You Just Graduated: Now What?

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Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

Some unsolicited advice…

This is not a lecture. I am not your father. But I was you once and, in spite of technology and viruses, and…nothing much has changed. There are things I did right and oh so many I screwed up. Both kinds of experience made me who I am and will make you who you will become. But I do have some suggestions that can make a big difference.

Take the first job you can get passionate about

The last thing you should do is hang around the house. Go out and take the first job that you can get that you won’t hate. If you think you’ll love it, so much the better, but don”t assume knowledge of whether you’ll like it or not. You’ll find out. But it will liberate you to have something to do and to make a few bucks. And there will be a lot of unexpected things that come from this. Don’t choose it for the money. Not yet.

Put 10% of anything you make in a place you can’t easily access it

Money is a lubricant. Without it you grind to a halt. That is a fact of life in this world. A significant number of Americans cannot get their hands on $400 quickly in an emergency. You do not want to be that person. The solution is simple. Make an agreement with yourself, an unbreakable one, that 10% of everything you make is put away as though it does not exist. Find an online account like Acorns or Simple and put the money there (you can automate this). Just do it.

This is the most valuable advice in this article. It is the actual road to riches.

Don’t worry about getting rich

Our society is very focused on money and stuff, so wanting money and stuff is second nature. But it is not first nature, for a reason. Don’t worry about striking it rich. You’re young, you’re strong (if you think you are), and you have time. That 10% you are forgetting about will add up and liberate you over time. The things you will value from this time have little to do with money.

Get your own place as soon as possible

You’ve probably had roommates for years at school. And rents are high. But if you are going to spend money, getting your own place is a gamechanger, even if it means sacrifice. Rent a studio in a funky neighborhood. Walk around, buy local, talk to people. You’re independent. Think about that. When you are at home, no one is keeping track of you. You are in charge of your life. Grab it.

Get out of your parent’s house ASAP. They will be happy and you will change as a person.

Don’t party your ass off

Instead of saving 10%, you go out and drop half your paycheck on drinks. The next day you feel like shit. But you’re young and bounce back quickly and do it again. Be careful, this is a loop and you can’t get sucked into it. Don’t be a squirrel on a wheel.

Have fun but don’t be stupid.

Don’t hang with your friends from college or high school

This can be a tough one. But think about this. You have one friend who got out of school and got out of her comfort zone. She left town or met new people or otherwise moved on. You have another friend who stayed near home and hangs out with his buddies.

Who is more interesting?

Take on something uncomfortable

This means different things to different people. Volunteer. Work a job you’d never have considered. Move somewhere, anywhere. Join a theater group. Write something from the heart. The idea is simple. If you do things outside of your comfort zone your life changes. You meet people. You learn stuff from doing, not your screens. You make your boundaries larger and more expansive. You change.

Look further out

This is not ‘what am I going to do when I grow up?’. We grow up and into our lives gradually and inevitably. But living week to week is limiting. Look out a year and imagine yourself there. What does it look like? How do you feel? What kinds of people surround you? Fill in details, be expansive. It’s a dream right? And it costs nothing right now. But these things take on a life of their own.

School was information, life is experience

The really unfortunate thing about education is that it rarely focuses on experience. You learn to learn, a valuable skill. But true skill comes from experience and experience is the most valuable thing you accumulate in life. We all have instant access to information, all information. But reading or watching a video is a fraction of actually doing something. Doing something changes us physically. We feel the visceral things. We have muscle and emotional memory. Our neural net wakes up.

We become humans. Become human. It’s a blast.

Written by

Novelist, Tech Marketing Writer, Growth Consultant. I have been a professional writer for over 20 years- 8 non-fiction books and 1 novel, many articles, etc.

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