Help me recession-proof my future, post-college life.
January 7, 2009 12:49 PM Subscribe
I'm 21 years old, about to graduate college, and the recession is freaking me out. I know there's no right or wrong answer to which course my life should take, but I need help focusing on realistic skills and places to live that I should be considering.
posted by Muffpub to Work & Money (20 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I'm about to graduate from a major Ivy-level university with a degree in English and Political Science. I have no idea what I want to do with my life and will be dealing with ~$35k in debt, so I want to try to spend the next few years living frugally and carefully contemplating what I want to study in grad school before I make the plunge.
The problem is that I feel like all of my ideas of what my post-college life would look like have been soured by the recession. I would love virtually nothing more than to live in Brooklyn and try my hand at policy, academia, or nonprofits/social justice - but as far as the research I've done is concerned, the NYC job/rental markets are so incredibly tight it might as well be a death wish.
Recently I've tried to expand my search to other places, like Chicago, Boston, and DC, but even in these areas I feel like the cost of living stacked up against jobs I would want that actually pay something is daunting.
I've been trying to think about ways to make my predicament easier by
1 - Trying to cast a wider net geographically - looking at cheaper, faster-growing economies such as Austin, TX and parts of North Carolina for more, better-paying jobs and cheaper rents;
2 - Casting a wider net in terms of what jobs I' could apply to - but here I'm a bit clueless;
3 - Looking for skills that I could attempt to teach myself that might give me a competitive advantage. (I have some basic Spanish and HTML/CSS under my belt that could, maybe, give me a head start.)
I know this question is almost impossibly broad, but are these worthwhile strategies?
Is the premise of my fears valid - that life in a major city like New York, which is what I want more than anything, is unfeasible in this economy?
Where can I find a decent, urban-style quality of life - liberal, gay friendly, nightlife, art/music scene, public transit - with a realistic rental and job market? Is it all too much to ask?
Am I being overly pessimistic considering that I *did* go to a good school and made decent grades - or is it prudent to be this cautious?
Other factors to consider: I do *not* want to live with my parents. I'd really like to not stray any farther from the East Coast than North Carolina to to the south, Chicago to the west, or Montreal to the north. Programs abroad such as the Peace Corps, teaching English in Asia, etc interest me, but I worry that the economic crisis will just make life even harder abroad than it is here. Also I have EU citizenship and could theoretically move and work anywhere there, but again, I worry that life will be even harder there.
I'm sorry to ask so many different questions in one, but any guidance from anyone who has graduated from college and felt completely overwhelmed/demoralized by grim economic conditions would be really helpful. Trying to figure out just how bad this recession is/will be is like staring into an abyss, and it makes planning and predicting my future, and how hard things may get, very difficult. Please, feel free to share your stories, perspectives, advice on what you would do in my situation, anything at all.