What the F*ck am I going to do after college? 14 ideas to help you escape dying in a cubicle

So after you strolled down aisle, waving embarrassingly to your adoring familia in the stands, proudly clutching your hard earned diploma (see: glorified paper weight), the thought probably entered your mind – ‘okay, what do I do after college now’?

For the love of God why?

For the love of God why?

Perhaps, it may have crossed your noodle many a time in the preceding months leading to aforementioned overblown affair, but you decided to postpone the complete thought process for a later date when those grueling last minute examines were over, or for the more socially minded, when the keg had finally run dry and your last attempt at that cute co-ed flopped.  I don’t blame you, because I was there and did far worse – especially in the co-ed department. But let me cut the foreplay and address the terrifying thought in more succinct and mature, adult-friendly manner: what to do after college?

If you already found gainfully employment, you can skip this blog post – you smug, prepared bastard – as it will just make you question why you are cold calling mom and pop stores in the Midwest about their paper supply needs.

Your "golden years" never looked so good huh?

Your “golden years” never looked so good huh?

For the rest of us, who postulated deeply on the culturally accepted next step into adultdom (see: becoming a corporate wage slave job) in order to not fall behind pack of fellow grads – may I be so bold as to offer up an alternative: To travel and see the world. Or perhaps more precisely, to get paid and do interesting meaningful work whilst traveling the globe.

What a surprise, a travel blogger shilling advice to go and travel the world.

My unsolicited, and albeit, heavily biased and self-serving advice being a travel blogger and all (gag), would be to postpone the corporate jungle and venture, for at least a bit, into the real jungle, or beach, or overly populated urban jungle of filth, which happens outside a cubicle and requires nothing but a passport and a couple bucks in the bank, and by a couple of bucks I suggest at least $2,000 in the bank.

Sunsets on Boracay: home to kitesurfing jobs and the Best Internship in Asia

Sunsets on Boracay: home to kitesurfing jobs and the Best Internship in Asia

Trust me, it is far more fulfilling and important for your future than making photocopies or creating PowerPoint presentations using words like ‘pivoting’, ‘synergy’ or other business buzzword bullshit no one really understands ad nausea for a year. No – the completely biased advice I am doling out is to travel the world, open your eyes a bit, get some real life experiences under you belt, then you can decide if selling your soul to a multi-national corporation is in fact the course for you. But there is an obvious elephant in the room question we must address first:

How can I get paid to travel the world?

Excellent – if you got this far and waded through my trite prose you are not a mindless, reality show pop culture drone who clicks ‘like‘ on everything Facebook throws up like the rest of America, probably.

If you are up to your eyeballs in debt to Uncle Sam from that freshly minted college degree which now makes you more employable than the 5% of the American population, I would suggest you seek advice from someone much smarter than myself on the subject. Google is your friend (for now), or pay close attention to the obligatory teaching English section that is the obvious go to when people think about working overseas.  Me – I just know about job opportunities abroad that can keep you afloat and get some unique experiences around the world under your belt.

So without more meandering unintelligible dribble, here are some helpful, real options of what to do after college slams in door in your face (with a big bill)

 

Teaching English

Japanese English teachers

Yes, yes – this of option of course was going to go down as it is far and away the most obvious of way of working overseas. As if you are fortunate enough to be a native speaker of the international language of choice, you can grab one of these gigs in any number of countries, some require that 5-week TEFL courses, others prerequisite is simple to be white-ish, smile dopely, entertain people and have words fall out of your mouth.  Check these posts out:

English Teacher in China

Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, some middle-eastern country that makes women wear a bee keeper outfit, etc the list goes on also have some jobs that pay well relative where you are living so you can make some coin to spend on some extra wild experiences (sumo wrestling, cat cafes, underwater basket weaving, etc.) or pay back Uncle Sam for that paper weight we talked about.

Working Holiday in Australia or New Zealand

moving to australia

Yes – the land down under is full of animals that can kill you and an accent so horrid it will make you wish you were dead. But if you are from America you can get a working holiday visa, or if you are from Canada or another country that was once part of the imperialist, war mongering British Empire (the Commonwealth), you can get a whole other kind of work visa (lucky you).

 

Jeremy hit the road to Australia and landed a career as a bartender. Boom.

Jeremy hit the road to Australia and landed a career as a bartender. Boom.

Australia’s economy is booming and there are lot of jobs where you can make a very high minimum wage even if you are exceptionally unskilled, but the booming economy means it has also gotten very expensive so you will have to still keep your wits about you money wise so you aren’t forced to sell your kidneys to feed yourself at some point. Likewise, if you are manly enough and can hack it in the outback, you can make coin in the booming ore industry there. Here is a post on on how Jeremy got skilled and made bank after college by becoming a bartender while on a working holiday visa in Australia. 

 

Timeshare Sales Jobs

timeshares in puerto vallarta

Timeshare Grand Mayan aka Soviet Holiday Resort

I don’t really recommend this as it is like being a used car salesmen, selling false hopes and dreams, but on a beach or in some ski bum haven. It requires thick skin and a flexible moral compass in what you are selling. To each their own, but buyer beware.

 

I gots a uniform

I gots a uniform

timeshare sales job

…and I am pretty excited about it as you can clearly see…

Yacht Crewing Jobs

yacht jobs

I actually haven’t don’t this yet, as the idea of being stuck on boat for prolonged periods of time makes me queasy just thinking about it. But I do meet people who do it and they make bank, seriously – especially if that mega yacht has American tourists who tip. You can make said big money but you will usually work long, long hours and do a lot of work unless you are the head engineer who sits on his ass unless they hit an iceberg. You need to get all kinds of certifications, but you can find employment year round if you jet hop. Salaries and big tips await on this one. Just show up prior to the season with certificates in hand and you may just land your first boat gig. Or you can land an easier gig on some short-term party boats that sail through the Mediterranean.

 

Au Pair Jobs

au pair job

Alex was an Au Pair in Germany

This is for the ladies out there. Not that I am sexist, misogynist scumbag or anything (I am). No – I just have never heard of a male au pair, probably because the fairer sex is more responsible and can multitask than us  (or not let kids play with fireworks and bourbon, either way). Here is a post by Alex on how to get a job working as an Au Pair in a faraway land.

au pair jobs

…apparently she loved it.

 

Scuba Dive Instructor Jobs

scuba diver

 

I am a diver but purely for pleasure as the idea of being responsible for other’s lives doesn’t appeal to me. People who do this mainly do it for the free diving than making big money. It is a job of love, but if you are a dive master, you can live for peanuts in beautiful spots around the world while you dive until your hearts content, until you oxygen runs out and you die a horrible death.  Either way, people seem to really love this one. Talon travels the world with his son and pays his way by diving. Here is his take on how to travel the world by becoming a scuba diving instructor.

 

Cruise Ship Jobs

working on a cruise ship

Again, like with yachting/crewing jobs, you are at sea for long periods and work long hours, but you can save a lot and travel by boat around the world. Jobs awesomeness, or not, onboard varies.  Research. Personally I would opt for activities coordinator guy or if I were in shape, the fitness guy who gets paid to work out and scheme on older women. This is a pretty great option if you want conistent pay by contract. I recommend Wandering Earl’s book on (the guy is money and a legit blogger/person – recommend). Click here to visit Wandering Earl.
working on cruise ships

 

Working in the Greek Islands/Mediterranean

this office has potential

this office has potential

Fun, Fun, Fun but you aren’t going to be putting anything in the piggy bank. But you will have a great time making bad decisions and get a tan at the same time.

You can check out these posts on working in the Greek Islands, working in Portugal, or for the more sexually-party minded (not that the former does not involve such), you can work at the backpacker party resort on the Island of Corfu in Greece at the Pink Palace. You dirty dog.

Pink Palace Spermcuzi

This office also has potential

This office also has potential

Pink Palace ATVs

 

Tour Guiding Jobs

What you don't want to buy a tour from me? Che Cazzo Dici!

What you don’t want to buy a tour from me? Che Cazzo Dici!

Okay, this one can be tricky. As some countries you need to be an expert and have permits, visas, etc. Your best bet here would be to learn the ropes and try to get onboard with a company that has groups that come in from afar (probably your native land) ie G-Adventures for touring with young people, or to make bigger tips something that caters to old people who have more cash than time left to burn. I on the other hand, have never been a tour guide. I did however, sell tours in Rome for a spell, and while it was a challenge, if you got sale chops (unlike me), you can live in many places getting your hustle on.

the Gatherer- sales tout - makes is move, attempting the walk and chat

the Gatherer- sales tout – makes is move, attempting the walk and chat

 Volunteering Jobs

two elephants

Okay. This is cheating, as these jobs don’t really pay anything, ergo the verbage ‘volunteering’, but they can give you that feel good dopamine for lending a helping hand rather than using that wellbutrin your doc gave you to feel better about living such an entitled life that you get to even ponder the idea of ‘why am I depressed?’.

I suggest volunteering with the elephants in Thailand rather than the tigers, but to each there own.

Sweettttt

Not so sweet

If you really want to go deep and know more about doing good for others and giving back (to make up for all those college years). Check out Shannon’s The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook
as she knows much more on the topic of volunteering than my impostor self who hates to get dirty.

volunteers handbook
Also, just because you don’t see an official website or some thing written about volunteering, doesn’t mean you can’t create your own volunteering opportunity. I just spent the last 4 weeks hustling to throw together Operation Save Santa, a fundraiser for Filipino children for gifts for Christmas, and there wasn’t any application form. I decided to help out, and took action. Boom – pick your mission.

SAVE SANTA Philippines

*And a sidenote on voluntourism/working abroad sites that have hefty course fees. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that it should cost $3,500 and your first born child to volunteer to help people/animals/your grandma? Some money yes, but me thinks that there may be a few unscrupulous companies out there – Check out this post on the matter.

Travel Writer

What am I doing? I don't know, really.

What am I doing? I don’t know, really.

Well, I don’t know much about professional, journalistic writing to be honest. I just included it because of all the bullshit lists of jobs to work your way around the world  that you find via the Google state this one. They write freelance, write for magazine, get big brands to throw money and host champagne showers for them. There are some amazing journalist/travel writers out there. I am KEEN on this one at the moment, as she seems to do it all and pack in fantastic writing and travel and get paid and have a dog and have a dreamboat for a husband. For me I tend to feel that the written word is dead, based on the amount of New York Times articles coming out by writers complaining of not getting paid anymore to write. It’s a labor of love. At this point I just assume most people perusing the inter-webs just want look at pictures of animals dressed as humans or are merely skimming for important fact rather than enjoying the subtleties of the English language. Based on my analytics, the only people who read my site top to bottom, other than my mother, are the very handsome people from London and Dublin, who apparently still give a shit about the integrity of their invention. Or they are just drunk and like to watch their former indentured servants who kept the mercantile system afloat butcher their language. Either way, I love you.

stressed blogger

 

Travel Blogging

traveler working in hammock

I couldn’t find my old photo that isn’t cartooned, so you get this one. Lucky guy, girl, family pet perusing my site.

Quit your corporate 9-5 today and you too can live the dream overseas in lavish splendor while you watch your bank account tick upwards. Just kidding. Some travel bloggers do it well professionally and build a community and have products and an actual business (ebooks, tours, consulting etc.).  Some become the darlings of sponsored traveled whisked away on free trip medleys and such, while others build fake sites to sell ads and links to travel operators to keep themselves living the dream. There are many courses you can go down, but all require a lot of legwork to make a reality. Dreams crushed. Sorry, no quick and easy path here to travel the world, but it is possible to travel the world this way – it just takes a lot more work than buying an ebook on how to do it for $9.95.

One must become an expert in writing "the top ten reasons to visit xyz" to pump those page views baby.

One must become an expert in writing “the top ten reasons to visit xyz” to pump those page views baby.

 Promotional Video Making

video assistant job

Honestly, this right here is what’s up. My second travel job, I worked with a guy in Puerto Vallarta who made videos for local companies than hosted them on his YouTube channel. We went whale watching. I held a camera. He got paid. …And no more explanation needed.

whale watching boat in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Whale watching with beer while filming onsite…looks like career potential

 

 Location Independent Jobs

This could be a long, serious list, full of serious skills that you must have or learn to work remotely anywhere in the world. Basically every course I didn’t take while in college. Thanks guidance counselor. Por ejemplo,

The list could go on and on. Seriously, everyday it gets longer and longer as technology makes it a reality and more cost effective for people to work remotely. I could go into detail on many of these opportunities but I don’t want to give away the farm on the first date by completely whoring myself out to get some extra page views and Facebook likes. What do you think am? Some kind of slutty travel blogger or something?

So what I will leave you with is simply: there are many paths you can choose, before or after college, don’t be afraid of taking a leap of faith and trying to something a bit different before shackling yourself to some career that will probably be dead in a decade anyhow. Your future self will thank you, maybe.

Turner barr
turnerbarr@gmail.com

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

8 Comments
  • Ron | Active Planet Travels
    Posted at 11:19h, 19 February

    Nice list of job related resources. As you can probably tell due to my name, I’ve stuck with travel blogging and have been doing it since June of 2011. You’re right, it takes a hell of a lot of leg work to get anywhere in this business and is definitely a labor of love but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m currently transitioning over from getting an income from “paid blog post” to having actual products & services so that I have a legit business. Many people are successful at it but you’ve really got to dedicate yourself! 😉 lol

  • Ryan Kilpatrick
    Posted at 11:22h, 19 February

    Hey Turner,

    Great post. I really enjoy reading your writing. I am headed of to live this kind of lifestyle as well. Keep up the great work and I look forward to your future post.

    Ryan

  • Adam Finan @ Tropical Nomad
    Posted at 12:44h, 19 February

    Decent list there Turner.. I would add construction work though. It is easy to make +$1000 per week in Australia and $700 in NZ as a labourer. I done it in NYC also and made $1200 cash in hand once upon a time. Any clown can break a wall with a sledgehammer or operate a skill-saw!

  • Camels & Chocolate
    Posted at 10:19h, 24 February

    Love this! if I didn’t work as a journalist and get to travel that way, I’m pretty sure I would have gone on to get my divemaster and flitted around the globe leading dive trips. Dream job!

  • Rashad Pharaon
    Posted at 01:10h, 26 February

    Great stuff Turner! For location independent jobs, I really recommend people check out Elance.com for freelance work online. You don’t have to be a great writer or know photoshop or know how to code a website. There a lot of admin jobs and virtual assistant jobs you can do from just about anywhere with an Internet connection.

  • Mel in OZ
    Posted at 22:52h, 03 March

    I read your site top to bottom – thanks for an interesting, laugh out loud, inspiring and human take on the question that has a lot of people, including me, going around in perpetual dizzying circles.

  • Jenny Hayes
    Posted at 20:35h, 06 March

    Turner, thank you for your honesty. You know, I’m not a handsome person from Dublin or London, but the article was worth reading top to bottom (and, yeah, I liked all the pictures).

  • Curtis
    Posted at 10:27h, 13 March

    From all of us working class slobs back doing the daily grind, we salute you! Awesome post. We traveled for a few years, blog about it, and now are back in the U.S. wondering why in the world we stopped. This 9 to 5 thing is for the birds! Take care.