Advice the Career Counselors Missed
It started with my roommate. A week into college, some sort of switch flipped and she completely changed. Suddenly, she was unsure about the future she had planned out for herself. One by one, it happened to everyone around me. My friends, classmates, every person I knew went from “I know exactly what I want my future to look like” to “I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.”
I thought I could escape the frenzy feeling of "I have no idea what I'm doing with my life." I was a pretty self aware individual who knew I would study business and head to law school since I was 12. But, sooner or later, the day came where I joined the rest of my class in realizing I wasn’t as sure of what my future held as I originally thought.
Now, not everyone switched from pre-med to business like the rumors had said. Some people stuck with their intended major from Freshman year, but even those friends went through a similar process. Even they questioned their choice amidst the plethora of opportunities available.
During your late high school and early college years you receive a lot of advice as to what to study/pursue. And if your experience is anything like mine, then that advice typically falls into two categories.
- Take classes in something that interests you.
- Take classes in something that will pay well.
Those are two solid pieces of advice. However, after I started working in the “real world” I realized there was a third element that was never talked about… that no one told me to think about... and that is lifestyle.
Yes, I want to do something I love, but I also care about how my time working integrates with the other goals I have in life such as fitness, schedule, relationships, adventure, side projects, hobbies, and culture.
In college, I thought everyone went to work in an office from 9-5 unless you were a night shift nurse. No one had told me otherwise. I want to give a few examples of lifestyles that ARE possible and attainable that maybe you haven’t heard of before.
- Explore culture: Travel through SE Asia for a season of life. Spend your days posting up in cafes for stable Wi-Fi during the day. After you put in your time, go explore the markets, learn a new language, hike waterfalls, and make new friends.
- Support yourself as a missionary: Choose a country that is friendly to the USD currency conversion. Work remotely for 20 hours a week (if you choose a country with a lower cost of living, this is definitely reasonable) and work for a ministry organization during the afternoons.
- Prioritize your family: You want to have a family someday and spend quality time with your kids when they are young. Find a job that lets you work from home or allows for a flexible schedule so you aren’t trapped in an office from 9 to 5.
- Seasonal work: Start your own landscaping, or exterior renovation business. The "on season" for this type of work is from February to November. If you are diligent, you can make enough money to have 2-3 months off during the year! Use that time to travel, visit friends/family, or invest in other hobbies you care about!
- The multi-passionate: You are passionate about a lot of things and don’t want to choose. Some of them might be more “risky” dreams like writing a novel, starting a podcast, or building up a creative platform. Find a job that allows you work 20 hours a week and use the other time to invest in other projects you are passionate about. If you strategically select your “pay the bills” job, it can also enhance your skills and network for your side projects. This is also a safe way to phase into entrepreneurship.
- Free up your time: If your job allows offer to work remote and do the same amount of work in less time, giving you extra hours in your day. Of course, this depends on the company, type of work, and how efficient you can be, but odds are you can get your 8 hour work day done in 6. Check out the book the 4 Hour Work Week for more ideas in this vain.
- Start your own business/social impact project: You’re ambitious and want to chase the dream God put on your heart to build something impactful. When you're the boss, you don't have to answer to anyone but yourself.
Have you considered any of the lifestyles above? Did you know they are possible? And theres a lot more where that came from.
Theres a million moving pieces that make up your life. Your major (or for those of us out of college, your job) is a huge part of your life, but it's also integrated with every other goal you have for yourself. I hope you are looking for something that you are passionate about and that helps you reach your financial goals. But, I hope you are considering the big picture of your life and how your job fits into that.
When considering a career, ask questions about lifestyle. How many hours do they work? How flexible is it? What is the stress level? What is the culture of the company? Can you work remote? Can you work on the other side of the world if you complete your requirements? If you want to opt out of the traditional suburban lifestyle, find others who are doing it and ask them how they got there.
At Global U, we support the crazy-- the lifestyles that the rest of the world thinks are “too good to be true.” No, it's not easy, but if flexibility, freedom, and passion is truly what you want, then it's worth it. What is your dream lifestyle? Comment below!