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Taking time out to travel is what many people dream of but travelling could in fact, be hurting your eventprof career.
Plastered all over Instagram and social media are incredible pictures from those travelling the world and taking time out from the day to day struggle (doesn’t it make you sick!). But let’s be honest that’s not what real life looks like for most of us and if you are thinking of going travelling you have to consider what you are leaving behind, or coming back to.
Like any career, event management takes time to hone your skills and in this competitive marketplace you need to do everything you can to get ahead. Travelling enables you to explore different cultures and locations, to meet new people and improve your independence so surely there are lots of benefits to event planners in the making?
On the other hand some bosses can frown upon people who chose to travel, particularly those who have chosen to take time out and do it more than once, which can make it harder to get hired when you get home.
Here is why travelling can seriously hurt your career as an event professional.
Less Chance of Getting Promoted
If you have proven that you like to travel, especially on multiple occasions it can show that you do not like to stay in the same place for too long and that you are easily bored. This can translate to a lack of promotion opportunities because superiors don’t want to waste resources training you and giving you responsibilities that they perceive will have to change in a few months’ time for someone else. Organizations like stability and reliability and if you can’t give them that you are going to find career progression very difficult.
Also, in the fast-paced event industry, you need to be able to keep up and with frequent bouts of travel it is easy to lose touch. For these reasons it may make it more likely your colleagues will be offered the promotion over yourself.
Settling for Less
On your return you could find yourself settling for a lower salary or less benefits for a while because you have less event planning experience. Many organizations prefer sector specific experience and will penalize you if you don’t have it, the way they do this is to reduce the salary, extend probationary periods or reduce the amount of company benefits that are available to you. You may find that travelling hasn’t quite given you the experience you thought it had, especially since you probably have travelling debts that you need to pay off.
Leaves a Blank Space
Employers hate blank spaces on your CV, they want to know where you have been, why you have been doing it and what you have achieved. With a more competitive market out there you will find that employers want everything you have been doing to have benefited your life in some way. Whilst trekking, hiking or seeing the wonders of the world sounds great to all of your friends it does not leave much to put on the resume to convince your future employer to take a chance on you (particularly if your competitors were studying or gaining qualifications in the meantime).
Are you considering taking some time out of your current event planner position to travel? This sounds like a good idea in theory because you have already gained your real-world, specific experience. You deserve a break, right? Wrong. A lot can change and happen in the 6-12 months you are going to be travelling for and in a fast paced industry such as the event sector you could find some of your contacts will have moved on, on your return.
This means that when you get back you won’t always be able to rely on those same suppliers, workers or great deals that you nurtured to put you on top, sometimes you will be starting from scratch over again.
Not Worth the Money
Do you think you are getting the best of both worlds because your career involves travelling? Think again. Unless you are getting paid door to door, the money often simply isn’t worth the time. Consider if you are getting paid for your travel time, transfers, overnight stays, as well as the actual work, because if you are spending a lot of time physically travelling you are not necessarily where you want to be.
Also consider, how you are supposed to get better at your job if you are constantly having to do it on the move? Being frequently jetlagged, tired or working with distractions (e.g. on the plane or in the airport) can mean lower productivity and higher stress levels for you which is not worth what you are getting paid.
Post Travel Depression
Have you ever had a trip of a lifetime and then you arrive home and wish you were still there? Yes, that’s called post-travel depression and something that many people suffer with when they get back to reality. Wanderlust in those who love to travel is obvious and it is also contagious, no one wants someone moping around the office who doesn’t want to be there! And if you feel like this you won’t be giving your best.
Pining over the places you’ve been and the places you want to go is a sure fire way to reduce your productivity, and in the competitive event industry this will not go unnoticed! If you are only ever happy when you are travelling or taking time away then you need to consider your life choices and perhaps choose to do something else that will keep you satisfied.
Proves You Don’t Want to Commit
When you decided that you were unsure what you wanted to do with your life and went travelling it could be seen by some as being flakey. Whether you were avoiding being an adult or you were simply taking time out to find yourself, it can appear as though you are unable to commit, which are not qualities that you want in an employee. After all, why would someone hire and event professional who is doing it as their second choice but would rather be doing something else or off someplace else?
If you have gone travelling multiple times this is even worse and you will probably be penalized for it. Event projects need continuity and leaving part way through a project is a massive disruption to the team. The event industry is not for everyone and you need to decide if being an event professional is something you really want to do, if you aren’t committed or can’t see projects through, your employers are going to pick up on it and it’s going to hinder your career.
Let’s be honest, there is only so much happiness you can feel for a person who has travelled the world, seen great places, has an amazing tan and won’t stop talking about it! You may find that travelling, especially if you do it frequently can harm your office and working relationships with not only jealousy but those who don’t want to get too close because they expect you to leave.
While this may not directly affect your career prospects, it is definitely going to cause a few problems, particularly if you are looking for leadership roles in the future. If you can’t get on with the team or are unpopular in the office you may be passed over for promotions or other opportunities for those who are more in favor.
Makes You Restless
For those used to travelling, moving from place to place and keeping to your own schedule, you may find it difficult to adapt to the office constraints that come with any job, let alone the fast pace of the event industry. Going to the same place, office and desk everyday can start to get you down and this leads to restlessness and job hopping while you hope to find the excitement you are craving. While you may stay within the event profession, skipping jobs frequently reflects poorly on you and your resume.
Travelling vs Experience
At the end of the day, nothing beats actual experience! If you have real-world event management or planning experience going into a position, the likelihood is that; you won’t need as much training, you are more of an asset to the company, they won’t have to watch you as closely and can give you more responsibility. Ultimately any business is looking for the best employee for the best value and this is generally translated into actual experience, which no matter how hard you try, does not come from sipping mai tai’s on the beach.
Travelling can be an amazing and life-changing experience but it also needs serious consideration. As you can see, travelling can seriously impact your career chances and this is something that you definitely need to consider before making the leap and going off on a trip or sabbatical. That is not to say that the industry itself doesn’t offer chances of travelling but perhaps not in the way you have in mind. Be clear and realistic about what travelling can mean for your career in the event industry. If you live in a state of perpetual wanderlust then you may need to realize that event planning is just not for you.