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Recent Grad Help! What to do next.
April 8, 2011 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Recent graduate: What is going on with me!? Advice, suggestions, feedback welcome!

I have graduated in the past year from college and took a job after completing an internship. I'm not 100% crazy about my job, but I know if I choose to continue to work there I'll gain the experience most organizations are looking for or even just gaining experience in case my internship has open positions in the future.

Here's where things start to get confusing..

I apply to jobs every now and then, because my job I have now is part-time and forces me to work another job on the side. I balance it pretty well and have enough finances to cover my loans and rent, etc.

Every job interview I get something really strange happens as a result.. for instance.. for instance having a second interview cancelled the day before after seemingly being a really good fit with the org and meshing well with the interviewers..

I'm thinking maybe subconsciously I am really yearning to travel and thus having my part-time job allows me to have probable reason to leave after working there 8-9 months and not receiving benefits.

How can I make travel work.. I'm interested in teaching english abroad, but with recent events happening in Japan.. it makes me a bit worried about countries in that area.. but I would willing to consider Taiwan or parts of southern China. I would love an experience in South America, but those areas usually do not pay well or at all and considered more of a volunteer experience. Each month I would only need to make around $250 USD to cover loans.. any suggestions on where I should look? Or should I stick with my job and just continue the pursuit for full-time positions and use vacation time to travel.. I feel like right now I have opportunity to leave and travel.. but at all its worth for one year for travel is it worth?

Another item to take into consideration is.. while I like the city I'm living in I've always seen myself out West.. but kinda afraid to make the change which would leave a city I know well with lots of friends and being close to family.

Sometimes I think I just need to make a leap of faith and do it.. who knows it might all turn out to be very positive.

Just need some advice.. feedback.. suggestions as to what might be the best way to approach this.
posted by melizabeth to Human Relations (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
You and about one million other recent grads are asking themselves these questions, and it can be incredibly overwhelming! My advice is to go for it, do it now before you have kids and a mortgage to worry about.

I moved across the country when I was 28, to a city where I didn't know anyone and didn't have a job lined up. It was a TOTAL leap of faith, and yeah, I had to ask the Bank of Mom for rent money a couple of times. It took over two years for me to feel settled, and there are no guarantees - have a back up plan. If moving out West is a failure, what will you do? If you get to China and HATE it, what will you do?

Work to live, don't live to work, okay? I'm only 10 years older than you (ostensibly) and I spent waaaay too long living in a city that I didn't want to be in. The economy is shit, looking for jobs is really scary - but it sounds like you know that you want your life to be different from the way it is currently.

If you have a safety net, taking risks is easy, you just have to COMMIT. If you're going to end up on the streets with your loans in default, I'd say wait awhile and spend more time planning.

There's nothing wrong with taking short trips to satisfy your wanderlust, either! But I have found that LOTS of us are approaching work + life balance differently than our parents did. Having a small gap on your resume because you hiked the Inca Trail in Peru will hopefully not count against you in future interviews :)
posted by polly_dactyl at 8:51 AM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


In your position, you might find it very worthwhile to read The Art of Non-Conformity. ... Or it might distract you from something everyone should do, which is buckle down and work a full time job for a good while, so that the experience might potentially serve as great motivation to do something more enjoyable.

But The Art of Non-Conformity is pretty good for getting the gumption to do something besides dronework.
posted by griselda at 9:29 AM on April 8, 2011


Is your college affiliated with the Luce program? I did this and it was fantastic - memail me if you want more details.

A year is long and life is short. Find a way to travel. Home - and so-so jobs - will be there when you want to return to it.
posted by sestaaak at 11:11 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm interested in teaching english abroad, but with recent events happening in Japan.. it makes me a bit worried about countries in that area.. but I would willing to consider Taiwan or parts of southern China.

The recent earthquake in Japan probably killed about 25,000 people. Four of the six deadliest earthquakes since 1900 have been in China. An earthquake in Taiwan in 1999 killed more than half as many people per head of population as the 11th March quake.

If, by 'countries in that area' you mean Korea, you should know that it hasn't had an earthquake stronger than a magnitude 6.0 since 779. Your profile says you're in Massachusetts, which had a 6.0 in 1755.

I would love an experience in South America, but those areas usually do not pay well or at all and considered more of a volunteer experience. Each month I would only need to make around $250 USD to cover loans.. any suggestions on where I should look?

Korea is one of the few places that will allow unqualified, inexperienced English teachers to earn a reasonable salary. However, unqualified, inexperienced teachers often end up in miserable jobs and I wouldn't recommend you take a job there unless you're prepared, financially and ethically, to break your contract and leave if you get treated badly.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:18 PM on April 8, 2011


I am currently working in Colombia and I make more than USD $250 a month, and had very limited experience when I started. Native speakers are in high demand here.

MeMail me for details and I'll be happy to provide info!
posted by queens86 at 12:43 PM on April 9, 2011


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