Rewarding myself for uh getting massively into debt and not finding a job?!
June 16, 2008 12:58 PM   Subscribe

So just how irresponsible and how much of a mistake would it be to take a month long post Bar trip to SE Asia when I am 1) unemployed and 2) massively in debt?

I just graduated from law school and am currently studying for the bar. Everyone else is planning their post bar trips and I really want to be doing the same, but unlike most of my friends I do not have a job lined up. And the chances of me getting one at this point or at any point before I pass the bar are pretty slim. Furthermore, even if I got a job, it almost certainly wouldn't start until September or October. I also don't foresee a lot of interviewing to be going on in August, however I could be wrong on this point (although I've had one interview in 9 months so I'm not too optimistic).

So here is the potential plan, despite a ridiculous amount of school loans, I do have a decent amount of money in savings, that is more than enough for me to go on this trip and live off of for easily 6 months after. I go to SE Asia for 3 or 4 weeks and then come back and try to find a job for the hundredth and something time.

I really want to do this basically because I used to live in SE Asia and I haven't been "home" in over 5 years. I also see this as one of my last chances to take a trip like this. Firms simply don't allow you to take the sort of time off needed to fly this far away, let alone at a time when all of my other friends will be there.

So am I being ridiculously irresponsible by spending this money (and time) to go on this trip when I have no job and really no possibilities of paid employment or is this the kind of thing I'll look back on in 10 years and wish I had done?
posted by whoaali to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total)
If you can afford it, for god's sake do it. There's really no better opportunity-- it's not like you'll have the time once you are working.
posted by dersins at 1:02 PM on June 16, 2008 [3 favorites]

Second dersins, and countless other MetaFliterians. Go for it!
posted by strangelove at 1:07 PM on June 16, 2008

Go for it!

There is no free-er time.
posted by zia at 1:14 PM on June 16, 2008

Yeah, you'll get at most 3 weeks plus assorted personal leave once you land a job with some firm. It will be hard to take a whole week off then due to massive workloads. Go ahead and see the world.

Or, short answer: "Party!"
posted by Burhanistan at 1:16 PM on June 16, 2008

I do have a decent amount of money in savings, that is more than enough for me to go on this trip and live off of for easily 6 months after.

As long as you are comfortable with setting six months as your absolute deadline for finding a job, go ahead and do it. It's always somewhat risky to have debt and no job, but with student loans that's pretty much unavoidable until you get your first job lined up.

If you want to be really responsible, set a goal for you to pay yourself back the money that you spent on the trip. Basically when the paychecks start rolling in from your new job, pay your bills and then set aside a certain amount every month to start building back up your savings. It probably won't take you too long to "earn back" the money you spent on the trip.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:16 PM on June 16, 2008

I think you should do it. Life is short. I've made a promise to myself to travel more since it seems like it's never a good time (money wise).

However, I do suggest that you make every effort to make this trip as economical as possible. I've heard from friends that it's an extremely tough job market out there for lawyers. You probably know as well as (or better) than I.
posted by mintchip at 1:22 PM on June 16, 2008

Hey. I'm studying for the bar, have a job, and am planning a trip to Bangkok (though not for a month) and I really can't afford it because I'm trying to buy a house but I'm going anyway....or planning to.

When you start working, you'll likely not have a month off for anything for many, many years. Go. You have my permission.

Happy studying and good luck on the bar.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 1:22 PM on June 16, 2008

Yeah not even a question. Also remember how cheap you can live over there as well.
posted by sandmanwv at 1:24 PM on June 16, 2008

mintchip: yeah that's my main worry, I am not too hopeful about my job search at this point and am fairly resigned to temping or becoming a paralegal. I don't foresee any big paycheck in my future.
posted by whoaali at 1:26 PM on June 16, 2008

do it now. you will not die wishing you had worked more.
posted by micawber at 1:32 PM on June 16, 2008

Switch all settings to maximum party. Never been a better time than right now.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:33 PM on June 16, 2008

Good luck with your bar! Right now, I am in the same position as you (yay bar study). I have to start work the Monday after the bar, so I will be taking a much shorter vacation to the southwest states beginning the day bar results come out. GO ON THE TRIP - once you start working you probably will not have the opportunity to do something similar for a very long time.
posted by miss meg at 1:34 PM on June 16, 2008

Go. The regret you'll feel if you don't go will be way worse than taking a little bit longer to pay off those loans. These gaps of spare time will be few and far between shortly - take advantage of them now!
posted by meerkatty at 1:51 PM on June 16, 2008

On one hand, as said previously you'll have no free-er time in your life. But you did mention that you don't have a job lined up, or any promise of a job showing up in your near future. And times have never been worse for lawyers in this country, particularly for those that didn't go to one of the top-tier schools or didn't graduate in the top 5% of their class.

I am NOT a lawyer, but I've read a lot of articles in the WSJ, among others, about how difficult times have been for lawyers. Check out that article.

I'm not saying don't travel, but maybe leave a little pillow for you to live on when you come back - or plan to do what a friend of mine is, and move back in with your folks while you job-hunt.
posted by arnicae at 2:50 PM on June 16, 2008

arnicae: yeah I know the chances of me getting a job are low, it's haunted my every waking thought for about 9 months now. I've accepted there is a pretty good chance I'll be a paralegal or a secretary or a waitress/secretary. Trying to debate whether to do this before biting the bullet.
posted by whoaali at 3:10 PM on June 16, 2008

Welcome to the real world. If you can afford it, it's not really irresponsible. But it sounds to me like you should get a job first. Just saying.
posted by Roger Dodger at 5:38 PM on June 16, 2008

But it sounds to me like you should get a job first.

Screw that. For reals. Don't buy into that "Welcome to the real world" crap. You have the rest of your life to get a job. It can wait. What's four fucking weeks compared to 40, 50, 60 years? TAKE THE TRIP.

And if you start to run low on funds when you get back, you can always temp while you look for a "real" job.
posted by dersins at 5:46 PM on June 16, 2008

I saw the lead-in to the question on the front page and thought 'No'. But then I read the rest of the question: you have the money to go (you're not planning the trip on credit cards) and you will have money to live on for a reasonable amount of time when you get back.
Do it!
If you have enough to live on for six months (or five months or whatever) after getting back from the trip, then that's easily enough time to find some kind of job. If you work as a waitress or something while job-hunting then you probably have enough for nine months or more. If you haven't found the job you want by then, you'll probably be prepared to take the job you can get anyway.
posted by jacalata at 7:40 PM on June 16, 2008

Just do it!

Heck, it might even help you get a job - when someone asks what you've been do in the time you've not been working, you can say you've done some traveling which makes you sound a lot more interesting a person a might make you more memorable then all the other people the person interviewing has to keep track of.

If you don't do it you will without doubt look back and regret it. On the other hand, I don't think this is your last chance to do it either, I'm giving up a good job (and career) and a comfy lifestyle in order to go traveling now, effectively resetting my life. So I don't subscribe to the idea only the young and unsettled can go traveling - but it does help!
posted by paulfreeman at 6:55 AM on June 17, 2008

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