by Patrick Madsen
Finishing up this stage of your life seems like the easiest thing to do, but many forget to look at what’s involved with the next stage. Life after college can become a real bear if you are not ready for it. Many of you are beginning to feel the pinch of student loans coming soon, to worry about the big move to somewhere new, or even to fret over the lack of a job to transition into. Stress will creep into your mind, this is normal—but there is something you can do to lessen the effects it may have. Prepare yourself as early as possible.
Thinking about the future is always the hardest part because you are never sure what you are leaving out or forgetting. Let’s generally talk about what you are going to need:
- Budget: No longer can you just spend money on whatever you want at the moment. Bills will begin to fall on your lap – not only for those pesky student loans, but also for rent, utilities, and food… you know, all those things mom and dad used to cover! Create a budget so you can figure out how much money you’ll have left over each month after you pay your bills.
- Insurance: Make sure you have health insurance, car insurance, renters/home insurance, and even disability insurance. Extras could include vision, dental, and even maternity insurance. If any of these are not included in your benefits package, then you might want to measure the pros and cons of having it.
- Sharpen the saw: Keep mentally, spiritually, and physically fit. Exercise and proper nutrition, no how busy you are, will assist you in coping with stress and living a healthier life. Remember to use those vacation days! They exist for a reason.
- Office Politics/Culture: Observe your surroundings and find where you fit in. Do not come in like a gangbuster and expect to change the world. Remember there are formal and informal rules throughout each job. Pick your battles… your job is not your life!
- Thinking of the future: At some point you are going to want to retire… or will be forced to. Consider your future when planning your budget or career. Start saving now. Think about IRA plans, mutual funds, stocks, and a comprehensive portfolio to make sure you are comfortable as you age. Remember to plan for extras such as family, car breakdowns, moving expenses, sudden illness, or whatever else life throws our way.
Let me leave you with a few things my father liked to bore into my mind. Remember, this is a man who has been in the work world for more than 35 years — most of those years with the same company. He has had many experiences and passes these experiences on to my siblings and myself. So here they are for you:
10 commandments of my dad
- When you get done with work, be done.
- Be prepared for the working world.
- Understand what it is you want from life and take it.
- Have a life.
- Network, network, network.
- Continue to learn new things so that you never get bored or stuck.
- Respect your boss, don’t kiss ass.
- Don’t be the same as everyone else. Those who are different get seen the most.
- Relax… after all, what’s the worst that can happen?
- Sometimes we have to do things we don’t like… SOMETIMES
Have a lesson you’ve learned from a parent, professor, friend, or your own working world experience? Add it below in the comments section.
Patrick Madsen is the Director of Programs & Education in Career Services at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School. He manages the Programs & Education curriculum to include career advising services, speaker series, brand management training, and other events to help students prepare themselves for the world of work. His background includes a degree in Psychology from North Carolina State University, a masters degree in Counseling from East Carolina University, and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership/Student Affairs from Nova Southeastern University.Google+