Last week I watched a RTE news piece about an Argentinian family, the Zapp’s, who have been travelling around the world for the last 17 years, yes 17 years! Last week they arrived in Ireland as part of their ongoing odyssey. During this time, the parents; Herman and Canderalia raised 4 kids; with their mother playing that dual role of being a mother and teacher; educating the children in the back of their car (and before you ask no I am not making this up!). My wife and I looked on in both disbelief and awe before agreeing that we wouldn’t undertake such a road trip. I think my wife would kill me after 17 days never mind 17 years. (she would probably say 17 minutes!)
However, the article did give me food for thought- is a lot of travel part of your job a good or bad thing? I know the answer is obvious- it really depends but I feel there are certain factors that must be considered.
The good part of travel for your career
When you are accustomed to a routine; a way of life; travelling as part of work to UK/ Europe/ States can for some seem like as hindrance- indeed initially it may seem like a novelty with a sense of adventure but after some time it can become wearing and draining. However, it is important to remember certain key points- it may not last forever and if you know it will only be for a certain time; it could be well worth with it and really add to your CV. I was speaking to a Pricing Manager who recently handed in his notice for an exciting opportunity with a new organisation and it was the last year with his current employer; that enabled him to secure the new job. The exposure he obtained to cluster meetings with senior stakeholders in Europe brought with it new ideas and commercial exposure that was invaluable in securing a new role.
More often than not, a lot of employers, see gaining overseas exposure as an asset. I know from working with clients who look to take on marketing candidates that some who gain marketing experience from international roles can bring that creativity and innovative ideas that would put them ahead in the pecking order when being considered / shortlisted for the job. So, if you think that living / travelling to a new country may be emotionally draining; think of the benefits and your own career – gaining experience could open new avenues and demonstrate an ability to adapt and be flexible.
Travelling to a new country / continent may seem exciting; something new but it must seriously be considered. The circumstances can differ greatly- it may and more than likely, suit someone a little younger – yes those in their mid 20’s- a little younger than myself! someone who does not have family or personal commitments but may not suit someone a little older, who has a family or personal commitments. Also, if you are moving to a new role and don’t mind the travel to UK/ Europe who further afield for a certain percentage of the role; try to determine the amount of time that is spent on travel.
I met with a Business Development Manager recently who was looking to move from his current job. Although happy with many aspects he was told at interview stage that travel was only going to be 20 percent of the role to the Benelux countries only for this to be ramped up to 50 percent after 3 months. He has two young children under the age of five and was manager of his local Football club and found this ramp up in travel a real issue. So if you are apprehensive about the travel element when moving to a new role; try to have that factor inserted in the contract if possible. However, it is tricky. When discussed in an interview situation, it is understandable that you want to show that you are flexible and looking to impress your potential new employers but if the amount of time travelling is going to have consequences; it is better for you and the employer to be in clear agreement.
So there are many benefits but indeed cons to travelling as part of the new job? Indeed, if you love travel as much as the Zapp’s – then it may not be an issue at all! But take it seriously and weigh up both the pros and cons of it and ask yourself- is it worth it?