Sheffield Star column: Career comes before travel

View the original article on the Sheffield Star website.

There’s always been a lot of emphasis on “travelling while you’re young”. I’ve heard the arguments – no mortgage, kids or responsibilities. But my question to this year’s graduates is this – what about your responsibility to your future careers?

Nowadays the average student will come out of university with a shiny new degree and around £45,000 of debt. so you can’t blame graduates for wanting to take some ‘time out’ post-university. 

So summer comes around and most will pack up their bags and head back to their parents’ homes to pursue full- or part-time jobs – some meant for graduates, but the majority meant for employees without degrees. 

Now here is when “travelling while you’re young” starts to make less sense to me. I see so many articles aimed at my generation preaching the idea of travelling. Websites post so often about travelling the world that it’s portrayed as a right for us millennials – to pack our bags and go off to “find ourselves” abroad. 

My argument here is simple – there couldn’t be a worse time for it. In 2014 there were 39 graduates for every one graduate job. That’s 39 graduates who probably have better grades, are more experienced and are happy to work for less than you. When you’re already in substantial debt with limited work experience, why waste a valuable year out, or longer, when you could be forging a career? 

You might argue that I am biased here. I started working full time two months before I finished my degree to fund a deposit and the first month’s rent for my current flat. I took a summer job as a receptionist while applying for jobs in marketing.

Four months in, I landed a role in a PR agency which has led me, one year on, to my current role working in marketing for a national charity . Do I want to travel? Of course I do. I want to immerse myself in different cultures, see things beyond my wildest dreams and return viewing the world differently. But I also want to come home to my own flat and not a single bed in my parents’ house where I grew up. 

I have 30 days’ annual leave for the rest of my working career to travel, anywhere and everywhere that I choose. I’ve been to Italy, France and Portugal in the last year alone. But most importantly, I have a salary that allows me to do that.

I truly believe you’re just as likely to find your true calling in a fantastic job than you are in a remote village somewhere. So graduates, pick wisely. It’s up to you.


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