Consider travel when applying for a non-clinical medical job

Travel is frequently required for non-clinical jobs.

The big question is: how much travel? When a job description indicates 30% travel, do you know what that really means? What if you had to travel 30% each week? 30% each month? If there are 5 working days each week and 4 weeks each month, then there are approximately 20 working days each month. Are you willing to be gone 6 days each month?

The math isn’t always this perfect or clean, but it’s important to think about the travel requirements that are associated with each type of job. There are some jobs that require over 50% travel. Others may indicate only 5 to 10% travel and you may find yourself traveling to 1 or 2 national conferences each year.

I don’t particularly enjoy traveling because I find that it wears me out. It may be fun to be in a new city, to eat out, and to meet new people and expand my network. But, by the time I get home, I’m frequently tired and I’m often overwhelmed because I need to catch up on a ton of missed work. Deadlines don’t change. You don’t automatically receive deadline extensions just because you’re traveling. In many cases, you’re working at night in your hotel room so that you can keep up with certain deliverable deadlines.

If your priority is to spend more time with your family, then don’t pursue a job that will require a considerable amount of travel. People frequently burn out if they’re traveling too much. On the other hand, if you’re willing to sacrifice a year and work a job that may require a significant amount of travel, you may gain some valuable skills such as field experience, networking, exposure, etc.

I enjoy spending time at home, so I’m really thankful that my daily job doesn’t require me to travel very much. How about you?

Joseph Kim is a physician-executive who blogs at Non-Clinical Medical Jobs, Careers, and Opportunities.

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