How much time do you give when you are quitting your job to travel the world? How will your company take the news? Will they be supportive and hold your job for you? Or will they tell you to clean out your desk?
After talking to other RTW travelers the average timeframe was about 6 weeks notice, depending on what position they held at the time. You have to consider your value to the company and how easily they can replace you. How high is the learning curve and if you will need to train someone for the position. Consider deadlines and upcoming projects and be careful to not leave your current employer in a bad place, as you don’t want to burn the bridge. However, there is rarely going to be a convenient time for you to leave, so while you need to make it as easy of a transition as possible, don’t let yourself get stuck waiting for the “perfect” time to leave.
Depending on your job you must be prepared for the possibility that once you give notice, you are asked to leave. Ensure that you have saved up enough money as a safety net if they do let you go a few weeks/months before you were planning on leaving. We both gave 6 – 8 weeks notice and received support from our employers to remain on until we were fully transitioned. We made sure to mention that we were fully committed to finishing out our work in the time allotted.
Tips on Telling your Employer:
First, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are getting to travel for a prolonged period of time. You have already taken the hardest step and decided to GO! Getting out of the 9 to 5 and committing to a life of uncertainty is scary and since human nature typically avoids change or the road less traveled you have overcome a huge hurdle. You have pushed yourself over the edge and now all you have to do is tell everyone!
Practice. I am not saying you have to video tape yourself talking to your boss and critique your facial gestures, but get an idea of what you want to say and how you want it to come across. Honestly, once your boss hears “traveling the world” their mind will start reeling. This isn’t a typical Monday morning water cooler conversation. Everything that you say today won’t be 100% heard. Say what you want to say to get your point across, let him know you are leaving and why and how great adventure this is going to be and then stop! Schedule a second meeting with your boss to follow up. Let the information you have just given him or her sink in so you can follow up and have a real conversation with their full attention.
Commit. Don’t go in to quit if you aren’t fully committed your upcoming trip. Avoid using words like “I think,” “I hope,” “I’m not sure.” You have thought long and hard about this trip and you know this is a good thing for you! You’ve done your homework, so prove to your boss that you know what you are talking about. Explain to him how it will help you grow both professionally and personally. You will gain many skills that will look great on a résumé to future employers.
Be Honest. Don’t tell your boss that you want to come back and work for them if you don’t plan to. If you want to work for the remaining time before you leave for your trip with your employer then let them know about your plans to do so. If you’re mentally checked out and you know you won’t be able to get your work done, be fair and finish up your projects and leave – don’t just sit and milk a paycheck if you will only be burning bridges in the long run.
Finish Strong. Your mind is obviously not on your work, it is on the adventures and travels that are now in your near future, but your employer doesn’t have to see that. Finish all of your projects, cross your t’s and dot your i’s, and complete all your work. Pass off the work that can be delegated and train anyone they have brought in to take your place. Your employer will be grateful that you didn’t leave your desk a mess and projects undone. When you return from your travels you may have a job waiting for you or a great referral into a job that you do desire.
In closing, put yourself in your employer’s and colleagues’ shoes and act as you would hope they would in the reverse situation. Although they are all excited for you, no one wants to be left one man down in the middle of a pile of work. Be confident when you tell them of your planned trip, but respectful in that work still needs to get done in your absence. Good Luck and Happy Traveling!
I want to hear your thoughts and stories of telling your company you were quitting to travel…