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Six Reasons Not to Get a Job After Graduating

Jan 10, 2011 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

Our society expects its citizens to move in lock-step from birth through elementary, middle and high school, then on to college, then immediately into a job or career. Once you have a job, you’re encouraged not to jump around too much—although a lot of people do. Gaps in the resume are anathema. And God forbid you actually deliberately take some time off to discover the world—and your place in it.

Most recent college graduates have student loans, insurance costs, and other financial obligations breathing down their backs. But if it’s an option for you financially, here are a few reasons to consider taking a break this year—instead of jumping into a first job.

Because a job doesn’t necessarily lead to security anyway

Many college students want to get that first job because they want financial security. But in this economy, financial security is a myth—even if you have a job. Your first job out of college may not provide enough to pay off your student loans and move out of your parents’ basement at the same time, let alone providing benefits. In the face of such dim prospects, maybe now is a good time to take some time off.

Businesswoman with a No Sign

Taking a year or even a few months to travel, follow a passion, or volunteer could lead you to exciting new discoveries about yourself-and a career you didn’t even know you wanted.

Because in this economy, you may not get the job—or career—you want

Many recent college graduates get stuck with less-than-ideal jobs that don’t advance their careers—and may even set them back. Which will prepare you for that marketing job you want—spending a year waiting tables? Or volunteering to provide marketing services at a nonprofit overseas?

Because your whole life has been structured—until now

It’s not unusual for recent graduates not to have any idea what they want in terms of a career. We’re expected to graduate with a clear goal, but many of us don’t. You may be someone who needs a little more time to figure things out. Independent travel, volunteering, attempting to start your own business—these are all things that could give you a better clue as to what you want and what you don’t.

Because if you really want to travel, work vacation time won’t be enough for you

Most corporate jobs give you a few weeks off per year—if that. If you really want to see the world, that’s not enough time. Instead of seething at your pitiful vacation time for the rest of your life, consider getting your travel bug out early. Backpack Europe or hitch-hike across Thailand. Do something extraordinary before you settle into a nine-to-five job, and you may be able to deal with the sorry lack of vacation days a little better.

Because you’ll never get another chance

Let’s face it—getting a gap in your resume immediately after college may not be ideal. But right now you have no career to lose. And you probably have no kids, mortgage, or spouse. You have fewer things tying you down right now than you’re likely to have later on in life. Now might not be the best time to take a break before employment—but there likely won’t be a better time.

Because that time off could lead to a career you love

Following your passions—rather than the first low-paying job that comes along—after graduation can lead you toward the career you want. Once you get back, you may have a stronger idea of what career you want to pursue—and your decision may surprise you.

Job prospects out of college aren’t great for new graduates. And not all of us are lucky enough to be able to take time off before finding a first job. But if you have the ability, it’s something you should consider—especially if you’re not completely sure about the career path you’re currently on. Taking a year or even a few months to travel, follow a passion, or volunteer could lead you to exciting new discoveries about yourself and the world around you—and a career you didn’t even know you wanted.

American college grads can't buy a job -


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