When I finished University with my degree last July I decided I needed a well earned break from education and employment. I had kept a part-time job throughout my time in higher education and therefore had some savings to get me through the summer months. So much to my parents disapproval I moved home with no plans to pick up employment until at least September.
This break from work wasn’t just me being lazy. I have been in either part-time or full time work since the age of 13, and after the stress of an undergraduate degree I needed some time off to really think about my next steps. I have always wanted to go travelling after Universiry but being a year older than the rest of my University cohort (having already taken one gap year) made me wonder whether or not I could afford to take another. What if I got back and I was unemployable? Didn’t have enough experience? I’m sure that many recent graduates go through this crisis (most of my friends did); having been plonked into the big wide world of work alone, with not much clue about what to do with the rest of my life. You always have this vision that by the end of University your career will be sorted; but this was far from the case in my position.
By the end of summer I had decided that I just had to travel. I had to get it out of my system before starting a career, saving up for a house and having responsibilities. After a summer that drunk me dry of what little savings remained, I needed to find a way of saving money while also gaining worthwhile experience so that when I did return to the UK, I would have some form of graduate work under my belt.
I also knew that I couldn’t remain living at home. I love my home and I love my family, but after living under my own rules for three years the summer made me realise that going back to my parents’ long term wasn’t an option. So I started my job search in Devon instead, a county I know and love. I moved in with some local friends I had made in Exeter through my University part-time job at a restaurant and picked up full time hours there while I searched for a graduate position elsewhere.
Come October I managed to secure a years graduate contract with a big local organisation, which has allowed me to earn my first yearly salary and learn enough transferable skills for me to shake a stick at. I also made the decision to stay in my restaurant job as well, and for the past 8 months I have been working 2 jobs doing anything from 45-70 hours a week depending on my shifts and how busy my jobs are.
Everyone thinks I’m mad. ‘How do you do it?!‘ is a very common comment when I reveal how much I work. And sometimes I think the same thing to be quite honest, especially when I go a week or so with no full days off at all. But the truth is I don’t know if I would know how to do anything else. I have always had a job on the side of my education and therefore this is not much different from the last ten years of my life; I’m used to it. But I also don’t have a choice right now. I’m saving up for the trip of a lifetime and without two jobs there is no way I would hit my target.
So how do I stay sane working two jobs? It does help that I don’t have that many friends left in the South West, meaning I’m not regularly missing out on social events (sad I know but it does help me stay work focussed). But I also make sure that I have a long weekend every so often so that I can go home and see family and friends to get my social fix. I make sure I get as much sleep as possible and chill out on some of my evenings and days off so that I can catch up on odd jobs around the house and recharge my batteries.
But most of all I stay sane by writing about my past travel experiences on here and planning my future trips; doing intricate research into destinations and activities to make sure that when I do go away I’m able to get most of out it. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I know that this is a temporary fix to get me where I want to be next year. It will be all worth it in the end and that is all that matters.