You’ve graduated or dropped out. Either way, it’s your first September without the structure of school—No MWF 9-11 class to show up at.
Now you’re supposed to be a grown-up. Now what?!
Are you experiencing The Imposter Syndrome, the feeling you don’t know enough to be a success on the job? It may be reassuring to know that’s very common. That’s because, alas, there’s a big difference between school competence and career competence. This section attempts to help you accelerate your career preparation without having to climb right back into the harness.
After years of school’s rigors, many people crave a break.That’s understandable. You can have your break while also pre-launching your career by doing one or more of these:
Housing. It’s your biggest expense so it’s usually worth the effort to get a deal. Once an apartment is publicly advertised, you’re competing with the whole universe and so if it’s a nice place, you probably won’t get it or will pay top dollar. But some apartments, backyard cottages, house shares, attics, and basement units never get advertised—The owner rents it to a friend or to someone referred by a friend. There even are places the owner wasn’t thinking of renting but if you're referred, may rent to you. So don’t limit your housing search to answering ads. Tell friends and family you’re looking.
Money. You’ve heard it ad nauseam but because so many people try to spend their way to contentment, it should be mentioned here yet again: You pay a big price for living a materialistic lifestyle: Your career choices are restricted and you may well find yourself needing an ever bigger dose of materialism to maintain that shopper’s high. Plus, you derive no pleasure from paying interest. What you feel is pressure. A more likely path to contentment is to earn enough to make a middle-class living, spend modestly and find contentment using Freud’s advice: good work and someone to love. I’d add: a creative outlet or sport. Plus, use a simple low-cost approach to investing. Most young people can afford more risk so two possibilities that many investment pros would nod at are Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund and iShares Core S&P Growth ETF..
Your parents. It’s natural for young adults to want to establish autonomy from their parents but it’s a tough world out there. Usually, parents will be among your strongest and most trustworthy allies. Unless your parents are really problematic, it’s wise to retain or rebuild a significant relationship with one or both of them and/or with your stepparent(s.) Not only may they be your most trusted advisors, they may turn out to be your best career-door opener.
Dr. Nemko’s nine books are available. You can reach career and personal coach Marty Nemko at email@example.com.