Careers That Will Take You Around the WorldJune 29, 2020 | By Nafeesah Allen
When you hear that someone is a flight attendant, you already know that she is a professional wanderlust. But, you might be surprised to learn that many other professions can lead to a life of travel. Project managers and investment bankers, for example, are able to take their skills on the road. We talked with a few traveling professionals to give you an idea of what life is like on the international road and what skills they use to succeed and enjoy their travel benefits!
Before she graduated from Boston College, Tatiana knew she wanted to be a flight attendant. Looking back on her 8 years at JetBlue, she admits that her initial travel schedule was grueling and she missed a lot of special occasions with family and friends. Over time though, she gained control over her route and schedule. In addition to visiting countless U.S. cities, she permanently moved to Puerto Rico, where her family is originally from. Work trips and employee travel perks have landed her in 18 different countries around the world.
What trait is needed to succeed in this position?
Patience. “Flights are full of people traveling for a variety of reasons – from regular work to unexpected death. Customers may not always be in the best of moods, but it is our job to provide everyone with the same customer service experience.”
Andrea never expected that after getting her MBA in Dubai she would stay to work at a waste management firm. But after a career counselor asked if she would switch gears from her previous tourism career to a rewarding career in sustainability, the new career turned out to be a great move. Six years later, the recycling enthusiast now heads the Program Management Office at the Dubai Headquarters of an international company that provides hazardous waste removal services for cities and businesses across the Middle East and Africa. Though the long flights are tough, she loves that her work focuses on emerging markets. She’s gone to Gabon, Morocco, South Africa, Oman, the UK, and Lebanon.
What did this career change teach you?
Have a passion for learning. “I love that I’m always learning something new. We are in the process of digitizing our operations, so I am learning a lot while also adding value as a non-technical project manager and communication pro amidst a sea of engineers.”
The 2008 economic downturn presented Kurt an opportunity of a lifetime. His law firm offered him a discounted salary to take a one-year sabbatical. Kurt had a whole year to explore the world and search for a second salary. Instead of returning to the law firm, he joined a private equity firm in Tunisia. He started with the private equity team covering the Middle East and North Africa. Since then, he has held different private equity and investment banking roles. He has lived in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and the UAE, and has visited more than 100 countries. This year, he broke a personal record with 4 different countries in 4 days. He credits the shower rooms at Dubai airport for making it possible to get from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia to South Africa to Lesotho without any missed connections.
What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to live life on the road?
Love your work. Kurt’s wife also has a demanding career that keeps her on the go. They share the philosophy that you have to love the work first, because “simply loving the travel part will not make the work fun or fulfilling.”
At 22 years old, Kadine joined the military after careful consideration of what she wanted most in life – education, travel, and adventure. A career in the Air Force gave her all three. One year, she managed in and outbound cargo at an airport in the Middle East. The next, she taught sexual assault prevention to troops in Europe. She loves the constant change and the challenge it presents.
She says it is hard to manage active duty military service with personal commitments and restrictions, but she has always found the work rewarding and meaningful. Her specialized skills in logistics are in full use as she manages a regional liaison office between the Air Force and civilian flying partners.
How do you overcome the challenging parts of this lifestyle?
Manage your mindset. “A career in the military isn’t for everyone. It’s a demanding lifestyle that is restrictive and, at times, lonely. My advice is to be flexible. Manage expectations and commit to perform well, whether the experience is what you imagined or not.”