Jobs that require lots of travel

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Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby icedtea » Thu May 02, 2013 10:19 pm

I've been working in marketing and communications positions for 9 years. I'm satisfied with my career, and was recently promoted, but my role hasn't evolved and I'm a bit bored. I've been thinking of trying to move into a client-facing position in Sales for some time, though I never acted on it. But not long ago a colleague and friend quit his job, leaving a vacancy in our Sales group. I decided to have a casual discussion with the hiring manager and he indicated to me that I'd be a solid fit. I believe I have a really good shot at getting the job, if I want it.

The big question for me is travel. The job is an outside sales position, and it requires on average 50% travel/month, according to the boss. This means that for every 4 weeks, I'd expect to be on the road for 2 weeks of the time. In some cases, travel could be as low as 35% or as high as 75%. I'm based in NY but the territory is west coast US so I'd be making long hauls to California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, etc. as well as Texas, which is also within the territory.

This would be a major personal lifestyle change for me. I've always worked at an office and at times from home.

Does anyone have experience in a position that requires this much travel? Any words of wisdom you can share?

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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby NAD83 » Thu May 02, 2013 10:30 pm

This is a personal decision. What is your family situation? If kids, I say no way. If not, heck yes!
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby icedtea » Thu May 02, 2013 10:36 pm

NAD83 wrote:This is a personal decision. What is your family situation? If kids, I say no way. If not, heck yes!


I don't have a wife or kids. I have a girlfriend. We've been together for a little over a year. She's supportive but hesitant about this possibility. I recognize that it will impact things a lot. Indeed, a personal decision...

On a side note, my whole family lives in California so this job could bring me closer to them at times.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby Raymond » Thu May 02, 2013 10:49 pm

Absence does not necessarily make the heart grow fonder.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby stoptothink » Thu May 02, 2013 10:51 pm

Not personal experience, but my GF is the director of global events for a megacorp. She basically travels around the world planning massive corporate events. Travels probably 75% of the time and virtually all of it is international. As we speak she is Kenya. Since the beginning of the year she has been in Tahiti twice, Thailand, Singapore, western Europe for 2wks, and Hawaii. She still has trips to Morocco, New Zealand, and a few more to Tahiti before the end of summer. She absolutely loves to travel and it is the reason she pursued the career in the first place, but now as she is considering settling down it has become a chore. Everywhere she goes she is staying in 5* hotels and getting wined and dined by hotel/restaurant reps, but it gets old. She misses a lot of big events (ie. her brother's wedding which is next week) and it is quite difficult for her to develop solid relationships. The last few guys she dated before me were essentially freeloading losers who had no responsibilities so they tagged along with her as she traveled all around the world. It works with me because I work a ton and have others thing going on in my life, I wouldn't see her a lot regardless of her work schedule. Her and I have some big conversations upcoming because she wants kids now and we are discussing marriage. I care a lot about her, but I have no interest in being a married single-father.

My mother similarly travels about 50% of the time as a project manager for a software company. She absolutely hates it because she has a husband and my two younger step-sisters at home. If she wasn't the breadwinner and money wasn't a major concern she'd quit in a heartbeat. If you have a family, it will get old really really fast.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby stan1 » Thu May 02, 2013 10:54 pm

I have at times had jobs with that much travel. I found that I enjoyed learning new things with every trip and the experience has helped me grow professionally.

First, you need to consider your family situation. Frankly, I know many people who travel frequently who end up getting divorced as the husband and wife drift apart. I KNOW there are many people whose marriage has survived this situation (I'm sure some will post), but there are also many whose marriage has not. It is something you need to think about carefully, especially if you envision this lasting for more than a few years. Just saw your post about your GF, so this should be a concern.

You also want to understand the ground rules. What days will you fly? Leaving Monday and returning Thursday or Friday is very different than leaving Sunday and returning Saturday. Returning every Friday to spend the weekend at home is very different than spending two weekends away from your family every month. If the travel became international two trips per month would mean essentially losing every weekend (due to travel time and recovery). Staying at a Motel 6 is very different than staying at a Ritz Carlton. Air travel is easier when you have a high level of frequent flier status (upgrades, early boarding, lounge access). You get a few benefits at 25K, more at 50K, but often you need close to 100K miles per year to get first class upgrades on a regular basis. Some companies let you use the same carrier -- but others require that you fly on the lowest available fare which might mean you don't have enough status on any one airline to get the perks. Are there social obligations (such as frequent client entertaining)? Some people enjoy this aspect -- others do not. How does your employer reimburse your per diem expenses? My employer pays a fixed daily rate for meals. If I spend more its out of pocket; if I spend less its money into my investing accounts.

Does your employer expect you to work 12-16 hours per day while on travel? Some do.

No matter where you stay you need to make sure you keep up a healthy routine (exercise, avoid overeating, watching stress levels, avoiding too much alcohol). If your company and coworkers expect you to transact business at bars and steakhouses every night that can get really old -- even if you have an expense account.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby Fallible » Thu May 02, 2013 11:35 pm

You haven't said whether you enjoy travel or have done a lot of it to know the downsides. I loved to travel when I began my first career, but it can wear you down after many years. I chose a second career partly because there was less travel. How well you like your new job will also be an important factor in your decision.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby thebogledude » Thu May 02, 2013 11:42 pm

As I gotten older, I didn't enjoy traveling as much. I guess that's why people tell you to travel when you're young.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby john94549 » Fri May 03, 2013 1:34 am

If I might ask, why not accept the position and move to Oakland or thereabouts? Except for the Texas part, our daughter had a similar territory and found it a snap on Southwest and Alaska out of Oakland (she was and still is in Alameda).
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby tfb » Fri May 03, 2013 2:17 am

icedtea wrote:Any words of wisdom you can share?

Although you are traveling all over the place, you don't get to see much. You move between airport, hotel, and conference room. It's all the same. You eat out, not very healthy. You breathe circulated air on the plane, not that great. You sleep poorly in hotel room. You still have a ton of work to do after spending hours on the plane.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby bill1958 » Fri May 03, 2013 3:32 am

Iced Tea, I had a similar opportunity in my late 30s which I took. Travel was mainly East Coast, with occasional (3-6) trips during the year to anywhere in the US. My kids were in grade school at the time and my wife worked part time and was ably willing to hold down the home front. The plus side to this job, was that I worked from home when in town, and I had a flexible schedule with family stuff that I may not have had with a traditional job. Job, income, and travel were great with many trips to resort destinations that I'll never forget during this time on the company expense account. I did this career for around 12 years, and then shifted back to a no travel job. I'm about 6 years removed from the travel job- I'm glad I did it, but am also glad to be off the road as well (now only do local travel). The travel does wear on you after a while (don't let anyone tell you otherwise), but my family also benefitted from this job as previously mentioned, as well as many nice family vacations paid for with point accruals from airlines/hotel stays. Some days in my present career when I'm feeling desk bound, I miss the old days, but the some of my old friends that still travel overbite, remind me of what I do have.

Bottom line: consider job if 1) you want the job, 2) those you care about will gladly support the decision (I knew many people with broken relationships from this lifestyle), 3) don't have very young children at home- i think taking off for 50-75% travel will strain any relationship, unless the stay behind spouse doesn't work, and has a steong support network, though you will miss many moments of seeing your baby grow up if youre on the road, 4) you are willing to put up with the hassles of travel in a post 9-11 world.

Best wishes
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby edge » Fri May 03, 2013 5:16 am

tfb wrote:
icedtea wrote:Any words of wisdom you can share?

Although you are traveling all over the place, you don't get to see much. You move between airport, hotel, and conference room. It's all the same. You eat out, not very healthy. You breathe circulated air on the plane, not that great. You sleep poorly in hotel room. You still have a ton of work to do after spending hours on the plane.



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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby johnubc » Fri May 03, 2013 5:40 am

East coast living with a west coast territory - expect to be traveling on the higher end. If you have a Monday/Thursday meeting - there is no coming home between.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby VictoriaF » Fri May 03, 2013 6:01 am

I once moved to a different organization, because I wanted international travel. The first year, I was frequently traveling to Michigan and was joking about the Detroit International airport. But that was a good year. Later I experienced some real international travel that caused me to develop a maxim "business travel is not travel." The deciding case was when I spent several months in The Netherlands staying in a great hotel, all my expenses compensated, and trips back to the U.S. What initially seemed like a dream assignment became a prolonged period of high stress and no leisure.

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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby frugaltype » Fri May 03, 2013 6:08 am

tfb wrote:
icedtea wrote:Any words of wisdom you can share?

Although you are traveling all over the place, you don't get to see much. You move between airport, hotel, and conference room. It's all the same. You eat out, not very healthy. You breathe circulated air on the plane, not that great. You sleep poorly in hotel room. You still have a ton of work to do after spending hours on the plane.


Yeah, it [stinks --admin LadyGeek]. I would not recommend this except to a young, single person. You might be able to negotiate staying over weekends so you could have some free time to sight see.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby fourwaystreet » Fri May 03, 2013 6:56 am

I travel either by car or plane about 30% of the time and while sometimes it is good to get out of the office overall travel for work is way over rated. For me traveling from the east coast to the west coast is taxing on the body (jet leg is real). After a trip or two hotels all look the same, flights are packed with people, airports are a hassle and a time sucker, expense accounts are not unmimited, relationships at home become strained and if you have children forget about it.

On the flip side the one thing I do when I travel is save money. You are not buying food, purchasing gas or putting miles on your personal vehicle.

Good luck
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby Cherokee8215 » Fri May 03, 2013 7:15 am

You might want to talk to the friend and former colleague and find out why he quit.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby nepats » Fri May 03, 2013 7:34 am

Since you haven't done it before, try it out. If not, can you get your old job back? I used to travel every week for business in my early 20s for a technology consulting firm. It gets old real fast and your lifestyle gets disrupted. I wouldn't travel now if I had a choice. Also, cross country trips weekly suxs, so that's something to consider.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby hicabob » Fri May 03, 2013 8:53 am

Some people love it, some hate it - often best for single people - I have seen companies that have technicians who travel (up to 300 days/year) generally get about 60%(or more) higher pay than those that "work at the factory". With sales it usually seems to be part of the job. And get the Sunday travel expectations up front and clear before you start.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby wilpat » Fri May 03, 2013 9:30 am

In 1984 I was in 39 different states and was home for 5 of the 52 weeks. (I was not married at the time). You can get "beat up" tired from excessive travel.

One Monday morning I left Chicago at 4:00AM and flew to New York -- left New York and went to Salt Lake City -- Left Salt Lake City and flew to Charlotte -- left Charlotte and flew home to Chicago on Wednesday morning of the same week!

Sometimes when you travel like that you will wake up in the morning and think "where the heck am I?" -- that happened to me one time and I was home!
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby prudent » Fri May 03, 2013 9:48 am

I think the ability to handle constant travel is highly personal. I think travel today is a lot more painful than it used to be. But I have colleagues who do it all the time and don't mind. I know it would kill me.

I would seriously consider relocating to the West if that's where your clients will be. It's not only the jet lag from the 3 hour time difference back and forth, it's that even when you are at home base you're 3 hours different from all your clients. Plus you will save hundreds of hours a year just in travel time and layovers. And I would factor in that you might have happier clients if they can reach you during their normal business hours. Think about what time you will get home if you take a late afternoon flight from the West to get back to NY - a 4 PM flight from California lands in NYC after midnight IF you're lucky enough to be on a nonstop.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby ILnative » Fri May 03, 2013 12:06 pm

My general experience is that the jobs I have had that required me to travel were much more interesting than the jobs I have had where I didn't travel. But then I am an extrovert that loves to meet new people, see new things, etc.

When I traveled a lot I would end up working more in the evenings and then that cut down on the amount of work I had to do when I got home - so actually when I was home I was more there - if that makes sense. The travel also gave me a chance to connect with old friends that live in far flung places. That being said, it can be isolating and boring at times as well.

I'd give it a shot - you are young and somewhat unattached - never a better time to figure out if this is a life/workstyle that works for you.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby Clearly_Irrational » Fri May 03, 2013 12:11 pm

I had a job for a while that was about 80% travel. For the first 6 months it was a blast, basically it's like going on trips where someone else pays for everything. For the next 2 years it was interesting work and I didn't mind being on the move. After that always being away from home and the inability to form any sort of lasting relationships really started to become a drag. I finally got out of that line of work and don't have much interest in going back. Bottom line, my advice is to make sure you have some sort of exit plan for when you get tired of it.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby Random Poster » Fri May 03, 2013 12:20 pm

There used to be a sort of running thread on Flyertalk titled "Life at 30,000 feet," or something to that effect, which went into one guy's life on the road as a consultant. From what I gathered, most thought that it was a pretty accurate, if somewhat humorous, portrayal of what it is like to travel constantly for work. You might want to look at it.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby dpusa » Fri May 03, 2013 1:00 pm

Echo what most have said here about traveling 50-100% of the time. I did it for years in my old job (I made the airlines top tier by mid March due to biz class international travel) but eentually it becomes VERY VERY stale. THe five star hotels, fancy dinners, subsidized life becomes the 'norm' and therefore you dont appreciate it.
If you do take it, make sure when you are in town you get flexibility and the ability to work from home though - Fridays was my ME day to catch up!

If you plan on having a family its extremely hard, but often especially in consulting/sales roles the pay is good enough that quitting is hard too - double edge sword. Do I regret it - no! Would I go back to it - not for twice my new salary!
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby SurfCityBill » Fri May 03, 2013 5:27 pm

I had a sales mgmnt position that required 50% travel for years. I loved being in different places. It was the getting there and back that became drudgery.
Airports became a nightmare after 9/11. (Oh yeah, I was in NYC on business on 9/11. Stranded in town 8 days). Now I have a local position that has a lot of advantages but I miss a lot of what being a road warrior was all about. I actually make less money now but my life circumstances are different too. Family with kids that being away from 50% of the time would be a problem.

It is unusual to be assigned a geographic territory across the country from your home base. Usually, you're in a state within your area of responsibility. One other thing to think about. Figure out how generous your company is. Are you forced to use some cheap inconvenient airport shuttle service to get to your hotel or can you expense a $50 cab fare without getting yelled at. Are they okay with a decent hotel or are you constantly stuck at the Travelodge or Motel 6. I once got reprimanded for staying at a hotel beneath my managers acceptable rating. Do you have to take flights requiring lay-overs because they're cheaper then direct? These corner cutting, bean counter driven policies will make your life hell.

I would have a heart to heart talk with yourself and decide if you're comfortable being a cubicle dweller (no offense intended) or a traveler. I do recall stints where I'd be in 5 hotels in 5 nights in Florida and wake up trying to recall what city I was in.

:)
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby Clearly_Irrational » Fri May 03, 2013 5:36 pm

SurfCityBill wrote:I do recall stints where I'd be in 5 hotels in 5 nights in Florida and wake up trying to recall what city I was in.


I can identify with that. What's even stranger is after a while you have trouble remembering what hotel you're staying in or what car you're driving this week. For me, the worst weeks were ones where I was in several different time zones during the same week, it really starts to mess with your internal clock.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby mlipps » Fri May 03, 2013 5:55 pm

I work in an office where we have 5 people who travel about 75% for 6 months out of the year, 3 in the spring & 3 in the fall. They are all young; the oldest is probably 26. After travel season, they just look worn out. I thought it sounded glamorous and fun when I started there, but I see how much it takes a toll on them and I don't envy them one bit.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby jbreittling » Fri May 03, 2013 5:58 pm

I traveled for about 5 years during my career. Out on Sunday or Monday, home on Thursday or Friday, rinse and repeat.

Here are the the things I enjoyed:
Seeing the country
Meeting new people
Built a [lot --admin LadyGeek] of confidence - I can walk into any room full of people now and feel fine no matter the situation

Here's what I didn't enjoy:
It gets tiresome living out of a suitcase
Air travel flat out [stinks --admin LadyGeek] these days
If you like to tinker around at home (or have hobbies), put those on hold. Your weekends will be resting and preparing for another week on the road
You miss your family & friends - at least I did
Restaurant food begins to [stink --admin LadyGeek] - and I always felt more tired than when at home. Didn't exercise in the end like I did in the beginning. It wore me down after a while.

As you can see from the list above, over time the cons outweighed the pros greatly. For me, the 'glamour' wore off at year 2.

Good luck, whatever you decide.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby nedsaid » Fri May 03, 2013 10:13 pm

A lot depends on your age and your family committments.

For a young, single person this would be a great opportunity. This would have a lot less appeal to a person in their 50's with a family.

Travel is very tiring. Nothing like eating familiar food at home and sleeping in your own bed. After a while, all restaurant food seems to taste the same no matter how good it is. My Grandfather had a saying that he would rather have a hotdog at home than a steak on the road. There is a lot of truth to that.

It would seem to me that being away from home 1/2 the time would be really tough on family life. I knew a fellow who was a VP for an engineering firm and spend about half of his time traveling. He had a stay at home wife who kept things together at home while he was gone. When I knew him, he was in in late 40's and early 50's. It worked pretty good for him.

Depends on a lot of things.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby Random Musings » Sat May 04, 2013 7:10 am

I've turned down jobs that would require anything over 10% of travel since I have a family. The reason I had children was so that I could be with them. Knowing many people in the consulting, auditing and higher corporate positions who travel a lot, I can say that most of them tire of the travel scene within a few years. Some of them love it too.

However, the upside is that you will obtain a higher salary on average and get frequent flyer miles so you can fly for free on your vacations. :oops:

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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby DieselEngineer » Sat May 04, 2013 7:26 am

I am a merchant mariner. I am overseas for four month stretches and home for one, sometimes two. I was single when I started this job. I got married three years ago and had a kid last year. I love what I do, but I also developed an exit plan to move on to a shoreside job where I go home every day.

If you take the frequent travel job, make sure you have an exit p,an, too. Will the position help your career along in terms of the potential for greater future responsibility? Stability?
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby likegarden » Sat May 04, 2013 8:00 am

Consider the time lag when planning your business meetings. That is, when you arrive in the West do not have late night business meetings the first day. I experienced that with travel to Asia, but which has a much worse time lag.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby Dandy » Sat May 04, 2013 8:31 am

From what I see you either love a travel job or hate it and often those who love it grow to hate it. Some business travel is nice to break the routine. When you talk 50%, and east coast to west coast travel (taking the red eye back from LA can wear on you) that is a whole different ballgame. If you are going to do it, do it while you are young and have few responsibilities and if possible think of a escape plan if it doesn't meet your expectations.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby stickman731 » Sat May 04, 2013 8:38 am

Been doing it for 28 years - outside sales for major chemical company, move inside as head of department for 6 years (little travel), move to business development and travel the globe again.

I enjoyed the sight-seeing on weekends, great food and great people - made me financially secure, planning on retiring at 59 1/2 - house paid off.

Downside - three failed relationships all over 10 years - all started accepting and supporting it, missed special days, exhausted at the wrong time. It puts a lot of burden on the other half - banking, chores, shopping, etc that are normally shared

My favorite comments from my ex's - you have "fun traveling the world" and eating out every week, and the first thing they wanted was "to go out an eat". Traveling is not fun even with a few longer weekends. My biggest benefit were the first class upgrades (air and hotel) on our personal vacations (but my ex's all thought this is how I travel every time)

Would I do it again - Yes, but I would stop the global stuff in my early '40s.

My only recommendation is not to work 12-16 hours days, get into an exercise regimen and minimize alcohol intact (wine over dinner every night with clients is not good).
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby serge » Sat May 04, 2013 8:55 am

For 5 years I averaged over 180 nights in a hotel and over 100k airline miles each year.
Home 90% of the weekends.
It was all domestic travel.
My wife's military so it allowed me to live wherever she was stationed.
No kids.
It wasn't ideal but worked well for us.
With the hotel points and airline miles we never paid for a vacation out of pocket.
Salary was good and the tax free per diem was nice.
Only saw my boss once or twice a year.
The job was great but the travel became a chore.

If the job you're considering is attractive and you can handle the travel it can be a rewarding experience.
A big difference between leaving Monday and getting home Friday vs leaving Sunday and getting home Friday.
Make sure your GF is on board.

I'd say the question is whether the job is attractive enough to overcome the hassle of travel.

Good luck
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby icedtea » Sat May 04, 2013 9:04 am

This is the OP. Thanks to everyone who posted.

This is a very personal decision but hearing others' thoughts has helped me take everything into consideration. I'm still mulling this over but I have mapped out the key pros and cons, to get myself more organized.

The items below aren't listed in a particular order of importance. There are less cons than pros but the cons are very loaded cons so they mean a ton.


Pros:

better career experience - building client relationships, giving presentations, target prospecting, etc., my company is sales-focused (as opposed to product or marketing driven) so Sales staff are highly respected

This job offers a wealth of relevant experience if i wanted to return to marketing at a later date - one could definitely argue that after 9yrs of marketing, getting some sales experience would be more advantageous than continuing to work in marketing the entire time, several senior leaders in my company have told me this and I think they're right

better pay - most likely going from 100k currently (90 salary, 10 bonus) to up to 120k-125k (90 salary, rest in commissions/bonus)

influence on bottom line and reward - Sales has more control over their final pay due to the commission structure. though commission isn't guaranteed i see this as an overall positive since it's a clear motivator

work with good people in the territory - one is my age and we're pretty close friends, a few of the others are also friends

more independence - it's on the Sales team to identify leads, secure meetings, build relationships, etc., much less oversight by the boss than I currently have

very direct, reliable boss who gives clear direction when needed - the Sales head is my kind of boss and we have a solid relationship

ability to see family more often - my family all lives in california

ability to visit other parts of the west coast/midwest - Sales staff have the option to spend weekends somewhere between meetings, or return home. If they stay away from home for the weekend, they can expense the flight (if it's not more money than a flight home) and depending on the nature of the situation they can sometimes get permission from the boss to expense the hotel and/or food.

option to relocate to california - if i wanted to move, i could easily, and it would reduce travel time

ff miles and hotel pts - i'd get to keep all of them but not my corporate credit card pts, the company's travel policy is flexible so i'd have discretion over hotels, airlines, rental cars, etc.

food/accommodation expenses covered during travel - the company provides guidelines regarding reasonable spend per day on the road but it's up to the individual to manage their T&E, they have a fair amount of flexibility here especially if spending time with clients

best opportunity i'll likely have to get a client-facing position - after 9yrs of marketing, the reason i'd have a shot at this job is that i know the products, the target buyers/influencers, competitors, etc., if i were looking for a sales job outside the company, it would be a hard sell to get an interview, since i don't have any sales experience. i'd probably be looking at more marketing jobs for the most part

Cons:

50%+ travel may get old, fast - i've traveled for a couple weeks on business before and was pretty tired by the end

not very much time at home to relax, see girlfriend - i tend to stay at home a lot these days and relax, this would not happen as much anymore; spending some time apart from my girlfriend would actually probably be good for us but this would be extreme and likely put a strain on the relationship. i wouldn't have as much time to see other friends as often but i actually only see my friends on weekends these days anyway so it may not be as much of an issue...

tough to stay healthy - diet, exercise, sleep, jetlag - this is an important one. i'd have to be very disciplined.

more work hours - late night work likely - finishing the meeting and returning to the hotel lounge to answer/send emails and make calls would be the norm

need to drive - this one may sound funny, but i haven't driven a car in 9yrs (living in NYC can do that to you...). I'm fine getting back on the road as long as I have a GPS!


I want to make a decision on this by early next week because the longer I wait, the more likely someone else applies. I wouldn't want to start the interview process until I was dead sure about this, because I'd really need to sell myself to Sales leadership. Between the impact on personal stability, girlfriend, family, pay and career experience, this is a super loaded decision.

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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby prudent » Sat May 04, 2013 11:40 am

Being a neutral observer, after reading your pros/cons it seems clear that you would like to do this.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby BolderBoy » Sat May 04, 2013 2:47 pm

Raymond wrote:Absence does not necessarily make the heart grow fonder.


"Out of sight, out of mind."
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby Saving$ » Sat May 04, 2013 3:22 pm

stan1 wrote:...You also want to understand the ground rules. What days will you fly? Leaving Monday and returning Thursday or Friday is very different than leaving Sunday and returning Saturday. Returning every Friday to spend the weekend at home is very different than spending two weekends away from your family every month. If the travel became international two trips per month would mean essentially losing every weekend (due to travel time and recovery). Staying at a Motel 6 is very different than staying at a Ritz Carlton. Air travel is easier when you have a high level of frequent flier status (upgrades, early boarding, lounge access). You get a few benefits at 25K, more at 50K, but often you need close to 100K miles per year to get first class upgrades on a regular basis. Some companies let you use the same carrier -- but others require that you fly on the lowest available fare which might mean you don't have enough status on any one airline to get the perks. Are there social obligations (such as frequent client entertaining)? Some people enjoy this aspect -- others do not. How does your employer reimburse your per diem expenses? My employer pays a fixed daily rate for meals. If I spend more its out of pocket; if I spend less its money into my investing accounts.

Does your employer expect you to work 12-16 hours per day while on travel? Some do.

No matter where you stay you need to make sure you keep up a healthy routine (exercise, avoid overeating, watching stress levels, avoiding too much alcohol). If your company and coworkers expect you to transact business at bars and steakhouses every night that can get really old -- even if you have an expense account.


This.

At first it is fun. After some time, you really start to resent the time away. Monday morning at most airports is terrible - very long lines, etc. unless your flight is before 6:30 am, which there are few of, and that means leaving your house at 3:30 or 4 am and if you are going to the west coast, by 9 pm their time you will have been up 21+ hours. If you are expected to entertain clients, this is exhausting. It takes a toll.

If you return Thursday evening, and get Friday off, it is probably doable. If you don't return until 11 pm Friday, it is exhausting - you need to go grocery shopping, pay the bills, get the mail, do the laundry, etc. all of which you could normally do weeknights.

Also, alot depends upon the work. Do you have client meetings all day, take clients to dinner, then go back to the hotel and work until 2 am to produce documents they expect for the next day's meetings, or is the work 9-5? If you are allowed to take off and explore in the cities you are in, it might not be so bad. If you are expected to spend every waking moment with clients and the co workers from the local office and other project team members to "make the most of the trip," it is exhausting. Will you need to return to your home office and work on Friday, which may go into Saturday because you were on the road all week, and for some jobs it is just much more efficient to get things done at a desk in your office with all your resources.

You will get airline miles, hotel points, and other perks. If it involves client entertaining, and you are expected to throw your employers money around, beware this can affect bogleheadish ways. You may develop a liking for the finer things. Unfortunately, years of traveling for work pulled my minimum standard for hotels up quite a few notches, and it has never recovered. Fortunately, I can afford it. When you stop traveling for work, and you lose all the perks, you will hate travel even more than when you were still doing it for work and were burned out.

However, it is not all bad. You often avoid a great deal of office politics. You make alot of contacts around the country. You learn how to pack very lightly.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby camoaero » Sat May 04, 2013 4:24 pm

I spend about 6-7 months of the year away from home for work (I'm currently writing this from Africa). I'm 29 and have been doing this particular schedule (two months overseas, two months home) for about 2 years. Before this position I spent three years being gone about a third of the time. I will definitely say that no matter the location, no matter how much you might love what you're doing, no matter how nice the amenities....it will definitely take a toll on you. Early on I was single and focused on the paycheck....so the sacrifice, while difficult, was worth it to me. I'm currently engaged to be married this summer and my relationship has definitely begun to change my perspective. While I'm lucky enough to not have any major work responsibilities while I'm back home, my fiance and I always feel like we're living on a countdown.....til when I leave or when I return. I definitely value the experiences that my career has afforded me, but a relationship under these conditions is definitely not easy. I've recently begun to look for other opportunities in the "normal" world. I think it all depends on your priorities. By all means, give it a shot if it interests you. You'll most likely learn a lot and have some great experiences. But consider looking at it as a temporary situation and have an exit strategy in mind.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby tibbitts » Sat May 04, 2013 5:17 pm

Increasingly employers utilize travel services that eliminate points/miles for business travelers in exchange for slightly lower prices/fares, so nobody should count on that as a travel benefit. And increasingly there is an assumption that work is 40+ hours and travel is not included. Even if those aren't in an employer policy today, you have to assume they will be tomorrow, as competitive pressures increase to cut costs.

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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby stan1 » Sat May 04, 2013 6:59 pm

icedtea wrote:
best opportunity i'll likely have to get a client-facing position - after 9yrs of marketing, the reason i'd have a shot at this job is that i know the products, the target buyers/influencers, competitors, etc., if i were looking for a sales job outside the company, it would be a hard sell to get an interview, since i don't have any sales experience. i'd probably be looking at more marketing jobs for the most part


Iced Tea


If you've been in marketing with the same company for 9 years you do need to do something different (whether in a different department or different company/industry). It's very important to build the breadth of your skills so that you don't become perceived as pigeonholed.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby icedtea » Sat May 04, 2013 7:05 pm

stan1 wrote:
icedtea wrote:
best opportunity i'll likely have to get a client-facing position - after 9yrs of marketing, the reason i'd have a shot at this job is that i know the products, the target buyers/influencers, competitors, etc., if i were looking for a sales job outside the company, it would be a hard sell to get an interview, since i don't have any sales experience. i'd probably be looking at more marketing jobs for the most part


Iced Tea


If you've been in marketing with the same company for 9 years you do need to do something different (whether in a different department or different company/industry). It's very important to build the breadth of your skills so that you don't become perceived as pigeonholed.


I've worked in 3 different industries. 8 years of marketing and 1 year of public relations total. but yeah, i'm seen as 'the marketing guy.'

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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby icedtea » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:52 pm

OP here. Just thought I'd share an update. I decided to interview for the job. I'm in the middle of the process now. I should find out in a couple weeks if I'm getting an offer. I haven't made up my mind yet but I figured it would be best to see how it goes. I'd rather go for it, and assess the offer if I get one, than not pursue the opportunity and potentially regret it later.

I did find out some more info on the travel requirements. It looks like I'd be expected to travel around 50% of the time. This could mean being away for 2-3 days some weeks, a full week other weeks, or not at all some weeks. I spoke with some other staff in similar roles and none of them have had to be away for a full week more than twice since Jan 1. So it's not quite as extreme as I anticipated, but still a fair commitment worth vetting.

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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby WHL » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:02 pm

I love it. I honestly don't travel enough. I'm THE service manager for one of our north american divisions so I have a lot of area to cover but we're only about two years old so it's not crazy busy yet. Lots of travel to europe back to our HQ.

I've only had like 5 trips so far this year which is disappointing but I'm heading out on a few international trips this month which has me pumped up :)

I couldn't care less about relationships, no desire for a woman, no kids, and the apartment will be fine with out me. Bring on the road...
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby zebrafish » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:25 pm

icedtea wrote:OP here. Just thought I'd share an update. I decided to interview for the job. I'm in the middle of the process now. I should find out in a couple weeks if I'm getting an offer. I haven't made up my mind yet but I figured it would be best to see how it goes. I'd rather go for it, and assess the offer if I get one, than not pursue the opportunity and potentially regret it later.

I did find out some more info on the travel requirements. It looks like I'd be expected to travel around 50% of the time. This could mean being away for 2-3 days some weeks, a full week other weeks, or not at all some weeks. I spoke with some other staff in similar roles and none of them have had to be away for a full week more than twice since Jan 1. So it's not quite as extreme as I anticipated, but still a fair commitment worth vetting.

Iced Tea


I think I look at this job as a previous poster said and see whether you can advance to a position (eventually) with less travel. This gets dicey to ask in an interview (worst thing you can do is seem like you are trying to get out of a job before you get in), but I will say that marriage and children made a very large shift in my career plans. I made a pretty big left turn career-wise to maintain time with my spouse and kids-- and it was only once I had a spouse and kids that I realized I needed to make a change. I know you only have dated the GF for a year and I'm not sure how old you are, but if you plan to get married and have children in the next few years, then look very carefully at this. If you're not planning on settling down, then go for it if you can handle all the travel.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby rocket » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:26 am

Traveling is generally bad on your health. You will exercise less and eat very fattening food. If you travel a lot, you will not know what to do when you have time off because you will not have hobbies and you will not have friends to do thing with.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby cheesepep » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:31 am

tfb wrote:
icedtea wrote:Any words of wisdom you can share?

Although you are traveling all over the place, you don't get to see much. You move between airport, hotel, and conference room. It's all the same. You eat out, not very healthy. You breathe circulated air on the plane, not that great. You sleep poorly in hotel room. You still have a ton of work to do after spending hours on the plane.


It depends. Certainly not the case for me. After work, I go ANYWHERE. Life is good.
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Re: Jobs that require lots of travel

Postby dickenjb » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:33 am

I traveled my entire 29 year career in the chemical industry. Never as much as 50% but about 20 to 30% which is a lot.

It has its pluses and minuses.

Overall it was a positive. Wife has to be able to take it as well as the kids.

I had to laugh about tfb's comment. I remember on my second trip to Europe I flew to Hannover, Germany and then went to a customer, Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. Someone asked what my impression of Germany was and I said it was a lot like business travel in the US - airport, then rental car, then Holiday Inn, then conference room at customer site.

If you take the job, learn how to play the FF game. www.flyertalk.com is the Bogleheads of travel. I retired with 5 MM FF miles and hotel points, lifetime Platinum with Marriott and lifetime Gold with American. My family goes to Costa Rica this month and wife and I are going to Phoenix in December and Hawaii in January - all on FF miles.
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