The four career choices analyzed here are entrepreneurship, freelancing, sabbaticals, and regular full time employment. While all of these are attractive to different individuals, the bottom line for any career choice is how well you are able to support yourself and your families. In addition, feet on the ground approach is preferable as many career choices sound appealing on first glance while the reality is altogether different.
With all the eye popping and mouthwatering valuations of startups wherein young and restless graduates who are barely out of college attracting millions in venture capital funding, there are many who are either quitting their full time jobs or not applying for these jobs in the final year of their studies so as to jump on to the entrepreneurship bandwagon. However, remember that you can succeed as an entrepreneur only if you are able to attract funding which means that either you have a compelling business idea or have connections or both which is the ultimate goal.
Moreover, entrepreneurship requires that you network with others as well as have business partners who share your vision and are willing to put in the high number of hours to get the venture going and become successful. Of course, if you strike gold, then you can very well become the next Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) who with their game changing innovations has revolutionized the world.
In addition, you need support from your family for this option as they need to put up with the long hours prospecting, meeting, and networking as well as travelling with no guarantee of an assured income.
While freelancing sounds different in the sense that you would be your own boss, at the same time, you should also consider that you would be on your own meaning that assured income, health benefits, social security, and paid vacations are all nonexistent for freelancers. Indeed, with the growing competition between knowledge workers worldwide, the assignments usually go to the ones who bid the lowest or have exceptional track records.
In addition, you need to build trust and comfort level with your clients which take time and you would need to get adjusted to long working hours though you can work from home. Having said that, given the state of the job market, freelancing might be a good idea for those who for various reasons could not land a job immediately after graduation. In such cases, at least you have something to show for on your resume when you are ready to be hired for full time employment.
Moreover, once you establish yourself in the field, you can even start your own company and which is something that is attractive to many. But, remember. No Health Benefits. No Pension Benefits and No Paid Leaves.
There are many who think of taking a Sabbatical which is the term used for job seekers and career employees when they take a break to pursue higher education, work with an NGO (Non Governmental Organization) or Nonprofit, or take a break just to think over the next career move. While this option sounds exciting and interesting as you would be exploring the world around you, you need to remember that unless the nonprofit is globally or nationally recognized, you would not be able to gain any traction from the internship with them.
In addition, if you are considering a sabbatical to pursue higher education, keep in mind that you need to take a loan on top of foregoing your salary and other benefits from your job that you would leave. Considering the expensive nature of higher education, it is important for you to do a cost benefit analysis. Moreover, there is no guarantee that after you finish the degree, the job market would improve. So, the bottom line requirement here is that you must derive value from your sabbatical for it to worth the effort.
As for taking a break just for the sake of it, well, we would advise that only if you have enough savings or assurance of your employer hiring you back or extending the contract once your break is over.
Finally, the safest bet any time wherein you land a job with an established company and stick to the company for a considerable time before you make your next career move. This is the tried and tested option wherein you are assured of a fixed income every month in addition to healthcare, social security, and retirement benefits. This is more attractive for those who have dependents in the form of parents, siblings, spouses, and children who need a regular and steady income stream to sustain themselves.
While this option sounds best, you should also be aware that given the fickle nature of the economy and the fluctuating economic conditions, not all employers are ready to offer the best salary and the best benefits unless you are either a star achiever or an experienced job seeker. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the company would not downsize employees in the next couple of years (which is the timeframe chosen for this article). Therefore, while contemplating singing on the dotted line, consider all these aspects and in addition, ensure that you get a good salary package that is commensurate with your abilities and experience.
Having considered the four career choices in brief, there are ways and means for knowing more about them and as always, the best method of doing so would be to talk to someone who is that field. Therefore, network as much as you can and learn more from real people in addition to looking stuff on the web for information, links, and for building contacts which are all very important for any and all of the career choices.
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