FAQs on Getting a Full-Time Job Directly Out of College (from a world-traveling blogger)

As one of those weird millennials who went straight to work full time after May graduation (almost exactly one month later, in fact), I think there are a lot of pros to working full time after college. But as you are well aware, I also happen to be a world-traveling blogger who has trouble staying in one place. Since these characteristics don’t intuitively work together, I tend to get some questions about this topic… so I figured I’d address those common questions in bulk.

Do I regret going to work full time directly after graduating?

In general, I try not to think of decisions I’d make differently if I could as “regrets”… more as “lessons learned”. This is a difficult question, because in this case I know that I made the only choice that was available to me at the time. Because I only got paid once a month in my first full-time job, I had a daunting gap from the end of April (when I quit my part-time job and paid internship) to the end of June (when I started my full-time job) with no income coming in… and two rent payments due! It was tight, and there just weren’t funds available to push back my start date at the full-time job to August or September of that year and backpack around Europe for three months.

So I didn’t do that.

Do I wish I’d pulled more shifts during that last year in college so that I could have saved up enough money to push back my start date a bit and go on a pre-full-time work adventure? Definitely. Hindsight is 20-20, and looking back I can see that I should have planned ahead to make that gap trip financially feasible.

What was the hardest thing about the transition from college to full-time work?

For me this question has three answers: structure, sitting and free time.

Like many travelers I’ve met, I tend to thrive on a bit of chaos and unpredictability. In college, I had a different class and work schedule every single day, and I loved that variety. It isn’t my natural tendency to have a highly-structured schedule in my life, so the 8 to 5 work schedule with one hour for lunch in the middle of the day- 5 days a week- was a shock to my system. Couple that with the next big transition from college to full-time work in finance… sitting ALL DAY… and I remember being physically exhausted for the first three months after starting that full time job (believe it or not, sitting all day will totally zap your energy). Pro tip: I feel that a lot of employers are putting more focus on trying to break up the sitting for health reasons now than when I first started working full time, so see if your employer will spring for a standing desk. No harm in asking!

Arguably the hardest part of the transition from college to full-time work was saying goodbye to my free time. In college, I had a lot going on, but I had a lot more free time mixed into an average week than I do the work world. I could study for something a few hours, go meet friends for coffee, study another hour, work on a personal project, go to a class, head to work, then meet some friends at night. At work, for the 8+ hours a day that you are there, you just work. Then there are the big blocks of free time: no more fall break, no more winter break, no more spring break – and most detrimental to us travelers – no more 2+ months off for summer break. You’ve got to get creative with those limited vacation days you have off work (but if you are looking for advice on that topic, you’ve certainly come to the right blog!)

Wouldn’t it be easier to focus on my blog and on traveling if I worked part time instead of full time?

I read a lot about millennials, know a lot of millennials and am a millennial, so I’m well aware that many people in my generation choose to bring in a little money on the side through a part-time job of some sort while pursuing their passion full time. I’m not going to say that option isn’t the right choice for some people, because I’m sure that it is. It just isn’t the right choice for me.

At this point in my blog’s life, I don’t make any money from it whatsoever. I don’t have ads, I don’t have affiliations and I don’t write any type of paid endorsements. My goal is for this blog to be a point of connection to and a resource for other travelers. One day, I’d love to pick up some writing gigs elsewhere. But for the time being, suffice it to say that I couldn’t live off this blog in any capacity!

And even if I could… I’d likely still work full time. While I love writing this blog and sharing travel photographs here, my passion is traveling internationally as much as possible. While working part time would give me more time to travel, it would also give me much less money to travel. So, I plan to keep working full time for the foreseeable future!

What are some of the benefits of going to work full time after college?

We’ve talked about some common negatives to full-time work here so far (lack of free time, rigid structure, etc.)… but what about the positives?

I have two primary answers to this question: money and experience.

Even if you feel that you need more time to explore what you want to do permanently, we all have bills and rent to pay. If you’ve got to work anyway, the most efficient option (in my personal opinion) is to get a job doing something that pays you as much as possible and allows you to build widely applicable skills. If you don’t know what you want to do longer term, that is totally fine: most of us don’t when we first graduate college. Make a plan for what is next while bringing in a regular paycheck and building your resume. Build both skills and a savings account, and read travel blogs in the evening and on weekends (like this one) until you decide on what you want to pursue longer term.

Do you have other questions about going to work full time after college that weren’t addressed here? Feel free to share in the comments!

My work and travel secret weapon: The 10 Day Trip

As long as I’ve been doing this traveling thing, I’ve been focused on balancing travel with other obligations. In college, I studied abroad during the summers so I could be in town during fall and spring semesters to take my core courses that weren’t offered elsewhere. Since I entered the work world in 2013, I’ve been focused on finding the most efficient way to travel internationally using my limited vacation days. I’ve done quite a bit of firsthand research to figure out how to maximize my time abroad while minimizing my vacation days used. Ultimately, I’ve managed to visit 11 countries while holding down a full time job in finance since graduating from college 4 years ago. So how exactly do I pull this off?

My secret weapon, of course!

And I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you. Continue reading “My work and travel secret weapon: The 10 Day Trip”

Planning Short Trips and Thoughts on Spontaneity

There are a lot of great things about working and traveling.

Figuring out how to make the things you want to prioritize in your life work together is an important and universally applicable lesson. On the surface, it may seem counterintuitive to attempt multiple trips a year while holding down a full-time job… and I won’t say it’s always easy. But I will say that if I’m making it work, you can too.

One of the most important aspects of balancing work with travel, in my opinion, is that you have to drop all your preconceived notions. And in planning my most recent trip abroad with two of my friends, I realized that one of these notions that needs to be dropped is the idea that you can only truly experience a new place in the world if you experience it spontaneously. Continue reading “Planning Short Trips and Thoughts on Spontaneity”

How to Travel with Limited Vacation Time

The internet is full of travel bloggers who live on the road long term, and I love reading their stories and seeing their pictures. I think that living abroad would be the ultimate adventure, and I hope that I have the chance to have that adventure someday.

However, that day is not today.

Today, I worked 8 hours in my Nashville office. While I probably stared at a computer too much and definitely sat too long, my work had a direct impact on people’s lives. Figuring out creative ways to help small businesses may not sound quite as exciting as spending the day drinking from a coconut in Thailand, but I actually think of both as adventures…. just different types of adventures.

Unfortunately, my adventure here in nonprofit micro finance land offers limited vacation time to pursue my adventures abroad. So how do I balance my day job with travel? Continue reading “How to Travel with Limited Vacation Time”

Austria in April: Back at it Again with the Trip Plans

Since it is officially March (how in the world did that happen?), inquisitive minds everywhere are wondering: why in the world hasn’t Sarah Going gone anywhere yet in 2017?

I couldn’t be more excited to announce that trip plans are well underway… and I’ll be heading to Germany, Hungary and Austria in April!

This is a particularly exciting trip for me, because it includes several firsts. Continue reading “Austria in April: Back at it Again with the Trip Plans”

Climbing Your Own Ladder: Thoughts on Fulfillment

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of great conversations with good friends about big dreams. These are the kind of conversations I live for: I love hearing other people explain what they are pursuing, and why they are passionate about it, and how they are planning on getting there.

Talking to people who are smart and inspired to effect big change has always inspired me. However, these conversations tend to have an underlying anxiety. While some of that anxiety certainly stems from worrying about whether or not we’ll be successful at accomplishing the things we want to accomplish, the question that seems to be haunting everyone is more immediate.

What in the world we are supposed to do in the meantime? Continue reading “Climbing Your Own Ladder: Thoughts on Fulfillment”

A Year of Failure (and My Decision to Stay in Nashville)

Over the past year, I’ve made a lot of plans. Whether I was planning to move to Australia on a working holiday visa, heading to Europe for a 3 month backpacking trip or attending my dream graduate school in London, what all my plans had in common is that I was DEFINITELY leaving my hometown of Nashville, TN.

As the title of this post may suggest…. things didn’t exactly work out as planned.

It is time for an explanation. Like most true stories, this one isn’t all fun and games… but like the best stories, it does start with once upon a time (and also has a happy ending!) Ultimately, I hope that I can provide encouragement to friends, family and readers who have supported me over the past year with some truth about failure. And flexibility. And what the (long) road to achieving dreams really looks like. Continue reading “A Year of Failure (and My Decision to Stay in Nashville)”

Balancing Travel and a Career

For the past 8 years, I’ve been balancing my love of travel with college and then with a career in finance. For the past 3 years in particular, I’ve travelled internationally and domestically using just my weekends and allotted vacation days away from the 8 to 5 cubicle. While balancing travel and a career may seem daunting (especially for my readers working for American companies that have yet to embrace the European take on annual vacation days), it is all about focused planning. Continue reading “Balancing Travel and a Career”