January 6, 2011, 6:00 am

Ways to Avoid a Real Job After College and Why?

by: MD    Category: Other Financial Articles
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Life After College

Everyone tells you that you need to find a real job after college. It just seems like the natural progression of life. Finish high school, go to college, graduate, get a job, start a family, repeat. Nothing wrong with this. I just don’t think it’s for everyone. This is a post for college graduates that are not exactly ready to jump into the workforce and want some ideas. A few ideas to consider after college before you get a  real job:

  1. Start your own business. There are many low cost business opportunities available in this internet era. This can give you a chance to work on your own projects, possibly turn a profit, and to network a little. If all fails, you can attempt to enter the workforce after a few years.
  2. Travel a little. Long term travel/vagabonding has become a common idea for college graduates. You can see the world a little and broaden your horizons before you jump into working life.
  3. Take time off. Some college graduates want to simply take a sabbatical. This can really beneficial. Your energy levels can be restored, you can figure out what you want to do with life, and you can once again network with your peers and those in the field. Unfortunately this can also be really dangerous as you might lose focus or never truly enter the field.

All three options come with their pros & cons and vary from person to person. Check out the three most popular options for life after college for more details.

Now it’s time to shift gears a little. What if you want to pursue one of these three options? How can you make any of these options possible?

Support network.

You need support from your friends and family. If your friends are constantly judging you and your parents are breathing down your neck to get a real job, you’re going to struggle. A strong support network is needed if you want the flexibility that you desire so much after college. With negative influences around you, you might be forced to take a path that you’re not too fond of. Do you really want this to happen?

Savings/minimal debt.

Having money saved up will make this easier. Perhaps you might have to work at some point or pursue a part-time job. If you finish college with massive amounts of student loan debt and credit card, you might have to hustle a little to earn your freedom. Once you do earn your freedom you can try out one of the 3 options mentioned earlier.

Part-time job.

This ties in from the previous point. You might have to hold a part-time job. Nobody ever said that this would be easy. An evening/weekend job will allow you earn in some extra money so that you have a financial buffer. And yes this also applies to those that plan to travel long term. You might have to find work serving drinks or as an ESL teacher to fund your travels.

Time to get a little more personal. A few reasons why I plan on not working a real job in 2011 are:

Debt free.

I was lucky (or stupid) enough to work long hours in college and still manage to do well. This has created a little buffer for me where I’m not forced to work to pay off massive amounts of debt. I see this as a unique chance to take some risks with the greatest commodity (time) and money.

Work on cool projects.

It’s difficult to work on cool projects and tasks that you’re passionate about with a real job holding you up 40 hours a week. I want to use this time to work on projects and things that I’ve been putting off for the longest time (both personal and business).

Once in a life time opportunity.

There will never be a time in life where life can be so care free. Without the responsibilities that come with a family and having to support others, this is a unique time in life. I feel that all college graduates should take this time attempt to attempt something extraordinary. I really don’t want to grow up with regrets.

Granted there are people out there like the Financial Samurai that came out of college with a job offer that they started with right away. These days it feels like most of us are being offered jobs that don’t excite us or don’t allow room for growth. If you’re one of these people then a traditional job may not be your best option right after college. Down the line you could either hit it off as an entrepreneur or you could find out that a steady paycheck is more important to you. Either way I hope this post is helpful for anyone that wants to try something different after college.

(photo credit: jmd41280)

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I wish I would have been able to travel but then again there’s still time! Starting a business is definitely the way to go. Experience is everything.

I went straight from full time school to full time work — never took a break. In fact, I left my graduation ceremony and went to work — in retrospect, I would have taken a couple weeks to travel!

I was fortunate enough after college to get a job overseas that required a lot of travel. And being single (but not so young, let’s say young-er) helped. But you’re right, seize the opportunity, it may never come again.

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