Travelling until 30 - beginning career later

Hey guys,

 

It is my viewpoint that there is no rush to attain one's career goals in their 20's - rather, this is the time for travel and achieving other goals which can only be done during this time period (eg sporting). I met a guy in Austria who worked at a bar on the mountain during Winters, and on boats in the Mediterranean in the Summers. I'm intrigued by living this sort of lifestyle as a temporary alternative to the white-collar path. Eligibility for most working holiday visas run out at the age of 30, so, it seems like this is the best time for it.

 

Who thinks it is at all possible to return to the corporate path after working abroad doing low-skill jobs with zero relevance for several years?

----------- 

EDIT:

Thought I might flesh out a more specific/ updated game plan: continue on the 'prestige' track for several years (most likely sell-side finance), saving up as much money as possible. Testing the career on the side - eg what @mech60 suggested with doing the sort of work I intend on the weekends. Buy equity in a small business in sport tourism sector with the potential for operational improvements or a roll-up etc. If it fails, I'm only 1-3 years deep and play it as an entrepreneurship experience and return. My plan Z is continuing family property development biz. Feel free to punch holes, or add some advice on how to further mitigate the extreme potential downside.

 

 

 

Comments (30)

 
Feb 19, 2021 - 12:46am

There is merit to choosing the road less traveled, so I'm not going to put it down. That said, that will 100% eliminate you permanently (for the rest of your life) from working any career which this forum commonly discusses. The issue with "Wall Street" and "Wall Street-adjacent" high finance is that there are strict career paths. For example, you can't just become an investment banking analyst at 30 (it's theoretically possible, I suppose, if you know the right person). And you can't just come in at 30 as a VP or Director without relevant work experience (relevant = something in an office + elite MBA). 

In fact, I'd assume it would hamstring you in most career paths, from accounting to law. But our careers can be golden handcuffs. I sometimes wish I would get fired because it would force me to really pursue my dreams. There's merit to not going down the strict "corporate" path, so I'm not gonna dog that decision. Just know what you're getting.

Array

 
Feb 19, 2021 - 1:37am

Lol, this isn't true. OP can always get an MBA afterwards and move into banking. There's no hard and fast rules to anything.

Array

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Funniest
Feb 19, 2021 - 1:43am

3176401

Lol, this isn't true. OP can always get an MBA afterwards and move into banking. There's no hard and fast rules to anything.

Yes, I'm sure HBS and Wharton are taking a ton of bartenders among their ~10% acceptance rate. 

Array

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  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 19, 2021 - 10:00pm

Dude go for it.

Just make sure you're developing a transferrable skillset while you're doing it.

I'm in my late twenties, travelled around the world for much of my early and mid twenties. Founded a start-up along the way, did door to door sales and learned a shitload.

Broke into IB as an associate last year, no MBA. Didn't know anyone in it, just applied like most people.

It's all about how you frame your story.

 
Feb 19, 2021 - 1:05am

Bookmark 

What’s past is past and can’t be undone. It has led to the circumstances we now face. All we can do is recognize our circumstances for what they are and make the best decisions we can, “given the givens."  - Howard Marks

 
Feb 19, 2021 - 3:29am

Maybe working till 35-40 and opening up your own café later would be more peaceful. After working at beautiful locations in your 20s or early 30s you might end up never wanting to return to the busy shore.

 
Feb 19, 2021 - 6:16am

I knew a guy who tried to combine lifestyles, worked hard M-F during the year, and took a few weeks off in winter and the summer to be a skiing instructor and work on sailing boats. It was more a hobby than a lifestyle, but he enjoyed it. I wouldn't throw away a great start in a career unless you have to or really want to.

 

 
  • VP in IB - Ind
Feb 19, 2021 - 5:04pm

Ok, real talk. I am in the general range of the "settle down" age you are proposing, as are my friends and past classmates.
 

I know of only two people who did as you described - traveling around, getting bullshit grad degrees abroad, generally fucking off - and came out fine, and that is only because one is now working for his dad and the other is using his trust and family members' money to "seed" his "angel fund". I know many many many more people who went that route and are now paying for it. They are all working as some flavor of "account manager" or in (non-lucrative) sales at random companies/startups alongside 25 year olds or are planning to go back to school (and literally any school they can get into) to pivot.

 

Most low risk/high reward careers are built upon in your 20s and early 30s. Even unicorns in tech were built because their founders were slaving away in their youth (FAANG, PayPal, etc). Pissing away your 20s is the dumbest career move you could make unless your parents are billionaires imo 

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Feb 20, 2021 - 10:23pm

Eh I agree with you, but your parents don't necessarily have to be billionaires... just rich

 
Feb 19, 2021 - 7:41pm

Thanks everyone for your comments. Thought I might flesh out a more specific/ updated game plan: continue on the 'prestige' track for several years (most likely sell-side finance), saving up as much money as possible. Testing the career on the side - eg what @mech60 suggested with doing the sort of work I intend on the weekends. Buy equity in a small business in sport tourism sector with the potential for operational improvements or a roll-up etc. If it fails, I'm only 1-3 years deep and play it as an entrepreneurship experience and return. My plan Z is continuing family property development biz. Feel free to punch holes, or add some advice on how to further mitigate the extreme potential downside.

 
Feb 19, 2021 - 9:33pm

"In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

 

Array

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Feb 19, 2021 - 11:31pm

Thanks to COVID, many firms and industries have accepted WFH as a norm. Why not work at a firm that has a lenient WFH policy? With this option you can generate a good income and develop a solid skillset. 

I've met many people who had done the full time traveling thing. The common theme was those people were miserable and traveling was allowing them to get away from their problems. Over time you may start to feel regret and a growing feeling of anxiety while your bank account is at 0, and your friends are progressing in their careers and saving money. There's nothing worse than traveling with 0 money in your bank account. I've met people at hostels that wouldn't have a single penny to visit museums or try out different foods, and it was sad to see. Traveling all the time will also be rough on the body, and you'll feel burnt out from traveling.

Array
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Feb 21, 2021 - 7:11pm

I've been thinking this too, corp dev at tech company ? Anyone got other ideas where lenient WFH policies will be most common? Can't imagine too many employers in the finance industry with flexible WFH policies post-COVID. 

 
Feb 20, 2021 - 7:57pm

This kind of stuff is a LOT more popular in European fuh-nuance. Don't listen to the US dogma on WSO.

 
Feb 20, 2021 - 9:59pm

Analyst451

Travelling Until 30 - Beginning Career Later

If you want to take a break and go the MBA route, you first have to consider what MBA adcoms view as favorable in the admission. There are three key factors:
- GMAT/GRE score
- Undergrad GPA
- Recommendations/Experience 

Places like Stanford are more liberal with experience, but there is one theme you have to meet - proving a record of excellence and progression through a certain field with leadership capabilities and increasing responsibility. You have to craft this experience in your essays to convey your progression of responsibility and leadership qualities, demonstrated by concrete results. 

If your uGPA is lower than the average, you're going to have to become a GMAT/GRE splitter and score very high on the exam. So best practice would be for you to study your ass off while you're traveling and when ready, ace the exam. 

There are some books on Amazon with successful Wharton and Harvard MBA essays. Buy these books and read them. Begin to frame your life around what you will write in the essays and you might make a desirable MBA candidate. 

https://www.amazon.com/Successful-Wharton-Business-School-Essays/dp/061…

https://www.amazon.com/Successful-Harvard-Business-School-Application/d…

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

 
Feb 20, 2021 - 10:06pm

To give you a real world example - my friend Steve wanted to move to Indo and surf. He ended up moving to Bali. He researched what he could do to do business there. He found a contract from the city to replace all the lightbulbs in all the office buildings across the city. He sought out all the types of bulbs needed and modeled the pricing to create a bid to the city. He found he would make a profit and won the bid and could do this on the side while he surfed Indonesia. He hired like 8 locals for the task. They would assemble in this house that he rented out there. Surfboards and lightbulbs in the living room. I visited the place in Bali. 

Moral of the story is if you seek to travel - you need to seek out business opportunities or a progression of entrepreneurism in some way. Do something beyond the norm in a unique way. You might succeed so much that you don't need business school. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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