While you were busy travelling the world, partying and “finding yourself” during the holidays, your friends were busy interning their little hearts out. You used to think they didn’t know how to enjoy life.
But now that you’ve graduated without a job and the economy is crap, you’re starting to feel left out in the cold.
Fear not, jobless fresh grad. It might take you a bit longer, but once you find a job, you’ll be wishing you had a way out of the rat race…. For now, here are three things you can do during this temporary period of stasis that will make your financial life easier when you do enter the working world for real.
Get a part-time job or work on a side hustle
Now that you’re done with your education, your parents are probably not going to want to continue giving you allowance.
Instead of rotting at home every day and feeling sorry about your lack of an income, find some part-time work or throw yourself into working on a side hustle that you can continue doing when you do find a full-time job.
With a bit of cash, you’ll be less likely to accept a lousy job offer out of desperation.
Even better, if you’re able to save a bit of cash, you can start building up your emergency fund before waiting to start work. Your emergency fund should contain 3 to 6 months’ worth of your typical expenses. Bear in mind that your expenses will probably rise when you get a job, since you are likely to have to commute more and have lunch out, so if you can, start preparing for that ahead of time.
Figure out which high interest savings account to open
Most students already have a savings account to which their ATM card or debit card is linked. But as a working adult, you’ll want to also have a high interest savings account in which you can stash cash savings, just so you can earn a bit more interest than a pathetic 0.05%.
Now is as good a time as any to figure out which high interest savings account you should open. You’ve got a lot more time than you will have when you start working, and you can compare accounts for free right here on MoneySmart.
If you have enough savings to meet the account’s minimum sum, go right ahead and open it. You’ll save yourself from having to carve out time to queue up at the bank when you start working office hours.
When you receive your first paycheck (or when you finally meet the minimum sum for opening the account) you can transfer your cash directly into the account, leaving only the amount you will need to spend in the bank account that is linked to the ATM card you use daily. That’s a good habit that you should learn to cultivate as early as possible.
Figure out what you want out of your career
Now, we don’t deny that it can suck being the last one out of all your friends to get a job. But on the bright side, you get more time to really think about sort of job you really want, and to understand what your various options are really like.
Truth be told, many fresh grads have no clue what working life is really going to be like. Sure, you might have done a few internships, and you might know how your degree relates to the work. But to really live the day-to-day life of an employee is something else. That’s why everyone falls into a quarter life crisis and dreams of quitting their jobs a few years after graduation.
Talk to people who work in the industry you’re eyeing, and really make the effort to read up and ask questions so you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into when you accept a job offer. You might be starting later than your classmates who got jobs right away, but at least you’ll be starting on the right foot.
Are you looking for a job? Share your biggest challenges in the comments.