How Can I Smooth My Transition from College Graduation to the Real World?

The Emerald Archer

Tool-Bearing Hominid
Tool-Bearing Hominid
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Most people end up going to university and getting a job right after college. I myself am getting ready to graduate college this May with a degree in Civil Engineering, after a long 7 years in undergrad and have been battling with which various paths to head down in life post-graduation. I will have a decent chunk of student loans to pay back which may limit some options since paying those off will become a huge priority.

For the longest time I told myself I was going to start a business and/or freelance because I didn't want a traditional job, as I am the type of person who likes to go against the norm, and I had a terrible experience with my back-to-back co-ops where I was in the corporate world for ~7 months. However, at this point it seems like my best, rational move is to get a job after college due to the student loans and because I desperately want to move out of my parents' house and even out of my city. Plus, I feel like I didn't give the corporate world a fair shot and wouldn't mind working full-time if it was something that was a little more flexible than a traditional 9-5, and that allowed me to continue to develop my social skills (like sales for instance). Starting a business or even building up a skill to freelance (copywriting would be my choice) will probably take a decent amount of time to build up and may not be feasible for a guy in my position, but who knows? Maybe I'm being way too biased and short-sighted.

I would say my main values in life at the moment are: freedom and independence via. moving out of my parents' house and from my small(er) city to a big city, especially downtown area, and to continue developing my social/seduction skills while keeping the ultimate career aim of owning a business in my sights.

What sort of recommendations do you guys have for a young person just getting ready to graduate college? Get a corporate job? Travel? Build up a monetizable skill and freelance and/or start a small business?
 

Fuck This

Cro-Magnon Man
Cro-Magnon Man
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That First job out of college is your springboard to the next BETTER opportunity.

Do you have a Cash Flow Budget for what being moved out of your parent's will cost?

List of debts, Monthly payments, etc.?

Pro tip.

Get the first job that will look good on a resume. Or at least appropriate for a new Grad. Network like you were doing a Newbie challenge on cold approaches. Get to know all the people in your field. Use Linked In, Facebook, whatever. Don't be a gamey bastard, but social and likeable , all the same things GC teaches.

While you live with your folks, save up a month's worth of expenses for an emergency fund. Then save up for a Housing deposit, and monthly rent or mortgage payment.

See a mortgage banker once you have a 9-5 and find out what you qualify for once you have 3-6 months of steady employment Find out about credit, and educate yourself about how the process works.

Research what rooms rent for and see if you can get enough room rental income to cover your mortgage payment.

Look for a house that has a bedroom and bathroom setup that you would be comfortable renting out rooms in.

Recruit roommates within your industry that you know make good money.

Get the house, get the roommates to cover your Mortgage payment , (they don't need to know) and use half the extra cash flow to pay off your debt. Smallest amount first then snowball it into the next smallest, etc.
 

The Emerald Archer

Tool-Bearing Hominid
Tool-Bearing Hominid
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
115
That First job out of college is your springboard to the next BETTER opportunity.

Do you have a Cash Flow Budget for what being moved out of your parent's will cost?

List of debts, Monthly payments, etc.?
Yeah those are my thoughts exactly. It seems wise to get a job right out of college based on how it will carry me down the road in the future. Unfortunately, I'm currently unemployed and don't see much of a point in getting a part time right now job with ~2 months to go until graduation where I will be able to have numerous opportunities when I grab my degree, that I won't have right now. I see my time better spent investing in learning the process of how to hunt down jobs, research opportunities, network, how to ace interviews, and possibly getting a head start on learning some universal career skills like Microsoft Office, writing professional emails, etc.

I'm not sure how much my monthly payments for my student loans will be, the interest won't kick in until 6 months post-grad (so November for me), but I wanted to get a huge head start on paying them off and accumulating that snowball effect like you said. Other than that, my budget is pretty lean. Gas, monthly subscriptions (Microsoft Office, Chegg for school, Spotify/Hulu but at student discount price of 4.99/month), and some groceries and socializing here and there.

My biggest expenses will be my student loans and rent since I want an apartment, not a house yet. I'm trying to delay buying a car and milking mine right now so that I can funnel my money into rent, savings, and student loans plus the other basic expenses like haircuts, groceries, gas, and some socializing.

Pro tip.

Get the first job that will look good on a resume. Or at least appropriate for a new Grad. Network like you were doing a Newbie challenge on cold approaches. Get to know all the people in your field. Use Linkedin, Facebook, whatever. Don't be a gamey bastard, but social and likeable , all the same things GC teaches.
I've started using LinkedIn and gotten a few good contacts, one of which I met at a career fair and is an alumni of my fraternity, which got me a bunch of brownie points as he added me on Facebook, LinkedIn and has expressed willingness to stay in touch and meet up for opportunities and knowledge in the civil engineering industry. I am going to take more advantage of my university's career services center and pursue some leads/options through that, as well as doing mock interviews, getting resume/cover letter feedback, etc.

While you live with your folks, save up a month's worth of expenses for an emergency fund. Then save up for a Housing deposit, and monthly rent or mortgage payment.

See a mortgage banker once you have a 9-5 and find out what you qualify for once you have 3-6 months of steady employment Find out about credit, and educate yourself about how the process works.

Research what rooms rent for and see if you can get enough room rental income to cover your mortgage payment.

Look for a house that has a bedroom and bathroom setup that you would be comfortable renting out rooms in.

Recruit roommates within your industry that you know make good money.

Get the house, get the roommates to cover your Mortgage payment , (they don't need to know) and use half the extra cash flow to pay off your debt. Smallest amount first then snowball it into the next smallest, etc.
I assume you mean save up after I get a job out of college right? Like I said I'm currently unemployed and focusing my efforts on graduating, studying for the fundamentals of engineering exam (still on the fence as to whether I should seriously study and prepare for since I'm largely uncertain I want to get into the engineering industry), and job hunting.

If I go down the corporate route, my goal would be to relocate to a big city. The main one I'm looking at is Cleveland just because I love it and it's not too far away from home, while still providing me with the big city exposure and reference points. I'm more interested in renting an apartment in the big city as opposed to buying a house simply because I'm currently in the suburbs with my folks and don't have a desire to live in the burbs, unless it's living with my folks to save up money for a certain period of time.

You have some good ideas for sure on the roommates and learning about credit. That's definitely something I haven't invested too much time and energy in yet, although I did get a credit card back in the fall and have been slowly building up credit and have been responsible with it.

I guess my main issue is on whether or not I should pursue a traditional path right out of college or do something different/cool like travel or attempt my hand at freelancing and stuff like that. I'm getting the impression that you're leaning more towards traditional path? I will admit that I don't think that route is as bad as people are making it out to be, idk why people associate people like that with being conformists and followers. Sometimes it is the rational move, despite all the hype and rage with entrepreneurship and freelancing. Don't get me wrong, my goal is to eventually end up an entrepreneur/freelancer but I was inquiring the advice of members on this board to see just how feasible those routes would be after knowing my current situation.

Thanks for the feedback Fuck This, I genuinely appreciate the insights and you've helped to shed some valuable light and insight on the matter. Do you have any advice on getting into an industry not related to your degree? For example, I just had an interview with a construction management/consulting firm and liked how it's not design-related, but not sure if construction is my thing. My main avenue I'm looking at right now is getting into technical sales, which is kind of related to engineering due to the technical background, but also not stereotypical engineering.
 

Fuck This

Cro-Magnon Man
Cro-Magnon Man
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As for entrepreneurial stuff, build your network on your employers dime, attending conferences and continuing education opportunities. Use your paid vacation for travelling so you can create future contacts in far flung exotic places you might want to use as a home base.

As an engineer you need to build up a body of work to show you know your stuff. I designed THIS , I lead a team of THESE PEOPLE, I hold patents on THIS.

In my part of the world, an 75% loan to value mortgage on a 30 year amortization and OK credit monthly payment is $300 per month less than the rent for the comparable home. I paid below market rent for 5 years to save up a down payment. But the 15 years before that the money I paid in rent is gone, and I have nothing to show for it. That is roughly $75,000 that could be equity in a house, which would have reduced my interest rate by.25 %

I learned a lot in 20 years, and I have a profound feeling that had I been as frugal then as I am now I would be raking in rent from properties I could have acquired.
 

The Emerald Archer

Tool-Bearing Hominid
Tool-Bearing Hominid
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Messages
115
As for entrepreneurial stuff, build your network on your employers dime, attending conferences and continuing education opportunities. Use your paid vacation for travelling so you can create future contacts in far flung exotic places you might want to use as a home base.

As an engineer you need to build up a body of work to show you know your stuff. I designed THIS , I lead a team of THESE PEOPLE, I hold patents on THIS.
Solid perspective man, sounds like it's really worth it to take time to build up a network by working a job first and then using your free time and employer's dime to upgrade yourself before plunging into entrepreneurship. I'll keep that in mind.

I get what you're saying about being an engineer and having a body of work and having real results to show for your efforts, however my purpose with this post was that I'm starting to have second thoughts about the engineering industry and am currently looking to get involved in technical sales or some other industry other than engineering and wanted some info or advice on how to do so. Do you have any advice on how to go about getting a job that's not directly related to your major/field of study? The main reason I went for an engineering degree is because of the practicality and that I knew it could open up some hefty opportunities possibly more so than had I picked another major.

In my part of the world, an 75% loan to value mortgage on a 30 year amortization and OK credit monthly payment is $300 per month less than the rent for the comparable home. I paid below market rent for 5 years to save up a down payment. But the 15 years before that the money I paid in rent is gone, and I have nothing to show for it. That is roughly $75,000 that could be equity in a house, which would have reduced my interest rate by.25 %

I learned a lot in 20 years, and I have a profound feeling that had I been as frugal then as I am now I would be raking in rent from properties I could have acquired.
I get what you're saying man, I don't know nearly enough about real estate to be able to respond appropriately but it seems the gist is that paying rent means that money is gone forever, while investing that money into a piece of property can yield better long-term returns if I'm not mistaken. What piece of property did you invest in, house? Condo?
 

Fuck This

Cro-Magnon Man
Cro-Magnon Man
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The Emerald Archer said:
I get what you're saying man, I don't know nearly enough about real estate to be able to respond appropriately but it seems the gist is that paying rent means that money is gone forever, while investing that money into a piece of property can yield better long-term returns if I'm not mistaken. What piece of property did you invest in, house? Condo?
In our area, the market is rising for single family homes. Do your research on rents and find out what you need to save for a down payment. Anytime you can pay for something you will own free and clear, rather than pay someone else' s mortgage, do it.

Understand, once you get your first job, the degree you have from college is just a Yes/No check box when being sorted for position application. Your immediate previous job says the most about whether you will be a good fit in a new position. If you can get in with the right big firm right out of school, many other companies poach their trained people . Nothing says you can't do some freelance stuff on your own time while working a 9-5. I burned my candle at both ends for 7 years running an operation of my own that brought in an extra couple of grand per month, and allowed me to write off business and travel expenses and offset my salary income with a net loss. It wasn't sustainable but gave me some credibility with clients now.
 

The Emerald Archer

Tool-Bearing Hominid
Tool-Bearing Hominid
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In our area, the market is rising for single family homes. Do your research on rents and find out what you need to save for a down payment. Anytime you can pay for something you will own free and clear, rather than pay someone else' s mortgage, do it.
Will do, thanks for the heads up.

Understand, once you get your first job, the degree you have from college is just a Yes/No check box when being sorted for position application. Your immediate previous job says the most about whether you will be a good fit in a new position. If you can get in with the right big firm right out of school, many other companies poach their trained people . Nothing says you can't do some freelance stuff on your own time while working a 9-5. I burned my candle at both ends for 7 years running an operation of my own that brought in an extra couple of grand per month, and allowed me to write off business and travel expenses and offset my salary income with a net loss. It wasn't sustainable but gave me some credibility with clients now.
Can you expand a bit more on the degree and the role it plays in determining what kind of job you can get? This is exactly the kind of stuff I had in mind when I started this thread. The hidden nuggets like this that an upcoming graduate wouldn't have a lot of insight into since they haven't had that experience yet. Do you have any tips on finding jobs as well, such as filling out applications online, specific types of events or Meetups that are helpful for networking and getting a job? I know Chase has mentioned Chamber of Commerce meetings before as an opportunity, I'm currently looking into stuff like that since from all the research I've done on finding a job seems to come from referrals/networking.

I hear ya on both working a day job and using your free time to start a side hustle or something along those lines. When I first started this thread I was on the fence on jumping into a 9-5 but I've already made up my mind that that's what I will do, and if I have any aspirations for side cash then I will use my free time to pursue it much like you stated.
 

Fuck This

Cro-Magnon Man
Cro-Magnon Man
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No I can't.

Talk to independant engineers and consultants to get applicable advice in your field....
 

The Emerald Archer

Tool-Bearing Hominid
Tool-Bearing Hominid
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Wanted to come back to this thread since I've since graduated college and almost 5 months has passed by. When I first started this thread, I was very unsure of what path I wanted to go down after college. Part of me wanted to be unconventional for whatever reason and I really didn't like the idea of being like everyone else and diving straight into the 9-5 world. Thought about traveling and working odd jobs, thought about learning a freelance skill hard and trying to make that work, and even thought about maybe starting a small lifestyle type business ala. the Four-Hour Workweek.

Since then, I have been actively looking for a 9-5 job for a little over a month. Had about 3 live interviews, about 15-20 phone interviews, and ended up turning down a couple of interviews after deciding to go into engineering and not sales. Even had a job offer, but turned it down cuz the compensation wasn't there.

One thing I've been torn about is whether to relocate to a new city or stay in/near my hometown for like a year or so just to get that first job out of the way. I used to complain about my city being too small and not having enough opportunities to socialize and meet girls, but I feel like I haven't given my city a fair shot. I haven't even really learned cold approach yet and feel like I could more than make do for at least a year or so while still making consistent progress.

However, part of me feels like I'm not being ambitious enough if I stay close to home. I guess part of me feels this call to adventure and this period in my life right now (the transition between college and the professional world) is one of a kind and that by staying I would be ignoring this call to action akin to the hero's journey.

Right now my main line of thinking is this:

1. Stay in hometown for a year, take advantage of low cost of living relative to my degree (civil engineering) and get some professional work experience, then hop to a better paying job after a year/year and few months.

2. Move to Cleveland (which is a little less than an hour away) and get the experience (sort of?) of relocating to a new city that is much bigger, learning how to explore it, and build a social circle from the ground up while still being close enough to family, but far enough away to feel that "fresh start" feeling

3. Stay in Ohio, but move to Columbus or Cincinnati to really feel the effect of a fresh start and starting a new adventure by moving a couple hours away and not knowing anybody at all, similar to if I moved out of state, but still being close enough to friends and family to be able to visit every once in a while and be there for holidays without a long drive or flight.

4. Say fuck it and opt to move out of state and go to a completely new state/city and really learn to survive on my own in a new place where I am from from friends/family and know absolutely no one and be forced to sink or swim. My main issue with this is apparently companies are wary from hiring out of state because they may feel an expectation of covering relocation costs, especially for entry level hires.


I'm probably overthinking this but any thoughts or feedback you guys have would be awesome!
 

Fuck This

Cro-Magnon Man
Cro-Magnon Man
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Is your hometown your college town?

Where do you know the most people in your field?

Where will you get an opportunity to interact with more firms who might be potential freelance employers?

Do you have licenses and credentials to do small freelance jobs on Upworks? Volunteer to engineer a community project?
 

The Emerald Archer

Tool-Bearing Hominid
Tool-Bearing Hominid
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115
Fuck This,

Answers to your questions are in bold down below.

Is your hometown your college town?

Yes I commuted for 7 school years in college while living with my folks. We live in the suburbs right on the border of the city limits. That's mainly the reason I'm itching to get out, feel like I've been in the same area for too long and that I can't push the social limits like I could if I moved somewhere bigger, where I could be anonymous for a few years.

Where do you know the most people in your field?

Other than professors and some former classmates I don't really know a lot of people in my field. Some of those classmates either moved away after college. I would say the advantage is here in my hometown though, since I could visit a lot of companies in person and line up more interviews in this metro area more efficiently than in another metro. That's pretty much the only reason I'm debating sticking around for another year or two.

Where will you get an opportunity to interact with more firms who might be potential freelance employers?

I don't know too much about freelance in the engineering world. But if you're talking about unconventional ways of getting a company's attention then again the opportunity would be in my hometown due to logistics.

Do you have licenses and credentials to do small freelance jobs on Upworks? Volunteer to engineer a community project?

No I don't have any license or credentials to do any type of freelance work on sites like Upwork and such. I'm anticipating on taking my fundamentals exam for engineering in the next couple of months to help out my prospects and advancement in my career.
If I had to boil down my concerns to a nutshell I would ask whether or not it would be worth it to potentially be missing out on ambition and personal growth and development (both professionally and socially) if I stuck around my hometown for my first real job out of college? As in would I be potentially pigeonholing myself and getting too comfortable to where I might not ever leave my hometown in my 20s? Since that first job out of college is not really that great for most, do you think I would be really losing out on a lot if I stuck around just for 1-2 years MAX to establish my career and build some finances?
 

aray808311

Space Monkey
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Are you asking solely about the financial/career/money making part of it or the social part as well?
And haha at the user name "Fuck This"
 
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