Linkedin is awash with travel industry professionals returning to work after an extended time on furlough, or, a fresh start after redundancy. From a recruitment perspective it’s fantastic to see those green banners disappearing, from a people perspective, I know there’s much more going on behind the scenes.

For the past 18 months, Caroline and I at Urbanberry Recruitment have been on a journey with many travel industry job seekers. However, at a time when we physically didn’t have jobs to offer them, we could do nothing but listen, advise and empathise with each individuals situation.

An alarmingly recurrent theme through many of our conversations with exceptionally experienced and talented people was (and still is):

“But I don’t know if I still have the skills or confidence to do my job again”

It’s an extremely real fear for many.


People have been evicted from a career they cared about and were good at, disheartened by applying for countless jobs and being rejected, had their confidence bashed and developed anxieties about whether they’d ever be able to re-adjust to the “new normal”.

So, what’s it REALLY like on the other side? How are people coping who have returned to the travel industry after such a long break?

I reached out to REAL travel industry people who were kind enough to share their insight. People who have returned to work but have had all of the same nerves and concerns as many of you reading this will be feeling right now.

  • Will I be able to sustain a full day at work, 5 days a week?
  • I feel sick at the thought of being in the office full time.
  • I can’t remember a THING.
  • I’ve lost all confidence.
  • I don’t know if I’ll cope with all the changes in the industry.
  • What is going to be expected of me now?
  • I’m scared I’m going to miss the life I’ve gotten used to.
  • I don’t know if I’ll ever feel secure again.
  • I still feel hurt.

Sound familiar?

Believe me when I say, we have heard these concerns on a daily basis for the past few months as the reality of furlough ending crept nearer and jobs for those whose roles were made redundant started appearing.

Thankfully, from speaking to those who have now returned, it’s reassuring to hear that despite the worries, the self doubt, the “sunday night nerves”… it’s largely been absolutely brilliant and extremely positive.

  • Yes, it’s busier.
  • There are still fewer people working so it’s all hands on deck.
  • Clients are seemingly more demanding.
  • Procedures are taking longer.
  • Hours can be a bit erratic.


  • The tiredness is rewarding
  • The buzz of the industry is real
  • Excitement outweighs the nerves
  • It’s given people their purpose back
  • New skills are being utilised
  • There is very little that has actually been forgotten (maybe the odd password!!)
  • There’s an understanding of the need for a work/life balance
  • It feels like they’ve never been away….

Jess, who returned to her role as a Marketing Manger has praised the support she’s received from her Manager as she returned from furlough:

I am very fortunate to have a boss that encourages us to be open and honest about what we’re thinking and feeling, and I’ve swallowed my pride on a couple of occasions and fully taken advantage of this; approaching him as a friend and really opening up. It hasn’t always been pretty, but it has always been productive.”

And another lady who had developed a severe worry during furlough that she was actually no good at her job and would be “found out” on her return has said:

“Returning to work has been the best thing for me. I was hesitant, suffering from imposter syndrome and thought I’d be better off just handing in my notice in. But I fought past the fear and although I’m busier than I’ve ever been, I can feel my confidence coming back day by day and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Firstly, there’s a real sense of camaraderie, a shared sense of understanding and a fighting spirit like never before. Secondly, I’ve had reports of companies taking a much more open and communicative leadership style, a focus on mental health and a commitment to sharing growth plans.

I wanted this blog post to reassure you.

Whether you’re still trying to find your feet again if you’re a recent furlough returner, or, you’re embarking on your first round of interviews in the travel industry after redundancy.

I wanted it to show you that you CAN get back to what you love, you WILL enjoy it again and you ARE most certainly good enough.