Taking a Career Break to Travel


Here’s a question from a gutsy fella.

I wanted to get your prospective on taking a career break to travel. I plan on doing this in the next year and wanted to know if I’m hurting my career.

I’m in my early 30s. I have a very traditional job. A case can be made that many mothers take time off from their careers to care for their newborns. This seems like a perfectly acceptable reason to take a leave. But it seems like taking time off to travel the world for one’s own selfish goals is another story.

Do factors such as how long I plan to take off or what I plan to do during my “career break” have an influence on my future employment?

Dude! Good for you! But I’m not sure that moms are truly given the freedom and encouragement to take time off and care for a baby. Often times, they have to lie about what they did during their time off and say things like, “I remained active by chairing my local PTA’s bake sale…”

So if you want to be like a mom, get ready to lie.

You can say that you left the workforce to take a year-long class in Europe. You can say that your significant other had a secondment and you had the chance of the lifetime to take a break and support your family. Or you can simply lie and say that you took time off for family reasons. (Pro tip: make it sound like someone died by using a sad voice.)

Just know — you’re gonna have to lie.

But nobody needs to know the real reason for your time off. Really.

And if you say that you took time off to travel, it looks weird unless you’re 22 years old or you already live in France.

Go ahead and lie. I won’t tell — even though I am truly jealous.

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