It all started about two weeks ago when, on the second anniversary of our departure from Switzerland to travel the world with my wife and two small children, I decided to post an image of me and my 1.5 year-old daughter standing on a beautiful beach in Perth, Australia, together with a short message encouraging others to follow suit.
Then, less than 24 hours later, I realized the simple post had gone viral. Hundreds of likes, and thousands of views kept pouring in. In 48 hours, over 20,000 people had read the post.
Having relocated across the world 3 times (from Spain to Canada, then Switzerland, then traveling around the world to finally come back to Canada), posting on social media about our travels, new jobs, etc is nothing new to our friends and family. Even some close friends gave up trying to keep up with my phone number changes. Only email is reliable these days! So it came as a big surprise when such simple post went viral…
Here’s the post in question:
Some Incredible Stats
Here are some interesting stats about about 2 weeks later:
- 24,500+ views
- 245 likes
- 18 comments
Slicing down the stats it’s where it gets even more interesting:
- 500+ views from CEOs/Executive Directors (!!!!)
- 2,000+ views from Recruiters (expected)
- 1,000+ views from Sales roles
- 350+ views from EY employees (curious fact)
- 290+ views from Eaton employees (makes sense, having worked there for 8+ years)
- Top 3 locations where viewers came from: NY area (interesting), Geneva area (used to live/work there), and Vancouver, Canada, area (currently live/work here)
My first thought was, there is A LOT of people thinking about doing something like this. At the end of the day, this is simply a ‘social media’ reflection of the hundreds of comments I received face to face since my wife and I announced we were planning on doing this (to be fair, we also received a few of those … you’re crazy, comments).
Second, having over 500 CEOs, or Executive Directors view the post made me think that senior roles appreciate bold moves. A few of these contacted me privately with warm words. Leaders understand that only bold actions move the needle, specially on business. So it just makes sense that many of them were attracted to read a post about breaking loose, taking big risks, and coming out successfully.
The previous point was only validated by having over 2,000 views from recruiters. Many of them contacted me. To me, that translate that doing something like this, bold, is highly appreciated by the corporate world. Actually, the opposite from what many think prior to taking a step like that.
Fourth, the need to take time, travel and enjoy quality time with your loved ones is universal. Views came from all over the world, but interestingly they consolidated heavily in large urban areas (no surprise), where people dedicate most of their time to work. Regions of the world like London, NY, LA, Seattle, Sydney, Shanghai, Frankfurt, etc were where most people came from.
Lastly, there seems to be companies where there is a tendency to have a large group of people interested of taking off just like we did. EY was the #1 example, but there were others (IDG, etc). Leaders of such organizations have a tremendous opportunity to leverage this unofficially expressed need and find ways to boost their bottom line supporting these employees (think of extended benefits, extended leave option and the like).
Some humble advice to all those viewers
To those dreaming about traveling the world, spending quality time with loved ones… plan, be brave and go DO IT. It’s hard, expensive, scary, but incredibly rewarding, and unforgettable experience for all of you. Don’t worry much about coming back to the workforce after an extended leave. Companies value it! I had numerous cases where a standard interview call/coffee turned up into a fully engaged and meaningful conversation once the travel-around-the-world topic came up. HR, Leaders, they do appreciate it and value it.
To those Leaders, CEOs and the like; uncap this opportunity within your organizations. Differentiate yourselves from others by offering flex time, extended leaves, relocation across the world (different from the expat experience). Lots of people want to do something like this, then offer ways to allow this need to be capitalized. This will result in more productive and loyal employees (think of 5-or-10 year long-term employee reward). You’re organization will make the news!
To all those on the recruitment business. Thank you for your interest, but to be honest I don’t think leaving your safety net for less than a year account to much, when you compare it to the bravery of entrepreneurs. These are the real heroes, brave people that risk it all in pursuit of a dream. But hey, reach out anyways. Will love to have a chat with you!