home, you’ll find what you’re looking for 🙂

      Reply
  7. Janice Stringer

    Hi Maddie,
    This post really interested me. My vision of what I want for my life has changed beyond recognition since I first travelled around the world with my children and husband in 2007.
    I’m still not sure how the way forward is going to present itself but then I suppose that’s the anxiety that arises from living. Thank you for your insight.
    Janice Stringer recently posted..Live, Die, RepeatMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      Thanks Janice. I think if you accept that your expectations and dreams are going to constantly change it makes things easier, I have bright ideas every few months and it’s frightening how much we’ve changed in just 5 years.

      Reply
  8. NZ Muse

    Huzzah! Yes if you work in digital or comms, LinkedIn is really valuable. I was approached by a recruiter for the first time on it last month (for a dream job, alas, I had just started another dream job that week, although this one is slightly dreamier and would have been my preference anyway).

    I was really glad to have a job to come back to initially, that was awesome. I didn’t expect to leave it this soon, but at least I stayed six months after having been away for six months (and I’d been there 2 years before going on sabbatical). My husband started job hunting a week or two before we left the US. It took him about 6 weeks to land a job, unfortunately he was laid off after 2 months. He’s now back on the job hunt and it’s been 3 months of unemployment since, sigh. It was fun and exciting initially, all the potential and that kind of thing, but now it’s just frustrating.
    NZ Muse recently posted..A Kiwi abroad: 5 things that feel alienMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      It is frustrating, the not knowing is the worst and feeling like you have to be job hunting 24/7. The thing I kept telling myself is that I would always find a job, it might not be the dream job straight away but at least a way to make money. Paul and I have been very lucky that we’ve landed things that we’re genuinely interested in. Best of luck to your husband, hope he find something soon 🙂

      Reply
    • Maddie

      You’re welcome Mark 🙂 Honestly though, there’s no need to worry at all. We were so panicked about what would happen when we got home but things have a way of working themselves out.

      Reply

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