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Should I quit my job and go travelling? (Mid life crisis alert)

(71 Posts)
JennyHolzersGhost Sun 10-Jun-18 21:42:42

Hi all. Views welcome.

I have a good job. It pays relatively well in an unstable industry. I was lucky to get it, I’ve been at this company for more than five years and am (without wishing to sound arrogant) pretty well regarded by senior management.

BUT! I desperately want to take some time out and do some travelling. I didn’t do a ‘gap year’ as a student although I did about three months of travelling when I was between jobs about 12 years ago. Other then that all my travels have been during normal work holidays; I’ve had a couple of month-long holidays in the past decade which were great but there’s no prospect of anything more than a couple of weeks at a time for at least the next couple of years.

I know, that still sounds luxurious compared to what some people get. But there are so many parts of the world I want to see and things I want to do that don’t fit into a two week holiday. I’m hyper aware of this because I’ve reached an age when people I know start dying untimely deaths and I guess that yes I am feeling as though there’s more to life than work.

Now here’s the thing. I’m about to come into enough money to live off comfortably for a year. (Not an inheritance - a friend who I never thought would pay me back is paying me back).

I could ask work for a year of unpaid leave. If I did that, I wouldn’t have any control over which job in the organisation I got when I came back and I wouldn’t be absolutely guaranteed a job if there wasn’t one which suited me. So theoretically I would have to accept that risk. I think they like me and don’t want to lose me but I can’t count on it.

I don’t intend to stay in this industry for ever so if I didn’t get that job back I guess I would be self employed for a while and then transition into other things. Theoretically.

I don’t have any dependents and so I’m free as a bird, other than the question of what impact a year off would have on my career path. I feel as though I would be throwing my hard won career and reputation away and I’m not comfortable with the insecurity of that. But admitting that would mean my life has become a treadmill of financial and professional security with occasional two-week breaks to remind me what life would be like without work, and that’s such a depressing thought.

What would you do ??? This is just a Sunday evening pipe dream, right ?!

chipsandpeas Sun 10-Jun-18 21:46:05

i would do it, i often think of doing the same but cant due to money

SnookieSnooks Sun 10-Jun-18 21:52:03

If you don’t do it, you’ll regret it when you’re on your deathbed. I think you’re unlikely to end up wishing you’d woerked
More.

AgentProvocateur Sun 10-Jun-18 21:53:38

Do it. You’d be mad not too.

Justawaterformeplease Sun 10-Jun-18 21:56:00

Do it.

Furx Sun 10-Jun-18 21:57:33

Do it.

I did, but I quit my job and left everything. Travelled the world for 2 years.
100% no regrets. It was amazing. I’d do it again in a heartbeat (sadly have dependents and a mortgage now)

You’re a long time dead. Get out there.

JennyHolzersGhost Sun 10-Jun-18 21:57:37

But what about my carreeeeeeeer! Seriously I doubt I’d get back to my current level in the same company again afterwards. And people I know who have left do say that we don’t realise how cold the employment winds are on the outside.

Layla75 Sun 10-Jun-18 21:58:04

I’m doing it albeit in a slightly safer way through a career break scheme. In 3 weeks I finish work- in 6 DH and I head to Australia for at least a year. Total mid life crisis but in a good way smile

mayhew Sun 10-Jun-18 21:58:25

Ask for unpaid leave.
Go whether they offer or not.
I did this at 27. Went to China, Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan. Away for a year, pre Internet. No one knew where I was! 'Twas ace.

DickensianHysteric Sun 10-Jun-18 21:59:12

Do it! I did this when I was 30, left a 'good' job to travel for a year. I've got no regrets. I was planning to relocate within the UK anyway so I didn't go back to the same city I left and obviously had to find a new job. I think if you can afford it then go for it!

Furx Sun 10-Jun-18 22:00:39

Ps. With careful wording, my travels enhanced my CV. It certainly hasn’t harmed my career too much. And my breadth of experience is respected, even if I missed out on some bits of the career ladder.

PitilessYank Sun 10-Jun-18 22:01:02

Can you take a month off, perhaps, and do a tester trip of sorts and see if it suits you?

Do you have in mind to change career fields at some point? If you do, maybe it doesn't really matter if you may not return to the same position.

Belle89 Sun 10-Jun-18 22:01:09

Do it you can restart your career again maybe with the same employer, maybe else where.
If i had the opportunity I wouldn't hesitate.

JennyHolzersGhost Sun 10-Jun-18 22:01:10

Omg Layla how exciting ! Good luck to you ! How does the career break scheme work exactly ???

Belle89 Sun 10-Jun-18 22:01:52

Lifes too short you'll only regret the chances you didn't take, not the one's you did!

Loopytiles Sun 10-Jun-18 22:03:13

What about travelling for three months?

JennyHolzersGhost Sun 10-Jun-18 22:05:17

Yank - as I said, ive done a couple of month long trips and I’ve done a three month trip back in the distant mists of time. So I know what it involves. Unfortunately work wise either I ask for the unpaid leave and lose my current role, or I don’t. That’s a black and white choice.

Ursaminor Sun 10-Jun-18 22:05:42

Do it!

I did it when I was 37. You only live once. You will have changed by the time you come back and be ready for something different.

And - you won't lie on your deathbed and think: " If only I'd spent more time in the office".

antimatter Sun 10-Jun-18 22:05:57

Do ot! You probably have 20 or 30 years pf work ahead of you.

JennyHolzersGhost Sun 10-Jun-18 22:06:14

Loopy - it doesn’t matter how much time I ask for, whether it’s three months or a year, I would have to leave my current position either way and then it’s potluck what I get when I want to come back.

glasshalfsomething Sun 10-Jun-18 22:06:44

How unstable is your job/field of expertise?

Are there any chances of coming back to a similar role? After travelling, will you want to? Could you move location for a new job? Would your spontaneous decision now be seen as character?

I appreciate it's sensible to plan your career, but try to to let the what-ifs from stopping you take on what sounds like an amazing opportunity to travel.

JennyHolzersGhost Sun 10-Jun-18 22:08:21

I’m trying to be deliberately vague here but my job is a high status one in the creative industries and it’s exactly the kind of job that other people wish on their deathbeds that they had managed to get. That is part of my difficulty; I love it and many people would kill to have it and it is pretty fulfilling. So it’s not just an unfulfilling office job.

I am aware of how lucky I sound now. blush

Paperdolly Sun 10-Jun-18 22:09:33

No don't!!! Go to work and think about your dream EVERY day. Try to keep smiling as you carry out your mundane routine and listen to colleagues as they fulfil theirs.

And when you're on your death bed I want you to say "I wish I'd spent more
Time at work" 🙁

JennyHolzersGhost Sun 10-Jun-18 22:10:58

Glass -

a) Pretty unstable. My employer, less so but still financially strained

b) theoretically yes. In practice no guarantees.

c) who the hell knows !

d) theoretically yes

e) I don’t know what future employers would make of it. Could work either way.

mayhew Sun 10-Jun-18 22:11:05

You say you "desperately " want to do it.
You can afford it.
You have no dependants.

Well, then, the only person stopping you, is you.

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