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Worktravelers’ Troubles (1): What makes you vulnerable

Thursday, July 22, 2010 by

Exchange student's staff party - SWT USA

Roadside restaurant

In short, money. Regardless if you work in a resort in America, or if you are picking apples in New Zealand, you are worktraveling primarily to make your trips pay for themselves. Many of you probably had to borrow money to pay for the program, so if you don’t make enough, you end up in a hole financially. That’s scary and it puts a lot of pressure on you, we all have been through it.

Why you don’t just quit
When you have a part-time job at home and you don’t like it, what do you do? Why, you quit and look for something else! Maybe from next week, maybe from the next month. So why being unhappy with a job is such a big deal when worktraveling around the world? There are three reasons: accommodation, transportation and time.

1. Accommodation
Back at home, you live in a place that has nothing in common with your job. If you quit a job, you still have a place to stay. But worktravelers often stay in a place arranged by the employer. So quitting a job also means not having a place to stay. Of course, you can always go to a hotel/hostel, but that’s terribly expensive compared to the money you are making as a worktraveler. This makes it hard to leave a job you are unhappy with.

2. Transportation
Worktravelers usually do not buy cars as soon as they arrive in a new country. You don’t have the money, and you don’t even know how to do it. If you work in a relatively remote resort or farm area, which is common, it can be difficult for you to move to a new place. Somebody needs to take you to the nearest bus station, and after you arrive in your destination, you often need somebody to pick you up. That makes changing jobs difficult too.

4. Time
The trip is short and the pay is low, so you simply can’t afford to spend a week or two looking for a new job. You have to work as much as possible to pay for the trip in such a short time that you can still spend two or three weeks at the end traveling around the country. Oh and maybe bring back enough money to pay for your next adventure. But you feel uncertain about how long it might take before you would start making money again if you would move, so you often just bite it and stay in your existing job.

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