What comes first, the gap year or the job?
Let’s be honest how many people really care whether the chicken or the egg came first? On the other hand deciding whether to take a gap year or go straight into work is a very important question. It is a debate well worth having, particularly now when you have just or are just about to graduate from University.
To try and help you make this very important decision I have laid out each side of the argument as best as I can.
Go straight into work
This may well be the stance of your parents who feel that there is time for you to get into work and start paying your way. It may also be your inclination, after three or more years of living with practically no money you want to start earning and subsequently spending. There are definitely advantages to taking this option:
• You start along the career path sooner. You don’t know how easy it will be to find a job so the sooner you start looking the sooner you will find one.
• The World isn’t going anywhere; you can always take a career break later to go travelling.
• You can earn money to pay your way, move out of your parents’ house, save for travelling and have a life.
• You’ve probably got a student overdraft and possibly a credit card or two which need paying off.
• Since you’ll have to work to save up for your gap year anyway it may as well be in your chosen career so you get good experience which should help you find a job when you get back.
Take a gap year first
This may be the view of your friends or others who are in full time work and know what it is like. It may also be your inclination as the best time for you to do it. There are definitely advantages to taking this option:
• You have no (or few) financial ties or commitments now. You can move in with your parents to save money and when you go off travelling you will be able to leave all of your belongings with them.
• Now or never, you don’t want your gap year to be something that you will do ‘one day’ and never get around to. Life is hard and complicated so take the opportunity whilst you can.
• If you don’t know what career path you want to tread then your gap year will give you more time to make this decision. You can do paid work or volunteer work to try different types of jobs and see what suits you.
It is a tough decision to make and you need to decide how much you want to go travelling. If it is something you 100% want to do in your life then go now. Starting a career, moving out of your parents’ house, getting into relationships can all cause you to miss out on taking the plunge. The World of work will still be here when you get back and your experience of different cultures and possibly volunteering or work abroad could actually put you in a better position to face it.
If you would like to see the World but are not too sure about a gap year then go straight to work. You can build your reputation and career and then take ‘short breaks’ to different destinations around the World for three or four week adventure holidays. Companies are very willing to allow this to loyal, hardworking team members.
Whatever you decide your life is about to change, best of luck.
About the Author
Sue loves to travel and tries to see as much of the World at every opportunity