Revenge Travel Is Great – But It Won’t Fix Your Work-Related Blues

There’s no debating that the last two years have been tough – with quarantines and isolation, school and daycare closures, ‘Zoom’ fatigue, and loved ones falling sick or worse. So while the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t technically over, it’s no surprise that record numbers of people are taking a break this summer and engaging in what is being dubbed as “revenge travel.” Travel and Leisure says each American household is expected to spend $2122 this summer, 50% more than in 2019, the last year Americans were traveling.

I love travel! I’ve been to well over 40 countries, visited every continent but one, and lived in 5 different countries. I’ve experienced amazing parts of the world and would encourage everyone to do the same, if they seek adventure and exploration as I do.

But when you are planning your trip, across the globe or across town, think about what you will get out of it. If your expectation is to rest and get-away, so you can fight another day – a trip will get you there! But be prepared to pick up exactly where you left off in the office when you return.

I learned this lesson many years ago. I was at a job that I loved. While it was hard and I didn’t have a lot of support, I was doing something important and engaging the community. But a few months into the job, a new leader was brought in who wouldn’t even speak to me. Others commented on it, but no one, even my direct supervisor, would address the ice-out this boss gave me.

To help take my mind off things, my husband and I planned an amazing vacation to Turkey. We went to Istanbul and then down to the Mediterranean coast. It was an incredible trip, culturally, culinarily and full of verdant beauty. But as sublime as it was, I still had a tiny pit in my stomach the whole time, knowing that I was returning to a hostile work environment. Within a few days of being back in the office – it felt like the trip hadn’t even happened.

The reality is that changing a work situation takes more than different scenery, and while getting some distance and perspective can be useful, no vacation or amount of time away will change the way you feel about a job that isn’t working for you anymore.

In recent months, I’ve talked to many women in similar situations. They are burnt out, repeatedly passed over for promotions, feel underpaid, or are simply bored or dissatisfied in their current role. And many want to use the current demand for labor as an opportunity to find a job that pays better, offers better benefits or quite simply is a better fit for their talent and passion. But they are simultaneously nervous or overwhelmed by all the options out there.

That’s where career coaching can come into play. Many of my clients, fed up with their situation but unsure of the right way to move forward, have made the decision to invest in themselves, at around the cost of a vacation, to plot real change in their lives. And at the end of their coaching journey, they are left with something much more valuable than snapshots and souvenirs.

These clients have more clarity around their next career steps. They emerge with more confidence to start the business they always wanted or make that career change. They are prepared with better messaging to effectively communicate their full value to snag their dream role or win that promotion.

In short, they are ready to step into the next version of themselves. It may feel like they’ve taken a trip, as they often feel revitalized and energized, but more importantly they are clear on what they want, and are equipped with the skills and tools to get it.

So by all means – take a holiday this summer. Get some rest and put yourself in a better mindset after the slog of the last couple years. But if you feel ready to really address the shortcomings in your work life – consider working with a career coach to chart your path to a better place. You won’t regret it. After all, getting what you truly want is the ultimate act of revenge.