You’ve just graduated. Your university days are behind you. You’ve been launched into the world that lies beyond your degree. It hits you, what next? Everyone’s asking you, you’re asking yourself the same thing; what do I do now?
You’re in a state of constant turmoil. You may have this burning desire to see the world, to explore, to adventure, to travel. However, there’s also a restlessness to start your career, to dive head first into the world of work and show people everything you have to offer. And everyone around you is panicking.
Part of you wants to take a year out to travel the world, part of you wants to jump straight on the career ladder. You feel like you have to choose between experiencing the world and building your career path. You don’t.
Why take a year out
When I tell people that I intend on taking a year out once I graduate I get a mix of responses, however, across the board I feel I’m met with misunderstanding. I feel that people believe I’m taking time out in order to run away from my responsibilities, to run from having to find a ‘proper’ job, to run from the ‘real’ world and my future.
People seem to think that I’m not career-minded when I tell them I want time to travel and experience the world. They could not be more wrong. For me, a gap year after university is solely about preparing myself for my future career. And making sure I don’t mess it up.
Get a better understanding of the job market
Upon graduating, most recent graduates have a woeful understanding of the job market. We simply don’t have the time to really explore/investigate what’s out there, apply and secure job offers while we’re still studying and earning.
The main employers that are visible at university are just the same four or five corporations offering their usual graduate tracks. And in a world of startups and bosses increasingly abolishing job titles, this isn’t really the way the world is going.
Hang out with people who’re different to you
As people beginning our careers we need to mix more with people who’re more established in their careers. Generally we don’t do that. We just hang out with people who’re the same age as us and subject to similar pressures as us.
Learn a skill that’s in demand
It doesn’t have to be this way. Last year, I took part in a UX internship with Start Me Up, a company that specializes in remote startup internships and in-demand skills in Bali. This exposed me to the world of remote work and new sectors I wasn’t familiar with. A typical entry level candidate in UX, can earn as much as $80,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. But before Start Me Up I’d never heard of UX.
Try remote working
I’d argue that remote internships like this are a good option for graduates. They can allow you to get work for a company anywhere in the world while traveling and furthering yourself career-wise.
It doesn’t have to be a choice of your career or travelling, you simply need to find out how to do both. Interning abroad puts everything into overdrive. Combining everything you would learn on a normal internship with the personal growth that occurs simply by travelling. The learning experience of an internship abroad is double that of merely traveling or just an internship.
I’m in no rush to jump into a career path and have regrets in five years time that I didn’t take enough time exploring my options, when I’m 50 years old, that one extra year I took will be inconsequential.
Now more than ever, knowing that the career path you’re embarking down is the right one is essential. The Institute of Student employers recently stated that 67.4% of students feel it will be hard to find a job in 2019. It’s especially hard when you can’t answer the question: “Why do you want this job?”
Furthermore, over half of UK workers are unhappy in their current job, according to CV Library.
These figures don’t exactly fill me with excitement for launching my career.
Remote work offers us an amazing opportunity to discover career options that we can’t yet conceive of while seeing the world. You can learn to code a website while sitting in a co-working space by the beach in Bali. I’ve seen people intern remotely for Dutch, Australian, British and North American startups while being based SouthEast Asia. Some have even got hired after their internships and now have a remote job with a startup that allows them to travel.
Taking a year out post university could be the most beneficial decision of your life.