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Got any practical advice on this situation of mine?

DavidAM

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2010
Hey guys, didn't know where else to put this concern of mine. I posted a few weeks ago in the spiritual section about plans of mine for the next year or so. I made these plans on the assumption that I wasn't getting into school and on the assumption that I wouldn't like my job. Well... I just got word that I was admitted to Warren Wilson College for Spring semester, but I deferred to Fall 2011. Also, I'm actually really starting to enjoy my job. The days are long but I'm only working 30 hours a week and it's fairly easy. I work for Whole Foods and the company really takes care of you. The incentive to move up in the company is always there. The pay is good and the people are decent. I've met people who have been there for years and love it and I've met people who have been there for years not because they love it but because it's secure and it's the best job they've had. People keep saying that the company is great and it makes me think twice about leaving in a year to travel. I feel like I need the security and I'd be crazy to leave.

I'm at a weird place now where I feel like I don't actually want to go to school and I've actually begun to consider Whole Foods as a viable career by moving up in the company. But then where does that leave my plans for travel for next year. I had this whole plan to work for around a year and then travel for a few months to a year around the US and Hawaii, but now I'm just so stuck in what to do. I don't want to wait years to travel again. I think if I want to travel now I should be able to and I shouldn't have to settle myself into a career to make it happen. If I could figure out how to blog and automate any income I get from that then that would be nice. LOL! I know traveling will make me happy and that's what's important to me, not working full-time for years in one place doing the same thing day in and day out. I've never been one to suck it up and put on a faux attitude. I don't like being fake and in denial. I'm only 21 and all I want to do is travel, but I know I need funds to some extent as transportation is a pretty hefty sum to get to and from places.

So if there's any practical advice out there on what I should do and your own experiences, that would be great! Thanks so much guys!
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

“A burning passion coupled with absolute detachment is the key to all success.”

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com

yanks26dmb

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2010
I guess I would consider a couple things...

While working at whole foods may seem really awesome to you, landing a job there isn't all that hard. I see the Whole Foods by me constantly looking for new help. I would assume, if I were you, that even if you left, you could get hired by another or the same whole foods upon your return. Especially if you left under good circumstances.

Second, do you really think you're going to look back at your life 50 years from now and say, "wow, I'm sooo glad I stayed and worked at Whole Foods instead of traveling the world for a year". Of course not. I guess it comes down to how important is traveling the world to you. I will be leaving a company, like you, who is constantly named among the top 10 employers to work for i those Forbes, etc. rankings. Work/life balance is great, its a huge corporation, etc. But in the end, I don't want to look back on my life and think about how I missed out on so many things because I wanted to "move up the corporate ladder".

Jester

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2010
I guess I would say a couple things:

1) Take your trip. You're at a good point in life to do it, you will find it harder to do it later, and I don't think the itch goes away. I went on an extended trip after I graduated and believe me when I say it makes it easier when you're at a point where you can't realistically go off on long-term travel again, to be able to look back and say "well, at least I did it."

2) Taking time off shouldn't impact your career, at least not this early. I was in a very low entry-level position in my company when I took a leave of absence and went on my trip. I came back, started working for them again, and it's never been an issue. It sounds like you're in roughly the same boat.

3) You didn't ask about this, but I'd suggest thinking long and hard before ditching school, especially if you're looking to build a career with this company. I may be mistaken, but it sounds like you're working at a Whole Foods store. So what is your career progression? (It's ok not to know). If it's anything like my situation (I work for a bank) there are literally thousands of people with essentially the same job you have now. How do you plan to set yourself apart from these people when the time comes to apply for a promotion? An education is one way. I was phenomenal at the couple of low level jobs I was in when I first started out, easily in the top 10% of my peers. And I had an undergraduate degree. It wasn't enough to distinguish me from the pack. I had to go back to school to get an accounting designation, just to keep up with the people I'm competing with for jobs. So if you're serious about having a successful career, don't hurt your chances early on by not having an education. My $0.02.

But yeah. Go travel :)

zoomcharlieb

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2010
a Whole Foods Job sounds like what i was doing when i was in High school making money for college. i worked in a couple of small grocery stores so i stocked, bagged, checked at the cash register, and when the boss wasn't looking stole a little beer out the back, but that kind of job isn't a career, it's what you do if you can't figure anything else out. You aren't going to put your future kids through college on one of those jobs.

i think the rest of the advice is good. Watch that "Assuming " thing though, it's a lazy mans way to knowledge and it never works out.

Traveler_2007

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2010
Good that you have a job that you like, and you can save money for the your planned trip. There are actualy two positive things here; you make money for your trip and then you learn early on that quiting a job, or sometimes loosing a job is not the end of the world. There is another job around the corner. That is true across your entire carrer. The older you get the more choosy you get but the concept is the same.

Take your trip and gain aditioanale knowledge.

Now on the little issue of school, well that is completely opposite to my advice on keeping your current job. While you do not "want to do it" you pretty much have to. No or litlle education will pretty much guarantee that you will be stuck in low paying jobs with little chance of getting a carrer. That, and you will unlikely have enough money to travel. There are examples of people earning lots of money without spending too much time in school. They are a small percentage and playing that game is risky business.

My last advice is that you should value time above money. What I mean, is that you can make money but you can not make time! At your age, it sounds like you have more time than money. While that may seem unfair, as you get older and you earn more, you will have less and less time to spend your money travelling!

Good luck and enjoy your trip!

busman7

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  • Added on: December 5th, 2010
let me play Devil's Advocate on the school situation. Just read on Yahoo news about a girl who just got her BA degree but along with it came a student loan bill of $200,000.00. Is a BA worth having that kind of debt hanging over your head??? :shock:
"Being normal? Ugh. I can't imagine how awful that must be" unknown

2wanderers

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  • Added on: December 5th, 2010
I generally agree with the advice above. While secure, it doesn't sound like you've got a great job or anything. Career progression is a challenge in bottom heavy organisation. If they're terrible to work for, pure longevity is sometimes enough to get a promotion, but if people are generally hesitant to leave - which is sounds like is the situation at Whole Foods - it's going to be hard to stand out and move upwards. On top of that, without an education, there's going to be a point at which promotion just doesn't exist, and it's probably not all that high up.

Most people who do well for themselves without an education do so by striking out on their own and starting a business. This requires a specific personality type (risk taking, creative and usually charismatic), which might or might not describe you. Even in the trades - which can be quite lucrative - there's an element of education to move up the ladder.

On school, I think I have a different perspective from some. I spent 3.5 years (plus a year off in the middle) going to school full time. And I wasn't very good at it...after all that time, I was still at least 2 years from graduating. Not because I'm dumb, or can't work hard, but simply because full time education doesn't work very well for me.

I dropped out, went traveling for a few months, and came back and landed a basic, boring office job. Then quickly went back to school, but part-time. Part-time education has worked really well for me...my classes have given me the opportunity to move up in my company, and because my work is related to school, school becomes pretty easy.

There's ups and downs to this approach. Fewer programs are available in the evenings. But my tuition and books are paid for by my employer, which is nice (this doesn't happen everywhere). And it does take a really long time to get through school. By the time I've graduated and earned my accounting designation, I'll be about a decade behind my peers that went the high school-university-articling route. I already found myself describing one of our auditors as "looking like she's 12," and I've got another 6 years of school to go before I get to that stage.

Still I think it's something to consider if that sounds reasonable to you. I really do feel like the pressure to either work or go to school can be a lot in our society, and my personal feeling has been that doing both works a lot better than doing just one, at least for me.

Travel vs career is always going to be a tough choice. I'm lucky that I work for a good company with good vacation, so I can take a month off every year. But it's not easy to find these types of jobs, and even with that much, the short trips are still somewhat unsatisfying compared to taking 5 months to a year to see the world.

Life's full of trade offs. You're going to have to decide for yourself what's most important, and then find a way to make it happen.

Just read on Yahoo news about a girl who just got her BA degree but along with it came a student loan bill of $200,000.00. Is a BA worth having that kind of debt hanging over your head???
Even in the US, where tuition is high, you have to be doing something amazingly stupid to rack up $200k in student loans. $50k maybe, but $200k means that resources were not used wisely.

yanks26dmb

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  • Added on: December 6th, 2010
busman7 wrote:let me play Devil's Advocate on the school situation. Just read on Yahoo news about a girl who just got her BA degree but along with it came a student loan bill of $200,000.00. Is a BA worth having that kind of debt hanging over your head??? :shock:



There is absolutely no reason in the world getting a BA should cost 200k. The average student loan debt is right around 20k. I would say 20k in debt is well worth a BA. Quoting something like this is like saying, I know a guy who had his head chopped off in Thailand by some criminals...do you really want to risk going to Thailand!???

lauracatherine

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  • Added on: December 6th, 2010
I'm a believer in that when a person wants advice, you're going to ask the people that you think will give you the advice/answer you need. You know what you want to do, go do it!

Have you tried talking to your coworkers about this? Like new friends that you trust? I would imagine that Whole Foods employees in Jersey are generally like the Whole Foods employees in Chicago, where I'm from. And I bet that quite a bit of them are travelers too. So maybe someone there could give you a somewhat different perspective.

And I'll re-iterate what someone previously posted. Are you going to regret staying at Whole Foods, in prep for a career instead of traveling? Or will you regret traveling and putting a hold on your career for a few months/years? The answer to that seems very simple to me.
"i'm on my way, don't know where i'm goin..."~Paul Simon, Me and Julio

Traveler_2007

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  • Added on: December 6th, 2010
Travelling itslef is a form of education. You can see how many welthy families are sending their kids to schools overseas, and in many cases they do that despite having great schools in their own countries. There is something in traveling...

Myslef, I learned quite a bit from various countries I visited and I've used that knowledge in business. Learned some more from going to school as well. No education would have made it imposible to get the great jobs that allowed me to travel. As now I am in a position where I hire others, I've seen time and time again how certain levels of educations will only get you so far...
How do you get the education is another story and every situation is differnt.

In my case even if I add all my traveling and schooling toghther I am not comming close to 200K.......yet! :)



busman7 wrote:let me play Devil's Advocate on the school situation. Just read on Yahoo news about a girl who just got her BA degree but along with it came a student loan bill of $200,000.00. Is a BA worth having that kind of debt hanging over your head??? :shock:

DavidAM

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  • Added on: December 7th, 2010
Thanks so much for the advice guys and gals!

Real quick... I do not want to work at Whole Foods and then realize I'm 42 and out of shape. When I mentioned that Whole Foods was a good job, I meant maybe I should milk it a little bit for 2 or 3 years and save up even more to travel for a few years. Whole Foods is allows people to start applying for promotions 6 months after starting. And there isn't much that's required, just a desire to learn and work. The benefits and the pay are great and raises can be pretty frequent if you want them to be. But I don't want to make this a career. Not at all. To be honest, I'm not really sure what I want my career to be. I'm not even sure I want one. And because of that, I'd rather not go to a 4-year institution and rack up 20-30k in debt for a degree in something that I chose just to choose something and get it over with. I was admitted to a 4 year and deferred a semester, but I'm considering withdrawing my acceptance and applying to a community college when I get back from traveling.

As for talking to anyone about this, my mom is adamant about me going to school, but I'm not gonna live my life by anyone's expectations but my own. I've already decided that and I'm a smart enough guy to make my own informed decisions. The reason I come on here and ask for any advice is because it's almost like a neutral and unbiased point of view. I can't talk to anyone at my job about this except maybe one person, but most people in the company talk about how they want to do all these things and travel and save the environment but they have to work and pay bills. And I'm still young and I don't have many obligations and I don't want kids and I'm single and I can do what I want right now. The people at work say things like, "I've been here for 9 years and it's amazing! I wouldn't leave this company for anything. If I wanted to travel, I'd work and save up vacation time." I'm sorry but I don't have the time or patience for that. The only time and patience I have is allocated for travel.

I'm more inclined to believe that you learn more from life experiences than just school alone. I've been out of school for 2 years now and I can keep up just fine with my friends who are taking physics and calculus. I've always been into Philosophy myself, but you can't do anything with that degree and I suck at writing. A lot of people thought that I would go to school for music but I grew out of music around senior year and could never see myself doing it seriously. I think I'm gonna stick to my plan. It's what feels right to do. Everything else feels extraneous to my life right now.
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

“A burning passion coupled with absolute detachment is the key to all success.”

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com

backlasher

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  • Added on: December 7th, 2010
My wife worked for a company that paid for their workers to go to school. I pushed her until she had an MBA. The reason for that was so she could get a good job if something happened to me or her job. No one knows the future and education gives you options.
On the other hand, no one knows the future so doing as much of what you want is smart because later you may not be able to do it. I'm retired and well enough off that I can travel and do most of the things I want to do but some guys I went to high school with are in wheelchairs or on a budget that excludes travel. When I was young, I thought I'd never get old but I'm glad it turned out the way it did.
If you don't know what you want to do for the rest of your life, I would advise you to wait on the education that will mandate what you do. Just don't wait too long.
"There's more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done."
Circle of Life - The Lion King

busman7

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  • Added on: December 7th, 2010
"it's what feels right to do" there is the answer to your question, do it.

Never could see spending 4 yrs more in school taking a degree, did spend 1 yr in a 2 yr diploma course but went back to truck driving, which paid as well as any job I would have gotten with either the dip or degree course. Ended up running my own business for 30 yrs, sold it & traveled for a couple years, took a TEFL course in Bangkok so I could supplement my income & travel more.

Recently bought a house in El Salvador as a base for more travel.

Did what I did because "it felt right"! Might have made more money by staying in school but would have missed out on many unique & challenging experiences. Have no regrets at all of the course I chose, :)

You can go back to school anytime so for now go with your feelings.
"Being normal? Ugh. I can't imagine how awful that must be" unknown

halfnine

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  • Added on: December 7th, 2010
my mom is adamant about me going to school, but I'm not gonna live my life by anyone's expectations but my own.


It's a good ideal to have. I take it you've moved out of the parent's house and aren't accepting any money from them, using them for a postal address, etc. Otherwise you're just talking the talk and not walking the walk.

I do not want to work at Whole Foods and then realize I'm 42 and out of shape


The only thing worse than that is waking up one day at 62 unemployed with no money and no skill sets.

We all have to figure out how to balance work and travel and also have enough money when we're old that we don't end up on the street corner. For those of us that aren't trust fund babies there is no free lunch. In the USA, one does not necessarily have to have a degree to succeed but one does have to work in order to succeed and often work hard. As great as travel is, I grew up the most when I had to make ends meet working long, hard hours and paying my own rent.

If I was in your shoes, I'd likely skip school for now and work for a year saving some money for travel. One year isn't going to kill you and the extra money and time will give you more options. Then I'd likely travel and do various jobs around the globe as I went. You may find that there are other countries that are better suited to you or you'd prefer to work in.

Traveler_2007

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  • Added on: December 7th, 2010
Interesting points below and great job in reaching out to differnt points of view. I have to admit this is one thread that I am very intersted in as it shows how many people are jumping in to provide advice to somebody who is looking for it. Also it is a case where more experinced resources reach out to help more junior resources....business talk.

It does prove a whole set of management theories and also how most people react when asked for help. They offer it!

DavidAM, that being said I would argue that just about earch reply is useful and so is the info/ advice you get from you mom, coworkers and the other folks you would rather not talk to about your plans. A common practice amongst succesful managers is to keep on their team, a few member with oposite points of view. They are good because they bring a different perspective to the problem at hand. Considering just the advice from this forum is probably not a good idea as just about everyone here is biased towards travel. Listening to the other camp alone, not smart either.

You said it just right in your latest post, make your own decisions, but please consider all the info available.

Good luck






DavidAM wrote:.......As for talking to anyone about this, my mom is adamant about me going to school, but I'm not gonna live my life by anyone's expectations but my own. I.............................. The reason I come on here and ask for any advice is because it's almost like a neutral and unbiased point of view. I can't talk to anyone at my job about this except maybe one person, but most people in the company talk about how they want to do all these things and travel and save the environment but they have to work and pay bills. ....................., "I've been here for 9 years and it's amazing! I wouldn't leave this company for anything.............................I'm more inclined to believe that you learn more from life experiences than just school alone. ................................ I think I'm gonna stick to my plan. It's what feels right to do. Everything else feels extraneous to my life right now.


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