Many occupations satisfy wanderlust

Careers AXB

October 28, 1991|By Joyce Lain Kennedy | Joyce Lain Kennedy,Sun Features Inc.

Dear Joyce: I am a born traveler and I want to see as much of this country and the world as possible during my lifetime. Besides working for the airlines or signing up with the military, which jobs offer a lot of travel? -- Y.A.

Unlike Thoreau, you think it is worth the effort to go around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar. Me, too.

Start your journey by putting the right foot in front of the other -- and that means first deciding on a some occupations that fit your interests, abilities and vagabond values and only then factoring in the travel dimension.

Rambling occupations have surprising variety, from pro athletes and their support troops to members of Congress, from nuclear plant decontamination technicians to corporate marketing executives, From truck drivers and import-export sales reps to educational consultants and training specialists.

Legal secretaries, government employees, public relations and advertising specialists, models, reporters, personnel recruiters, trade association representatives, fund raisers, business executives, retail buyers and entertainers may rack up plenty of roving time.

In the travel industry itself, now more focused on marketing and air fares than on adventure and mythical kingdoms, you have a myriad of choices, from tour packaging and leading to travel writing and photography. But the vaunted freebie travel benefits of travel agents are drying up. People in the industry who travel do so for business -- and it easily can become too much of a good thing when they begin to look like their passport photos.

The traveling salesperson continues to exist, but high costs on the road have reduced the head count. If you can cope with being away from family and friends, driving long stretches into unfamiliar territory alone, the emotional ups-and-downs of sales quotas met or missed, seemingly endless report writing and eating dinner alone, you may find the exhilaration of changing scenery and material rewards adequate compensation for the lifestyle.

Dear Joyce: My boss has asked me to tell customers that old equipment is new equipment, behavior that is unethical if not outright illegal. How can I handle this? -- J.B.

Being asked to do something illegal is perhaps the trickiest political problem you can face in your career, advises Dr. Neil Yeager in his new book of sound advice, "The Career Doctor." In discussing how to avoid, anticipate and resolve problems that can threaten your career, Yeager says that while violating the law at the request of your employer is an unwise move, what is less clear, once you've decided not to comply, is your next move.

Your employer's intent counts. "If the request is a blatant effort to excel through compromising your integrity, then chances are slim that you can salvage the situation," Yeager says. But if the employer's request is inadvertent or ignorant, you may be able to stall and bring reason to the table at a later time.

Never, Yeager warns, comply with the thought that you'll be protected because your actions were directed by your employer. You'll be an accomplice.

If you have to quit, should you tell prospective employers why? No, because broadcasting the unprovable facts conceivably could lead to courtroom charges of slander if word got back. Simply say you are looking for greater opportunity. The most you should say is that you and your boss hold different business views and you think you can make a greater contribution elsewhere.

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