6 Things Every Woman Should Do Before She Gets A "Real" Job

If you're about to leave college, or any kind of study, you're probably stressing out about getting a "real" job. Don't. "Real" jobs are for grown ups, and you might not be one yet (even if your age says you are), so you've got time. When I say "real" job, I mean the profession your degree prepared you for, or any other kind of salaried, nine to five, office-based work. "Real" is in quotation marks because all jobs are real jobs (my parents raised me with the belief that all work is honorable, and whether you're a doctor or a window cleaner, your work is valuable and you should take pride in it). So I'm not for one second suggesting that working in hospitality is not "real" work. It is. It's more than real. I've done it. It's not easy and it's just as important as anything we refer to as a "real" job.

I'm saying "real" job, because sometimes locking yourself into office hours with one big company means that you don't have a lot of flexibility. And that's fine. Sometimes that's what work is. But if you're young, and still unsure about what you want your career to be, it's okay to take some time and try some other things out before you lock yourself into that kind of job. Here are some things every woman should try out before getting a real job:

1. Travel

I see the catch-22 here. You need money to travel. Work is how you get money. But temp jobs are jobs too, so get one of those, work hard at it, save every penny, and go on a trip. You don't have to have a lot to travel either. I did Europe on $20 a day when I was 21. It wasn't fancy, I slept on a lot of stinky mattresses in stinky hostels, but it was an amazing experience. Even if it's just for a week or two, spend your savings/disposable income/a little credit card cash traveling before you're locked into a daily grind and limited yearly vacation days.

2. Get A Hospitality Job

I mean, that's real work. I'm not trying to discredit hospitality work at all. But if your chosen career/education doesn't involve hospitality, you should still go ahead and spend some time working in the service industry, whether that's retail, food, or anything else that's customer based. It will teach you everything you need to know about resilience, having a solid work ethic, and how you should treat other people (because I'm not going to lie: a lot of people are total jerks to hospitality workers).

3. Do Something Creative

If you have the means, try being creative. I know that not everyone can just swan about jobless writing or painting or dancing, but if you have a part time job and are making ends meet, or someone is paying your way between college and career, use your spare time being creative. You might end up turning that into a career (I did, but for the sake of honesty, I totally intended to). As you get busier and life gets hectic and you become bogged down in work place bureaucracy, opportunities to be creative can become fewer and fewer.

4. Volunteer

Again, if you have the means volunteer. Everyone has the time to give up a few hours a week giving back to the community. If you haven't started a full time job yet, find out if there are opportunities that might suit you that even combine volunteer and travel. It's probably the most enriching thing you can do, which is the only selfish part about it.

5. Be The Intern

Getting a "real" job can seem daunting, especially when it involves choosing a clearly defined career path. Spend some time interning (there are great paid internships out there!) as a way or figuring out what it is you want from work.

6. Study More

Studying is great, but you probably don't realize that until you're in the workforce. Get your Master's. Go learn a skill or trade. Pick up an instrument or a language. Spend as much time as you can soaking in as much knowledge as you can, because when you're working you run out of hours in the day to sit down and absorb information that's not work-related.

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