Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

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crazygrow
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Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by crazygrow » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:08 pm

Hi all,

Still fairly new here, so a brief description of my current situation. I run a fast growing technology division for a large public company. I've led the global division from $10M in revenue to $100M in revenue in four years and we are looking good to nearly double again next year. I'm well liked and could have a long way to run here career-wise; however, the situation is extraordinarily stressful - extremely competitive industry, the company doesn't really treat executives at my level super well (compensation is ok, but no benefits to make the executive life easier - business class travel as en example of something that is lacking (they won't even pay for economy comfort), fast growing but held to very rigid bottom line growth, often resulting in much less investment in our product than our numerous competitors are but expected to exceed their growth, etc.

My previous jobs were management consulting. I've always worked 60-80 hour weeks, am "always on" on vacations with my phone always next to me at the beach, on top of the mountain, etc. It is a lifestyle I'm accustomed to, but after 14 straight years of it with no breaks, it is finally beginning to wear on me, in large part because with some exec changes above me I feel much less empowered than I did a year ago and I want to spend more time with the kids.

I'm 38, married, with six kids ages 3-9, MCOL location. Honestly, I have few passions left in life outside of my work and my family. The only other one is I love to travel. I've traveled extensively throughout the world for both work and pleasure and it is one of the greatest joys in my life to see the minds of my wife and children expanded by interfacing with new cultures and new experiences.

I'm seriously considering planning on what is referred to as a "gap" year and taking my family traveling around the world. I'm considering doing this in 2018 as I'd like to be completely debt free when we went. I'd have to sell our first home (currently rented) and pay off the current residence, which we would rent (we view this as our forever home). I would plan to reinvest in myself during the year with some study of some sort.

I was working towards retiring at 55 with between $4-5M in net worth, but a lot of those assumptions revolve around my compensation remaining high (currently about $350k/cash and $100k/equity annual grants with four year vesting - although the equity is a new component and only $15k vested this year). I'd be ok with retiring a few years later if we did the gap year.

So, to the question: Opinions on how far back compensation-wise this might set me? I'm assuming my current company (who I haven't discussed this with) wouldn't just let me come back after a year at the same level, so probably would need to find a new job - very few of which here pay at this level. The big question is if I leave do I come back to a job paying $150k/year vs. $400k+/year?!?

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tainted-meat
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by tainted-meat » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:10 pm

Taking off a year seems a bit extreme in my opinion. Try to cut back at work a bit (shut the phone off by 7 every evening) and take a nice vacation where you turn it 'off'. If they can you for it then there's your gap year ;).

edge
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by edge » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:55 pm

Sounds like you need manage yourself better and delegate things to the point where it is not as crushing.

hcj
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by hcj » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:58 pm

My husband took off several years and went back to same company / same job, but he has a unique skill set and they really wanted him back.

I have taken breaks from work three times, each time longer than a year. The first time I was very young and changed careers. The second time I went back to the same industry and was hired in immediately. The third time I went back to the same industry but as a contractor / consultant.

I think it's very individual to you and how valued your skill set is and your industry. If it were me, I'd go for it but save some money so you can pay the bills when you come back and start job hunting. You might decide to do something different or find a consultant gig that's lower stress, lower hours, possibly more rewarding and still pretty good pay. It sounds like you're not happy with your current set up and that's why the gap year is so appealing. Your current job may not be sustainable for you.

finite_difference
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by finite_difference » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:06 pm

How do you even take a year off with kids in school? My parents actually did this and I just basically skipped a grade but I wouldn't really recommend it. Then again you sound like you would do a better job at keeping your kids occupied perhaps. It was pretty boring for me since we only visited 3 different countries, and I was in school part of the time in one country, but all the moving meant I didn't have a chance to really make friends, and I missed my friends from home. But, taking 2-3 months off for summer break and traveling the world with my family, that would be pretty cool though. Maybe you could do that once every couple years or so, and then otherwise dial back your work to like 50 hours a week rather than 60-80? If that's not possible I'd like for another job with more vacation days and better hours. Sounds like you have a great resume.

Edit: basically, you love traveling, but are you sure your family will love it for one year too? :mrgreen:
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

harrychan
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by harrychan » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:21 pm

You seem to be a very meticulous and calculated person but this is something you simply can't calculated. You seem to have the skill set to be able to rebound from a year of being off. I'd say go for it but don't be dogmatic about the timeline. Perhaps you can go travel for a whole summer first to see how your family likes it. Also, taking a sabbatical at a single location living as locals renting an apt vs. taking many vacation traveling the world in hotels is a complete separate story.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

bluejello
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by bluejello » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:49 pm

My current boss did this — he travelled around the world for 2.5, almost 3 years with his wife and young children. He was about 41 when he took off, and from what he says it was an absolutely amazing experience for everyone. He and his wife homeschooled their kids as they traveled, and of course the kids also learned a ton from seeing the world. They are back in regular school now, and as far as I can tell from what he says the kids have had no problems readjusting.

When he came back from his travels he took on the role that he has now (running a division of a global software company). His wife was also able to get a manager-level position with a major pharmaceutical company. I don't think there was any negative impact on either of their careers at all.

I'd say go for it! Life is short, and I don't think you'd ever regret doing something like this.

Erwin
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by Erwin » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:53 pm

crazygrow wrote:Hi all,

Still fairly new here, so a brief description of my current situation. I run a fast growing technology division for a large public company. I've led the global division from $10M in revenue to $100M in revenue in four years and we are looking good to nearly double again next year. I'm well liked and could have a long way to run here career-wise; however, the situation is extraordinarily stressful - extremely competitive industry, the company doesn't really treat executives at my level super well (compensation is ok, but no benefits to make the executive life easier - business class travel as en example of something that is lacking (they won't even pay for economy comfort), fast growing but held to very rigid bottom line growth, often resulting in much less investment in our product than our numerous competitors are but expected to exceed their growth, etc.

My previous jobs were management consulting. I've always worked 60-80 hour weeks, am "always on" on vacations with my phone always next to me at the beach, on top of the mountain, etc. It is a lifestyle I'm accustomed to, but after 14 straight years of it with no breaks, it is finally beginning to wear on me, in large part because with some exec changes above me I feel much less empowered than I did a year ago and I want to spend more time with the kids.

I'm 38, married, with six kids ages 3-9, MCOL location. Honestly, I have few passions left in life outside of my work and my family. The only other one is I love to travel. I've traveled extensively throughout the world for both work and pleasure and it is one of the greatest joys in my life to see the minds of my wife and children expanded by interfacing with new cultures and new experiences.

I'm seriously considering planning on what is referred to as a "gap" year and taking my family traveling around the world. I'm considering doing this in 2018 as I'd like to be completely debt free when we went. I'd have to sell our first home (currently rented) and pay off the current residence, which we would rent (we view this as our forever home). I would plan to reinvest in myself during the year with some study of some sort.

I was working towards retiring at 55 with between $4-5M in net worth, but a lot of those assumptions revolve around my compensation remaining high (currently about $350k/cash and $100k/equity annual grants with four year vesting - although the equity is a new component and only $15k vested this year). I'd be ok with retiring a few years later if we did the gap year.

So, to the question: Opinions on how far back compensation-wise this might set me? I'm assuming my current company (who I haven't discussed this with) wouldn't just let me come back after a year at the same level, so probably would need to find a new job - very few of which here pay at this level. The big question is if I leave do I come back to a job paying $150k/year vs. $400k+/year?!?


If not now when?
You seem successful, I would not worry about getting a job upon return. Besides, there is no better education than getting to know the world, it will certainly add to your job qualifications.
I was not as smart as you are, so unfortunately waited until 55 to stop working. I am now 67 and travel as much as I can.
Erwin

otinkyad
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by otinkyad » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:17 am

How well your career fares seems pretty individual, and specific to your field, your area, and your particular skills. I think it would be a great life experience, and unless the OP was very lucky to get his current position, I don't think it would be much of a career hit. On the other hand, I think Internet opinions are not very valuable with things like this.

I'd like to spend a year in Europe, in one place, with the kids in school. I'd also like to take a round the world trip, but that's a lot of logistical effort. I don't think I'd like renting our house (curious, since we love doing home exchanges), though perhaps a visiting professor would be a good fit. It is very easy to think this is a good idea and never actually pull the trigger on it. I'm really disappointed we let our kids get into high school without doing this.

I think taking kids out of grade school is a non-issue, at least with college-educated, professional parents. How much do you really learn in grade school, compared to seeing the world? I remember a mom taking her kids out of school for a year when her husband was competing in the America's Cup, and she was similarly dismissive: 5th grade versus a year experiencing a different culture and different views of history wasn't a close contest. High school is trickier only because you don't want to mess up college admissions. I think attending school in an international baccalaureate program would be OK, but a gap year is harder to rationalize, and could cause issues with returning to school.

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HomerJ
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by HomerJ » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:28 am

How does your wife feel about traveling the world with 6 young kids?

It's a pretty different experience with 6 kids that young (and only two of you), and without the expense account you are used to.

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Watty
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by Watty » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:36 am

I don't have any statistics but I have yet to hear a woman(or man) say that taking a year off a corporate job to be a stay at home parent has not put a serious dent in their career.

With some fields like medicine this might more doable since they would be returning with a specific skill but that sounds a lot different than the work that you are doing.

Doing something like working overseas for a few years might be an option to consider.

Taking a shorter sabbatical would likely be more doable.

Finding a less high pressure job might also be doable.

Loandapper
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by Loandapper » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:19 am

There's an interesting TED Talk on this topic. It goes about 15 minutes and has been watched 2.7m times.

Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He explains the often overlooked value of time off and shows the innovative projects inspired by his time in Bali.


LINK: http://www.ted.com/talks/stefan_sagmeis ... f_time_off

If you choose to go, please let us know how it goes!

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bottlecap
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by bottlecap » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:03 am

Only you can know what the likely effect on your compensation will be.

I would also posit that you could take 6 months rather than a year to minimize the impact of your "obsolescence".

Finally, if you think your job is stressful, try travelling with 6 kids between the ages of 3-9 for any length of time. You are in for a "treat". I'm guessing you'll be bringing a nanny or two?

Good luck,

JT

Non7WoodUser
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by Non7WoodUser » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:32 am

Travel, other than to sporting events in the U.S., is not fun.

ponyboy
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by ponyboy » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:46 am

With 6 kids no...you cannot afford to take time off work.

carolinaman
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by carolinaman » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:46 am

I think this is a decision that only you and your wife can make. You seem to understand the risks. I believe you are right that you will have difficulty re-entering your industry at a comparable level. However, I assume you have a professional network that can vouch for you and possibly help you re-enter the workforce at a good position/salary point. I am guessing you will have to take a step back in pay but you should re-gain that in time. People who can do what you do do not grow on trees. Also, after some time off, you may decide to take your career in a direction that offers better quality of life. Your life is a journey towards the destination of retirement, and you should enjoy the journey to.

FWIW, I was a general manager of a tech startup in the 1980s and can relate to the pressure you experience. Working 60 hour weeks on a sustained basis is doable but going appreciably above that on a sustained basis will wear you down. Plus being on all the time is tough. Cell phones and 24x7 communications was not common back then but I found myself thinking about work most of the time I was not at work. I left my company after 5 years and took an IT Director position for a large government organization. There was plenty of pressure and often long hours with that job too, but nothing like what you are experiencing.

You mentioned that your company was pushing hard for increased revenue/margins but was not investing in your product like your competition. I think you know this but that will catch up with your company. It is hard to say how they will deal with that, and depending upon the culture, you may not want to be around when that happens.

cherijoh
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by cherijoh » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:04 am

HomerJ wrote:How does your wife feel about traveling the world with 6 young kids?

It's a pretty different experience with 6 kids that young (and only two of you), and without the expense account you are used to.


bottlecap wrote:Finally, if you think your job is stressful, try travelling with 6 kids between the ages of 3-9 for any length of time. You are in for a "treat". I'm guessing you'll be bringing a nanny or two?



By all means consider getting some balance back in your life by leaving your high stress job. But traveling around the world with 6 kids in tow sounds pretty extreme to me. I think you need to think this through and make sure your wife is on board. If you are used to working 60-80 hour weeks it is clear that you have never been the kid's primary caregiver for any length of time - even while on vacation.

Have you ever traveled anywhere with the family besides packing up the monster SUV and heading for the beach or the mountains? Have you ever flown anywhere with the entire family? You should definitely test it out before you commit to this plan to see the world.

Have you priced out how expensive it is to travel with 8 people? Or though about the logistics? I think you would have problems trying to rent an apartment big enough for a family of 8 in most places around the world. How would you feel about sharing 1 bathroom? Large families are not the norm with the exception perhaps of Latin America. Are you prepared for using public transportation? You can't fit 8 people in any private family vehicle I have ever seen outside of North America.

What happens when one of the kids get sick and you can't find an English speaking doctor? I know in much of Europe there may be only one or two 24-hour pharmacies in an entire city. I expect it is the same elsewhere around the world. Americans are incredibly spoiled by the conveniences we have relative to the rest of the world.

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Watty
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by Watty » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:02 am

crazygrow wrote:I've always worked 60-80 hour weeks, am "always on" on vacations with my phone always next to me at the beach, on top of the mountain, etc. It is a lifestyle I'm accustomed to......


One more thought.

A lot of the burnout may be self inflicted.

I have not worked at your level but some of the better managers and executives that I have seen were very good at delegating work and focusing on the long term strategic plans instead of the day to day stuff.

When you are looking ahead six months or more ahead there is no need to think about work while you are on vacation.

Your department has grown a lot, even if it means hiring more staff it may be time to delegate a lot of your day to day work.

Before I retired I worked in computers so that was a lot different. Occasionally working long hours or being there in an emergency goes with an IT job but occasionally some people would drift in the working 24/7 all the time. You might think that this would impress their superiors the opposite is often true. Having to constantly be in firefighting mode can be sign that you have reached the limits of your skills and that you are certainly not a candidate for being promoted up to the next level.

carolinaman wrote:You mentioned that your company was pushing hard for increased revenue/margins but was not investing in your product like your competition. I think you know this but that will catch up with your company. It is hard to say how they will deal with that, and depending upon the culture, you may not want to be around when that happens.


That can also be a sign they they are getting ready to sell the company or division and trying to make the numbers look better.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:03 am

I have some tangential experience with hiring high-level executives (i.e. people who talk about running businesses with $100 million in revenue). I come from a software background, which is generally less staid & conservative that other industries. YMMV if you're in some other industry.

At my last company we hired 2 executives who had taken a decent chunk of time off. I think it is relatively common once you get past a certain level on the management scale. I can't say for certain whether you are there yet or not, though.

What I have seen is that executives get to a point where they have enough money they are able to, believably, talk about wanting to work on things that they are passionate about and will find challenging. Maybe you spent 8 years running a multinational sales organisation and kinda feel like you've maxed out what you can learn from that role. So you quit. And it takes a year or more to find another job that is a good fit.

That's not an uncommon story.

However, I wouldn't paint it as "I was stressed out so I spent a year traveling." I don't think any company is going to like that version of things. But if you paint it as, "The role wasn't pushing me to grow as much as I wanted so I left. I felt it wasn't fair to the organisation just to keep the seat warm while I was looking for my next challenge"....I think most hiring CEOs wouldn't find that such a weird situation.

Of course, there's a fine line. A year is likely too long unless you have a great pedigree (or they've been looking for your exact CV a long time). But I reckon you could do six months easy. What I would do is take three months and then start a slow, unhurried job search, expecting it to take another 6-9 months which will almost certainly involve a relocation to some other part of the US (or the world).

dbr
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by dbr » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:32 am

Anything is possible. The one thing that is certain is that you should get out of that job you are in. Travelling the world with six kids those ages will take some serious planning or some serious moxie, but crazier things have been done.

You might consider what Plan B is going to look like if you never see that income again. I would think six kids around the world for a year would mean you and your family are the kind of people who would retire fairly young and not need that income to do it.

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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by KyleAAA » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:36 am

It will set you back financially but you seem okay with that (willing to retire a few years later). I say go for it if you have the cash savings to make it happen. You can travel in with 6 kids for a year in many parts of the world for less than $20k total.

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HomerJ
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by HomerJ » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:45 am

KyleAAA wrote:You can travel in with 6 kids for a year in many parts of the world for less than $20k total.


LOL. Yes, it is possible, if you only go 1-2 places, and live like locals.

But that's still a crazy statement.

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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by KyleAAA » Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:20 am

HomerJ wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:You can travel in with 6 kids for a year in many parts of the world for less than $20k total.


LOL. Yes, it is possible, if you only go 1-2 places, and live like locals.

But that's still a crazy statement.


I know more than one family that has done it. Not with 6 kids, but they did it significantly cheaper than $20k. Parts of Asia are shockingly cheap.

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HomerJ
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by HomerJ » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:19 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
HomerJ wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:You can travel in with 6 kids for a year in many parts of the world for less than $20k total.


LOL. Yes, it is possible, if you only go 1-2 places, and live like locals.

But that's still a crazy statement.


I know more than one family that has done it. Not with 6 kids, but they did it significantly cheaper than $20k. Parts of Asia are shockingly cheap.


Getting to Asia and back for 8 people costs though :) And I doubt they were living in any kind of luxury. Which is fine... If the wife is okay with that. Who needs air-conditioning anyway?

Isabelle77
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by Isabelle77 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:34 pm

Financial and career aspects aside, I have a 10 and 12yr old. I think travel for a year with them (and my spouse) would be fun and life changing. I can't even imagine traveling for a year with a 3yr old, let alone 6 kids under 9. It is completely possible that your children are perfect angels but that just sounds exhausting.

I'm all for travel and sabbaticals, I just can't picture it with that many people.

sarahjane
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by sarahjane » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:37 pm

I traveled for a year when my two boys were in college. Just my wife and I. Went to the places and did the things that warrant more than the typical two weeks. Two years later we went in Peace Corps for two years. No work experience comes close. My coworkers said I was crazy--never get a good job again, etc. I'm now retired in the asset bracket OP mentions.

DO IT!!

randomguy
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by randomguy » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:25 pm

crazygrow wrote:So, to the question: Opinions on how far back compensation-wise this might set me? I'm assuming my current company (who I haven't discussed this with) wouldn't just let me come back after a year at the same level, so probably would need to find a new job - very few of which here pay at this level. The big question is if I leave do I come back to a job paying $150k/year vs. $400k+/year?!?


Nobody can answer that. Ignore your exact skill set. Lets say you come back and the job market is like 2000-2 for tech in your area. Your sabbatical could go from 12 months to 48. And as you say, there are few jobs in your area that pay that well. You have to ask what are your chances of getting one versus say moving 2 steps down the ladder and having to fight your way back up. Heck you might never get back. How would you feel (both in day to day and having to work til say 62+) if you came back and were a 200k worker bee for the next 20 years?

Personally I would say you would be better to do this in 3-5 years. You want to do it before the oldest hits high school but at the lower end, every year you add will greatly improve the experience of the 3 year old.

It might also be worth thinking through other options. 4 3 month vacations over the next 5 years might be just as educational.

And finally, you love is travel. What about the other 7 people involved? The 3 year old doesn't care but the 9 year old might not want to miss seeing her friends/activities for that long.

In the end you will have to make a bunch of guess and decide how much risk you want to take. There is a lot to be said for taking the money when it is being handed out. There is also a lot to be said for living how you want and letting things work out.

orlick
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by orlick » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:57 pm

Wow, I feel like I could have written this post a few years ago. The only difference is that you have more kids :)

Don't take a year off from work.

You'll find another great job. But you'll back slide. Soon you'll be in the same place. Burned out and working 80 hour weeks.

Here's the thing. You're not a great executive. You don't delegate enough. You don't give your people the opportunity to surprise you with what they're capable of. I know this because I used to be in the same place.

Here's my advice. Set a goal of taking a 2 week vacation completely off the grid with no access to a computer in a far off place. The sign of a great executive is to be able to get away without anyone noticing. It might take over a year to build your team to where this is possible.

When you get to this place it will be more life changing than a year spent traveling.

dbr
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by dbr » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:29 am

orlick wrote:Wow, I feel like I could have written this post a few years ago. The only difference is that you have more kids :)

Don't take a year off from work.

You'll find another great job. But you'll back slide. Soon you'll be in the same place. Burned out and working 80 hour weeks.

Here's the thing. You're not a great executive. You don't delegate enough. You don't give your people the opportunity to surprise you with what they're capable of. I know this because I used to be in the same place.

Here's my advice. Set a goal of taking a 2 week vacation completely off the grid with no access to a computer in a far off place. The sign of a great executive is to be able to get away without anyone noticing. It might take over a year to build your team to where this is possible.

When you get to this place it will be more life changing than a year spent traveling.


I can see this being pretty good advice.

nolapepper
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by nolapepper » Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:22 pm

taking a few weeks off in the summer every year is a better plan than taking off a whole year and then come back to the old stressful world. You will be burn out again. Recharging periodically is more efficient and last longer.

furnace
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by furnace » Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:39 pm

crazygrow wrote:Hi all,

Still fairly new here, so a brief description of my current situation. I run a fast growing technology division for a large public company. I've led the global division from $10M in revenue to $100M in revenue in four years and we are looking good to nearly double again next year. I'm well liked and could have a long way to run here career-wise; however, the situation is extraordinarily stressful - extremely competitive industry, the company doesn't really treat executives at my level super well (compensation is ok, but no benefits to make the executive life easier - business class travel as en example of something that is lacking (they won't even pay for economy comfort), fast growing but held to very rigid bottom line growth, often resulting in much less investment in our product than our numerous competitors are but expected to exceed their growth, etc.

My previous jobs were management consulting. I've always worked 60-80 hour weeks, am "always on" on vacations with my phone always next to me at the beach, on top of the mountain, etc. It is a lifestyle I'm accustomed to, but after 14 straight years of it with no breaks, it is finally beginning to wear on me, in large part because with some exec changes above me I feel much less empowered than I did a year ago and I want to spend more time with the kids.

I'm 38, married, with six kids ages 3-9, MCOL location. Honestly, I have few passions left in life outside of my work and my family. The only other one is I love to travel. I've traveled extensively throughout the world for both work and pleasure and it is one of the greatest joys in my life to see the minds of my wife and children expanded by interfacing with new cultures and new experiences.

I'm seriously considering planning on what is referred to as a "gap" year and taking my family traveling around the world. I'm considering doing this in 2018 as I'd like to be completely debt free when we went. I'd have to sell our first home (currently rented) and pay off the current residence, which we would rent (we view this as our forever home). I would plan to reinvest in myself during the year with some study of some sort.

I was working towards retiring at 55 with between $4-5M in net worth, but a lot of those assumptions revolve around my compensation remaining high (currently about $350k/cash and $100k/equity annual grants with four year vesting - although the equity is a new component and only $15k vested this year). I'd be ok with retiring a few years later if we did the gap year.

So, to the question: Opinions on how far back compensation-wise this might set me? I'm assuming my current company (who I haven't discussed this with) wouldn't just let me come back after a year at the same level, so probably would need to find a new job - very few of which here pay at this level. The big question is if I leave do I come back to a job paying $150k/year vs. $400k+/year?!?



Congrats on your large family. The children have a good father as role model. I wish I still have your love for international travel. What irks me about overseas travel, is the disdain and jealousy (or even hatred) that the natives have for American tourists. I don't want go where I'm unwelcome, and have given up tourisim outside the US.

You may want to consider concentrating your travels in North America. There is so much to see here, with a million parks and attractions from coast to coast. Primitive camping, hiking, and wildlife watching are great for getting in touch with nature.

You also need to find a way to cut your hours down to around 40. Start by attending fewer meetings.

beagle1
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by beagle1 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:53 pm

I have no experience in this matter, and am not in your asset class. But I think what the poster below said is spot on. I don't think you need to follow a linear pathway; there are a lot of positive surprises and taking a year or however long you decide on to explore the world and be with your family will open up some opportunities. I would do this and trust that you will end up where you need to be.

sarahjane wrote:I traveled for a year when my two boys were in college. Just my wife and I. Went to the places and did the things that warrant more than the typical two weeks. Two years later we went in Peace Corps for two years. No work experience comes close. My coworkers said I was crazy--never get a good job again, etc. I'm now retired in the asset bracket OP mentions.

DO IT!!

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KlingKlang
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by KlingKlang » Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:11 pm

crazygrow wrote:the company doesn't really treat executives at my level super well (compensation is ok, but no benefits to make the executive life easier - business class travel as en example of something that is lacking

I feel much less empowered than I did a year ago


You are not a member of the entitled executives at your company. If you try to do anything other than what they tell you to do you will be dismissed with prejudice so fast that it will make your head spin.

david99
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by david99 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:55 pm

orlick wrote:Wow, I feel like I could have written this post a few years ago. The only difference is that you have more kids :)

Don't take a year off from work.

You'll find another great job. But you'll back slide. Soon you'll be in the same place. Burned out and working 80 hour weeks.

Here's the thing. You're not a great executive. You don't delegate enough. You don't give your people the opportunity to surprise you with what they're capable of. I know this because I used to be in the same place.

Here's my advice. Set a goal of taking a 2 week vacation completely off the grid with no access to a computer in a far off place. The sign of a great executive is to be able to get away without anyone noticing. It might take over a year to build your team to where this is possible.

When you get to this place it will be more life changing than a year spent traveling.


This is great advice. The beauty of this website is that you can find people that have had similar problems and have found good solutions. Maybe you can work with a consultant that can help you analyze and improve your management skills. It would be less costly than taking a year off.

yearzero
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by yearzero » Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:11 pm

nolapepper wrote:taking a few weeks off in the summer every year is a better plan than taking off a whole year and then come back to the old stressful world. You will be burn out again. Recharging periodically is more efficient and last longer.


I agree 100% with the comment above. I recommend taking baby steps. Take a month or two off with your family in the summer. Or a month over the Thanksgiving/X-mas holiday.

My spouse and I love travel. We went to more than 50 countries before we had kids and, like you, stated we were going to take off for a year with the kids when we could. Instead, we've did a few one month trips and a few that were longer each summer.

Frankly, parenting 24-hours a day, with no breaks is not "traveling" like we used to enjoy. They were great experiences and we'll continue to do them every summer. But I don't think it will be as romantic as you think, especially if you are traveling with a 3 year old. I would wait until the kids are a bit older when they would have a more enriching experience and when you are in a position where you don't really have to care about you job/compensation level. Have fun...
"Don't waste your time, or time will waste you"- Muse-Knights of Cydonia

halfnine
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Re: Travel for a Year with Family - Career Impact?

Post by halfnine » Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:02 pm

You are not going to get much in the way of relevant advice here. I will say those of us who have taken gap years rarely regret it. I can recommend two blogs that might make for good reading, though. For a family of six with possibly similar career/financial situation to yours I recommend a look at Six in the World. And for a family of 8 kids and a grandpa to show what is truly possible try Pilgrims' Progress

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