November 3, 2013 @ 5:17 pm - posted by Liz

Whether you call it a career break or a sabbatical, this extended time from work is offered to millions of people around the globe and provides a lot of opportunities. While some people decide to kick back and enjoy umbrella drinks in the sun until the point of muscle atrophy, many want to work and travel simultaneously, padding their finances, gaining work experience and saving money by working abroad on their travels.

If you have decided to work abroad during your sabbatical from your current career, you need to understand that this isn’t an easy as you may think. There are various steps involved to working in a different country. So, before your next career break, let’s go over some vital information.


Steps to Take Before Working on Your Break

Firstly, Understand the Terms:

The first thing you have to be aware of before working abroad on your sabbatical is that not every company is going to allow you to work. For example, you may be under a strict contract wherein you cannot accept any type of job outside of that company. Some contracts even forbid volunteer work unless pre-approved.

So, before you decide to work and travel, make sure the “work” part is actually allowed by your company. Look over the terms of your contract, ask management about your options while telling them about your plans, and make sure that you tie up any loose ends so bad scenarios don’t arise; i.e. thinking you’re meeting the terms of your contract but wind up violating it due to a loophole.


Secondly, Make Sure You’re Qualified:

Next, make sure you have a firm grasp of the rules in the country or territory you’re visiting. Coming from Ireland, for example, you may not think much about a work and travel plan in Australia. However, every country is going to have different rules. Look into various aspects of the country, territory, and culture that you’re visiting:

  • Do you need a work visa?
  • Are there any tax implications or withholding issues?
  • Can money be put into international banks or be transferred abroad?
  • Is the job you want typically safe or culturally acceptable for you to work?

These are all issues you should address before working abroad and even before taking your career break.

Thirdly, Examine Your Options:

When you daydream in quiet moments about working abroad on sabbatical, you may have a fun, easygoing, high-paying job. The reality in some countries, however, might be a bit different. So before you end up in a work and travel nightmare, find out what types of jobs are available and where they’re available. Here are just a few of many options you may have available to you:

  • Teach English to foreigners (TEFL)
  • Working in a bar or night club
  • Working as an Au Pair (a foreign housekeeper or assistant, basically)
  • Picking fruit in places like Australia
  • Boat work in tropical places (shrimping, crabbing, fishing, greenhorn, etc)
  • Online work as a freelancer
  • Working at parks, museums and other public areas
  • Working as a tour guide

When you select the type of job you want to do on your career break, after making sure you qualify to work and that you’re able to work in the specific country, you want to begin working toward landing that job. For instance, if you want to keep working as a freelancer, it might be a good idea to develop a reputation while at home. If you’re going to work at a labor-intensive job, such as picking fruit, lawncare, etc, then make sure you have the stamina for it beforehand.

Fourthly, Get Your Ducks in a Row:

Before heading out on your work and travel plan, make sure that everything is lined up. Create a checklist of the things you need to do so far, and don’t forget other important aspects of traveling. For instance, make sure that you have enough finances to get you started. You may not fall into a job instantly on your career break. While working abroad sounds nice and easy, you may have to struggle to find a job.

By having everything planned out in advance, you can take your sabbatical without having to deal with the stress of low finances.