5 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Job Requiring Travel

Are you considering a new job requiring travel?  So many people across the nation have jobs where travel is an expectation.  Just like all jobs, it can be extremely rewarding or simply awful.  To find out if this new job offer is right for you, I’ve put together 5 questions to ask before accepting a job requiring travel.

Four years ago, my husband and I asked these questions before he took his new job.  Currently, he travels across the western United States as a sales engineer.  When he’s not travelling, he works from a local office.  In the past 3 weeks, he was home for 5 days, 3 of which were work days.  As I talk to more and more people, I’ve realized this lifestyle is common in many households across the country.  I’ll be honest, this lifestyle can be a little hectic especially with a family, but it might be a perfect opportunity for you.

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1. Is the work travel predictable?

Does this new job have a consistent work schedule or is it unpredictable?  Both the oil and gas industry or mining are great examples of a set schedule.  I’ve heard of three weeks on, one week off or three weeks on, three weeks off.  Other jobs such as bricklayers or construction are dependent upon work availability.  Finally, there is a need-based travel.  Salesmen and emergency repairs will require unplanned travel.  Depending on the industry, there are a variety of travel schedules.  The key to this question, is understanding what will be required BEFORE you start the job and how the expectation will effect you.

2. Who will take care of the kids?

If you have a spouse and family, this is a big question to answer.  Will your spouse stay at home?  Will other relatives fill in when you can’t be there?  Can you hire a nanny?  The answer can be a mix of parents or possibly other relatives, like grandparents or aunts and uncles.  Think of all the factors.  Early childhood daycare and after school care may be required.  The key is to have a consistent point of contact for the children.  Kids work best in a routine environment.  Keep in mind, there will be instances where the emergency contact will be called so make sure all those items are taken care of.

3. How will you complete the household tasks?

If you are a homeowner, things like lawn mowing, yardwork, and occasional repairs need to be completed.  Is someone home who can do accomplish those tasks?  If you have a spouse, those tasks may shift to them.  How about laundry, general housekeeping, paying bills, and washing dishes?  You will need to consider how all of these task will be completed and how they might affect a relationship.  Keep in mind, you could always hire someone to help with these tasks.

4. Is the job change worth it?

Getting a new job is exciting, but the job itself may not be right for you.  Consider both the financial parts (pay increase, benefits package, etc.) of this new job as well as the lifestyle changes (quality time with family, liking where you live, etc.) that may be required.  Also, think about how this new job may affect your family.  If both spouses still need to work full-time and one is constantly travelling, can you handle the professional demands as well as the family expectations?  Be realistic.

5. How will you maintain relationships?

This may sound like an odd consideration, but the relationships you have with friends and family is a BIG deal.  How will you keep in contact?  Will you still be able to get together for football games, lunch dates, or bike trips?  Can you make it to your grandma’s 90th birthday party?  With Skype, FaceTime, and cell phones, it’s easier than ever to be connected.  Will you be there for your child’s sports or school functions?  These items do matter and is something to think about before taking the job.

Are you still loving the idea of that new job?  Take it!  New things are always a bit intimidating.  As long as you’ve thought about the impacts of how this new job will effect you and those around you, than this new job may be the perfect new opportunity.

"The scariest moment is always just before you start." - Stephen King