One of the popular misconceptions about working vacations is that they are exclusively for academics–only possible during the months of June, July, and August and only to schools and colleges around the world. At book signings and call-in shows I often get snide comments saying, in effect, “Excuse me, but I don’t teach so I don’t have the opportunity to live and work in exotic locations like you do.” And no matter how much I try to convince them otherwise, they stubbornly cling to this mistaken notion. Now, thanks to Mr. David Rowell, creator of the blog Travel Insider and a recent reviewer of my book, I have additional evidence to show that this view is utterly incorrect.
In his review David referred to the Web site of the International Executive Service Corps, abbreviated IESC, a non-profit organization founded in 1964 with a focus on helping developing nations grow their business and financial infrastructure. Their “executive service corps” model was inspired by the success of the Peace Corps, and they utilize volunteers as well as paid consultants in fields such as banking, financial services, accounting, technology management, international trade, hotel and tourism management, real estate, capital formation, natural resources, patent law, and government regulations. Their employees currently serve in 130 countries around the globe.
Paid consulting projects vary in length from one week to several months, exactly the length of working vacations I have been espousing in this blog, and more than enough time for a superb cultural experience. If selected as a consultant you receive air fare, housing, and a per diem allowance sufficient to cover most or all your travel expenses. In addition, if the appointment lasts for more than 28 days, IESC includes airfare for a spouse. Essentially, IESC allows you to travel the globe, contribute to the development of an emerging economy, and have an amazing cultural adventure all (as I have said many times before) on the other guy’s dime.
This site expands the opportunities for working vacations to include industrial, business, and financial professionals in a wide range of specializations. If I had more time, I would also include a lengthy description of Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization that hires professionals in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, sanitation, hospital administration, epidemiology, and public health for short-term postings in 60 countries around the world.
So, please don’t fall back on the tired old argument that a one or two month working vacation is the sole purview of high school and college teachers. Trust me when I say there is no shortage of opportunities, regardless of your specialization, only a shortage of the motivation needed to search for them and, when found, to enthusiastically go after them.