Urban planning community | #theplannerlife

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Career break for adventuring purposes

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2010
    Location
    About 45 minutes southeast of Thibodaux, Lousiana
    Posts
    44

    Career break for adventuring purposes

    Do you guys think it would be professionally damaging to take 6-12 months off between jobs to go adventuring?

    At this point my CV is pretty legit: MS Urban and Regional Planning, 4 years progressive experience, and AICP. To me, I think a recharge sess would be a good thing for my professional abilities.

    Though, I suspect that some employers may see "Adventuring in SE Asia - 10 Months" as evidence of a flaky, dissatisfied millennial that needs to come to grips with the reality that Fun Time is over.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Remote command post at local bar
    Posts
    12,204
    That's what it all comes down to. Explaining the gap in the resume. No one will kill you over taking an opportunity to see the world if you explain it right, but it will still be hard to get back into the market depending on how long the break is.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    196
    Coming from an old millennial/young x'er: If you're quitting your job and then seeking new employment, then expect blow-back i.e. you can't get a job, at least for a while. Your resume sounds pretty solid (right now) but the heavy-handed prejudice against millennials is no joke. This isn't the 70/80s when youthful exploration was admired and recommended. Employers are constantly looking for opportunities to fit younger employees into a stereotype and your flightiness makes it easy to check the "entitled millennial" box. My suggestion is to play it safe and either ask for a sabbatical at your current job; or, damn the torpedoes, but be prepared to take the hit because it will set you back. The only question in my mind is how much it would set you back - push you out of the profession v. 6-12 month job search.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Rustbelt Incognito
    Posts
    3,043
    Quote Originally posted by hallstot View post
    Though, I suspect that some employers may see "Adventuring in SE Asia - 10 Months" as evidence of a flaky, dissatisfied millennial that needs to come to grips with the reality that Fun Time is over.
    If it was for religious purposes, employers might think highly of you for your missionary work. "Missionary Work for in SE Asia for the Laos Synod - 10 Months" will sound impressive

  5. #5
    You'll definitely be asked about this break during future interviews. If you don't have a solid answer for it besides "Having fun in Asia", it will hurt you. If you spin it as independent urban planning research in Asia and combine it with some sort of project (an ebook or blog), that would definitely help.

  6. #6
    The Planning job market is still pretty tight, though it is getting better. You might have trouble finding work when you get back. As the other have stated, it's how you spin it.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  7. #7
    Mod Gedunker's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wonderland Way
    Posts
    10,133
    As they say, I've never seen a hearse with luggage racks.

    I say go for it.

    If a possible future employer can't see the value of a months-long immersion into a foreign culture, and instead uses it to put you in an "entitled millennial" box, to overlook your talents and experience, do you really want to work for them? I'd imagine not. So it takes you a little longer to find a job later, who cares? You've got an irreplaceable experience and life memory. Enjoy it.

    Post some pictures from your trip, too.
    Not valid without corporate seal

  8. #8
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    11,049
    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    As they say, I've never seen a hearse with luggage racks.

    I say go for it.

    If a possible future employer can't see the value of a months-long immersion into a foreign culture, and instead uses it to put you in an "entitled millennial" box, to overlook your talents and experience, do you really want to work for them? I'd imagine not. So it takes you a little longer to find a job later, who cares? You've got an irreplaceable experience and life memory. Enjoy it.

    Post some pictures from your trip, too.
    Dittos.

    I presume you don't have a spouse and/or dependents, hallstot?

    This is the time in life to do something like this. You will find a job after, but you won't necessarily have the age/time/money/physical ability to do this in the future.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

    You know...for kids.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,854
    It could bring added value to a rank and file planning job, as others have suggested. You would still need to bring to tailor that experience specifically to the needs of the interviewer and even that is an uphill battle.

    For a management opening, not a chance.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Feb 2013
    Location
    The Midwest, God's gift to Planet Earth
    Posts
    360
    Definitely do it if you don't have a family. BUT, there are some ways on how to do it better -

    1. Instead of just backpacking around, apply for a fellowship that would give you funding and force you to do an internship, volunteering or a research project. There are a ton of fellowships out there like Fulbright, Peace Corps, Luce, etc. Explore them on ProFellow.org. Bad news is that you have to prepare for these a year in advance, it's like applying to grad school all over again, and they're competitive as hell. But if you get one, not only do you get some funding, but it looks WAY better on your resume than "taking a break".

    2. Keep in contact with your network before you go and while you're out via email, linkedin, etc. Before you go, maybe conduct some informational interviews and say you're looking for a change and want to learn what options exist?

    3. Last option is to do a graduate degree abroad in something related to planning that you might want to learn, like transportation engineering or economics or something. But that's a costlier and less fun option.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered
    May 2017
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3
    Been there and done that. Most employers will see it negatively or won't bring it up in an interview. I quit my job to go on month long trip to Japan and the Philippines. My wife was nagging me to quit my job due to the excessive overtime when I was regularly working 50 hours/week. We have relatives that live in the Philippines and we've moved recently so I couldn't rack up enough vacation time. My aging mother-in-law was denied a tourist visa in 2009 (so much for not separating families) so my kids got to meet their remaining grandparent and relatives for the first time in their lives.

    It didn't finish off my career but I wasn't moving up much anyway even with 10 years in the profession with a Masters and AICP. Took me 5 months to land a decent job but I was pretty selective on applying. Based on my experience, July and August are the best months for job seekers in this profession so make sure your back from your trip by then. I was turning down interviews later as I only need one job.

    Boils down to what's important to you. Americans work harder or least longer hours than any other developed country in the world get the least amount of vacation time. I don't know that you need 6-12 months off but even "adventuring" can get dull if you travel alone and your bank account takes a hit. You could teach English like I did in Taiwan and I don't regret it a bit. My quality of life is more important than my job. Then again you do what a lot of people do and wait until you are retired to travel. Most of the older folks get less adventuresome, are more tired and have medical issues as travel becomes more of a hassle.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Upper left edge
    Posts
    5,061
    I agree that it's all about the spin. If you spin it as I needed to recharge my batteries after four years of work, I probably wouldn't hire you. I want to hire people who will stick around. It takes at least a year before anyone is any good at a new planning job, and really more like two. The I get a couple of more years and - poof - you need to recharge. Nope, not taking that on. I get very little return on my investment in training you.

    But, if your spin is that it was, for example, an exploration of alternative urban forms, and you have, perhaps, a thoughtful blog about what you saw and did (not "I got so drunk with these great Aussies"), and maybe did some volunteer work and included that in your blog, I would look at it positively. A young woman of my acquaintance did just that, with time in South America, the Middle East, and the Far East, and I have been endlessly impressed with her independence, bravery, and intelligence, and the quality of her work and insights. I would hire her in a second.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 5
    Last post: 11 Sep 2014, 3:28 PM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last post: 23 May 2012, 9:22 AM
  3. Replies: 5
    Last post: 19 Aug 2005, 2:22 AM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last post: 24 Oct 2000, 8:27 AM