When I graduated from college there was no question I had to get a job–or move home, which wasn’t going to happen after four years of “freedom.” So, I moved to Indianapolis with high hopes, but no job. A couple of nerve-wracking months later I landed a job and haven’t had a major work lapse in the past 40 years.
Recently, I’ve been encouraging new graduates and people “between jobs” to consider taking some significant time off to see the world, work on the book they’ve always wanted to write, volunteer or master yoga. Jilly Stephens, executive director of City Harvest, a wonderful nonprofit that distributes food to community organizations in New York, expresses the same point of view in today’s Corner Office column in The New York Times.
Jilly encourages new college graduates to take a gap year, stating: “It’s invaluable to get out there and experience the world, because you’ve got a lifetime of work ahead of you. I just think to draw on that year of spending time outside of your immediate world is a good thing to do.”
Supporting the “gap year” isn’t always easy, but this is the time of your life when it takes a lot less money for such an adventure. Part-time jobs are easy to find, and living expenses are minimal. Do it before you spend 40 years building 5-star expectations.