Young people are bombarded with films, articles and other stuff the main ideas of with are: there will be no better time, travel while you’re young, travelling is much more affordable than you think, don’t let the society pressure on you, the typical “way to success” is a relic of the past, your generation is different and learns globally, and so on and on. Travel agencies and discount carriers’ motives are understandable: the companies need more customers. So they keep working on figuring out the new ways to attract more and more travelers.
But the thing is that you shouldn’t do it unless you’re rich enough to never be looking for a job. It’s something that will forever influence your career and can destroy you financially further on in your life. And that’s not about traveling low cost or gaining international experience. It doesn’t matter how many positive reasons you can come up with trying to prove the good side of a gap year, they will be all crossed out by the fact you’re setting yourself up to financial insecurity for the rest of your life if you don’t work for long periods of time while you’re in your twenties.
So it’s not about today’s money, it’s all about tomorrow’s risks. The vast majority of the newly-graduated students will proceed in life having an average career making money on doing ordinary work. And that’s totally fine, because it’s the way our society is working. Not everyone will be able to start their own businesses, because it requires some special personality traits, hard work and big motivation in order to succeed, that most of us simply lack.
Think About Your Future Career
So you’re an average person without millions in your banking accounts. That means you need to find a job. At the beginning your income will be low. You’re fresh to the labor force. You have minimum experience and no professional acquaintances. Work is hard to find and the salary you’re offered leaves much to be desired. But once you start your career and dedicate your young years to its developing, you become more experienced, your network of contacts grows, the earnings increase and somewhere between your late thirties and early forties you get that high wage you’ve been working for during all those years.
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to keep it for the rest of your career as well as many other social benefits connected to it. But life is unpredictable and everything may happen. In your fifties you can suddenly find yourself unemployed due to many reasons: from replacement by technology to skills decrease that might occur with years.
Once again you’re facing the problem of job searching. Only this time you’re not that young enthusiastic ready-to-work-for-minimum-salary person. The most valuable things you can basically offer to a potential employee are your skills and experience. And the larger and more pumped up they are, the better.
The Older You Get, the Harder It Will Be to Find a Job
Employers are less willing to take older workers, because they expect higher wages and more likely have outdated skills. It gets even worse if you don’t find job within six months after leaving the previous one. To hirers, it will seem like you couldn’t get job because there’s something wrong with you. You can do well in the interview but the moment the potential work-giver sees your unemployed gap there’s a big risk that you’re not going to be hired.
But if you’re lucky enough to actually get the job there’s still some other conditions you’d better keep in mind. According to statistics in half of cases middle-aged dismissed workers get offered lower salary at their new jobs. Almost 50% of them accepted a nearly 20% wage-cut. And there are many of those who get hired being offered the half of their former salary or even less.
Build a Safety Net
The main point of all mentioned above is that if you don’t have any bank accounts stuffed with money and there’re no potential business ownership in your future prospects, you should rather travel up your career than other countries. And the more quickly you start, the better.
Then you want to reach to your highest salary as fast as possible. And when you get to that point you have to save as much of your earnings as you can. Because you never know when you’re going get into that long line of job searchers all over again. Job loss is never good. And if you lose your job being on top position, there’s a really long way to fall.
Beware of Possible Impacts
First of all, it starts with your expenses. Let’s not mention such obvious things like plane tickets, hostels, food and other traveling related stuff. Pay your attention to lost experience and salary. The majority of hirers are not going to treat positively your travel experience when they look at your CV. The HR manager, most likely one of that middle-aged persons who took that “typical way to success” you’re trying to avoid and is now on their earning peak. And they’re going to look at your CV with the gap right after the graduation just like it’s mentioned above: there must be something wrong with you.
Every year you skip before getting a job in your twenties adds up to wasted time that is impossible to get back. Attitude towards young workers much differs from the attitude towards middle-aged ones. Employers prefer them because they’re cheap and full of energy and eagerness to climb career ladder. And there’s so many of them too that if you miss the time to get on board of your career train, you may very quickly fall behind other young people who considered their two weeks’ vacation to Florida after graduation a good travel experience.
Initially a gap year was invented exclusively for rich people who could tour all over the world without any care, because they already had all the money they ever needed. The rest of ordinary people had to, have to and will have to work for a living. But one can work in a smart way or in a dumb one. And the dumb one includes long periods off without gaining any professional skills and experience.
If you are not rich, don’t travel for long right after college. Do your best trying to establish your career and develop it as fast as you can, because extended vacations are still a privilege reserved for the rich.