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College grads, Class of 2013- congratulations, you did it!

Now what?

Well, first off you can tell all the naysayers and pessimists in the media, your family, and your group of friends to back off on all the gloom and doom that is supposedly your future.

Sure, you’ve got a ton of student loans racked up, but the monthly payments can be worked out- it’s not like you bought a house with no-money down like your parents did 10 years ago.

As for those who are all up in your grill about a college degree being a waste of time, ask them if they’ve looked at the employment requirements for almost every job out there that does not involve a drive-thru window.

Listen, times have changed since your parents graduated from college. Back in the olden days (the 1980’s) employers were begging people to come and work for them and offering big paychecks and big incentives. Now, not so much, but the jobs are out there.

Employers say they expect to hire 13 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2013 than they did from the Class of 2012, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers …so you have that going for you.

The grads with degrees in business, engineering, and computer science are the most sought after at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels, so if you studied the nerd arts you could have a job lined up before next weekend.

As for the rest of you, there is plenty of time to think about your future. (I am sure mom will let you stay in your old room a few more months.)

This is the time of your life when you should be reflecting on what it is you really want to do now that you have a little cred. Your generation is the feel-good generation, the ‘let’s-give back’ group, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Take a gap year before you head back for a Masters, or take a gap year just to figure out life.

Of course you will have to work while you contemplate what to do for the next 40 years, so grab a job in a coffee shop or a café. Talk to people while you serve them mochas and breakfast and learn from their stories.

Take the money you received as a graduation gift and travel to Europe or China or someplace that will get your mind in the creative mode.

Look around – are the happiest people you know the ones that go to work from 9-5, pushing papers in a cubicle or the people who are creative?

Social media, self-publishing, coworking and Etsy are just a few of the ways you can create and make some money. Of course you might still be working for tips at the restaurant, but you’ll have time to decide what you will do with that diploma in the long-run.

The Peace Corps and AmeriCorps are two great options to get out on your own while earning a small paycheck and you’ll be making a difference in the world. Meet new people and learn about cultures that don’t revolve around Memorial Day sales on sheets or sofas.

Moving to Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, or New York to look for your mojo isn’t a bad idea either. Some cities are just made for creative people and they’re where the start-up ideas often come from. Other towns are great for raising families.

You can always move back.

Listen up 2013 grad, life changed for the country in 2008, but it wasn’t all bad. Most people survived even the worst of times. Now that the country and the world are starting to stand tall again, take the new opportunities that are offered to you that were never offered to your parents or grandparents.

Now that you’ve graduated you can make your own decisions because no matter what your mom, your dad, your friends or the media try and tell you - this is your life and you get to live it exactly how you want. It’s not all about a big paycheck.

Best of luck, and enjoy your life.

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dwbat June 7, 2013 @ 10:02 a.m.

Might I suggest this one? It's definitely not for everyone, that's for sure. But consider joining the military (esp. the Air Force; I suggest avoiding the Marines). The pay and benefits are good, and you'll work with some smart and capable professionals. If you can thrive under discipline and a rigid chain-of-command, you'll do fine. And while in the private sector you don't have to salute, remember that you still take orders from superiors. And as civilians, millions of us have had "the boss from Hell."


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