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Thread: How bad am I shooting myself in the foot?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    How bad am I shooting myself in the foot?

    A lot of people might say I am simply because I'm studying Urban Planning, but that ship has sailed :).

    Disclaimer: I wasn't sure were to put this, but career development seemed like the most accurate section to make use of.

    Today I find myself at 25 years old. I just finished up my first semester of graduate school (Planning at Rutgers) and did pretty well.

    In ~2 years my fiance and I intend to get married, we even have a date set :D.

    After we get married in April '14 we were thinking about working for the next 8-10 months before embarking on a 6-10 month trip "around the world", right now it looks like it'll be Spain to Kenya to India to New Zealand (and nearby easily accesible countries). We're going on the cheap we'll be WWOOFing in all these places so that we don't have to pay for the roof over our heads and food. At least while we're not sight-seeing. Estimated cost is looking at ~8k for the whole trip (the Spain trip is free!).

    Anyway, I'm getting side tracked...

    How badly am I screwing myself by doing this?

    Coming back at 28 going on 29 to get my first real planning job. Although I've been interning since September of last year and right now have two internships at the same time. With this low projected increase in planning jobs in the next decade, coupled with an ever growing amount of people getting into the field I worry that I'm setting myself up for failure, or at least quite a difficult journey to landing my first planning job. It seems like a lot of the people I'm studying with want to be analysts of some sort, and not city/town land use planners so hopefully that is a common trend in other programs. It just hit me the other day how rough it is for planning right now, and the forseeable future.

    Am I worrying for nothing, or am I really setting myself up for a serious uphill battle upon my return? I wanted to see if I could land temporary planning internships or something relatable while I'm out there so I can say I develop work experience while I'm out there, but that seems rather difficult if not impossible.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    You're 25. Young. Go live your life, see the world, and have fun. Planning, while it can be fulfilling at times, is really just a desk job in the end. You have plenty of time for that when you return, and the economic situation 3-4 years from now is an unknown factor that you should not base life decisions around.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    GO! Travel, experience things, live life. If I was you I would not worry about it for one more second. You can always sit at a desk and earn a paycheck but you can't always travel the world with your new wife. Once you start working you're looking at two or three weeks/year max to travel. This pretty much precludes a trip around the world. I could go on for three paragraphs about your choice but I've already said it. Just go and have fun!
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    My take as an avid traveller: you better do it now, because your next opportunity will probably be when you're 65+ years old (assuming you're financially able to then). As others have said, you are young and have the rest of your life to work. While you can build vacation time at work over the span of a few years, it is often logistically impossible to take more than 2-3 weeks at any given time.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman GŲring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I'm honestly in a similar situation. I'm 25, received my masters, and have an okay permanent position now. I'm likely going to leave the position for the Peace Corps next spring. I just figured I'm not really tied down currently and likely won't have an opportunity to do something like that again, so why not? I've given it a ton of thought and can honestly see no down side to doing it except I'm giving up a stable job in this economy.

    Basically if traveling is something you really want to do. Go for it. I feel it's better to live life with no regrets if at all possible. If you settle down, you likely won't have a chance to do something like that again. And who knows, the experience could open some doors for you that you never expected.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    If traveling is that important to you, go do it.

    Just don't complain about your job prospects when you get back.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Go. Enjoy life. More life experience is a good thing. Not a lot of planners can experience what planning is like in other countries. You can at least sightsee foreign cities and know a bit more than most when you get back. I not only have never been to Spain, I haven't been to Oklahoma.

    There is plenty of time in your life to work on a career. Life is for living. Once you are back, you can start a career and before you know it, there will be kids and a mortgage, car loans, student loans, college funds, IRAs, etc. You won't have the time, money or energy to travel long and far.

    GO GO GO
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  8. #8
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    I don't like btrage's comment. I don't think you would complain when you returned. The reality of planning is there are so few jobs now it's not like you're missing out on anything you need to do RIGHT NOW!! Do people regret things they did or things they didn't do? Has anyone ever regretted traveling the world with his wife instead of sitting at a desk? You may set yourself back a few step raises because you started a few years later but I would gladly trade a few step raises for a 10 month trip around the world.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I also say go do it if you can. You are correct to think that it will create a hole in your resume, but at your age (and I know you donít feel young, but to many of us, we see there are many lifetimes for you still to live) I think that is entirely reparable and who can replace those experiences? Plus itís a lot better than saying you spent the last 10 months sitting in your parents basement playing video games. Its certainly possible that an employer will see that positively. Life is not just about working, career, etc. I spent a year and a half living abroad in Uganda (which is you are going to Kenya, I would recommend visiting!) and donít regret it one bit.

    I went back to school for planning in my late 30ís. So, if you are worried about trying to begin work as a planner at 29, I can tell you a few storiesÖ But really, its entirely doable and I donít regret my course in life either. Again, those traveling experiences will change your life and you will never forget them. But once you are working, married, buy a house perhaps, maybe have kids, all of that becomes much more difficult.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  10. #10
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    I don't like btrage's comment. I don't think you would complain when you returned. The reality of planning is there are so few jobs now it's not like you're missing out on anything you need to do RIGHT NOW!! Do people regret things they did or things they didn't do? Has anyone ever regretted traveling the world with his wife instead of sitting at a desk? You may set yourself back a few step raises because you started a few years later but I would gladly trade a few step raises for a 10 month trip around the world.
    All I'm saying is if traveling is important, go do it now. You just can't complain about your job prospects when you get back. Perhaps there won't be any problems getting a job. But it would be unfair to do that and then also think it's okay to complain. I'm just sick of hearing people complain.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    All I'm saying is if traveling is important, go do it now. You just can't complain about your job prospects when you get back. Perhaps there won't be any problems getting a job. But it would be unfair to do that and then also think it's okay to complain. I'm just sick of hearing people complain.
    I'm not going to complain about it one bit. It might suck, but I'm definitely not gonna whine about it. Hell it might suck even if didn't go, so then I'd be double bummed.

    I just wanted to get an idea and see if this was something that is likely going to significantly impact my career prospects. I'm resume building my butt off right now, and have no intention to stop until I go one this trip. I can only hope that it'll help me land that first position.

    Also, thanks everyone, your support has helped focus me a little. I'm thinking on moving the trip up ahead a little, something about 28 scares the hell out of me. If I could get going trying to find work at 27 I'd feel so much better. Again, thanks to all of you.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    I reiterate others' advice above: TRAVEL.

    I traveled extensively when young and even lived overseas for a time. It is much harder to travel when older (I am traveling now for work (and taking a break from writing at this moment before I go to the beach and come back and write some more)), and I've had to take a nap every day and had to go to bed early last night. I will say that being older makes you appreciate what you see and makes it easier to do many things, but physically travel is harder than when young.

    But being young without kids and traveling with a young, attractive, interesting woman/person? Doesn't get better than that, my friend. Nothing is better than that. Nothing. Did I say nothing? Tip: sit and stay for a while in a cool place. Don't buzz through as if you are the Tasmanian Devil. Relax and enjoy and learn.

    Plus, the right employer for you will find it interesting you traveled for a year. Worked for me anyways, and several of my friends as well.

    Do it. Go git 'em!
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    I reiterate others' advice above: TRAVEL.

    I traveled extensively when young and even lived overseas for a time. It is much harder to travel when older (I am traveling now for work (and taking a break from writing at this moment before I go to the beach and come back and write some more)), and I've had to take a nap every day and had to go to bed early last night. I will say that being older makes you appreciate what you see and makes it easier to do many things, but physically travel is harder than when young.

    But being young without kids and traveling with a young, attractive, interesting woman/person? Doesn't get better than that, my friend. Nothing is better than that. Nothing. Did I say nothing? Tip: sit and stay for a while in a cool place. Don't buzz through as if you are the Tasmanian Devil. Relax and enjoy and learn. Plus, the right employer for you will find it interesting you traveled for a year. Worked for me anyways, and several of my friends as well.

    Do it. Go git 'em!
    Definitely not rushing through anywhere. We're going to be able to swing the trip on the cheap because we'll be working on organic farms to keep us fed and a roof over our head. Then towards the tail end of our time in a place we'll make a move to visit the typical tourist stuff. She just spent last fall At two farms in Italy and then I came over for the last week or so and we hit the touristy stuff in Rome and Florence together.

    Now doing some reading on the places we want to go and getting scared of Malaria. Thinking maybe of switching to Morocco instead of Kenya. We could take a ferry to Morocco from Spain and that seems super cool!

  14. #14
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    I just want to reiterate what others have said! Go while you can! You have the rest of your life to sit at a desk and worry about work, chores and mortgage payments!! Not only will travel be a great experience it will change you in ways that you cannot imagine. I believe that my time travelling when I was young shaped me to who I am - which has vastly increased my skills and ability to work. Life experience is important to employers too - You will be able to show them that you have practical life awareness added to the theoretical skills you gained through school! Don't underestimate the school of the world!!! Have fun and learn from life!

  15. #15
    I don't think you'll find anyone older than you who will say you're shooting yourself in the foot. We all have obligations, families, mortgages, etc., and there's only a brief period in your life when you can go and do that kind of thing. As others have said, go and live your life and do what you want to do. You'll have plenty of time to work in a cubicle for the rest of your days.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ddomin4360 View post

    Now doing some reading on the places we want to go and getting scared of Malaria. Thinking maybe of switching to Morocco instead of Kenya. We could take a ferry to Morocco from Spain and that seems super cool!
    Get some shots. Take some meds. Don't fail to do something out of fear.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Get some shots. Take some meds. Don't fail to do something out of fear.
    I agree. I lived in Uganda for a year and half. Don't be scared. You do need to take meds to protect yourself, but many many people travel to Kenya every year with no problems. Its very worthwhile to invest in a treated, portable mosquito net. You can use it in any malarial zone (from Latin America to Africa to parts of Asia), its light and very effective. A great deal of the world is in a malarial zone. We just returned from 2 weeks in Belize and its even in parts of that country (and we were in those areas, with kids). I would just advise NOT taking Larium. There are other options.

    All that being said, I actually did get malaria when I was in Uganda. But it was unusual circumstances. I was taking two types of meds (they have a chloroquine resistant strain there) and during homestays in a village was not able to access the daily ones for a few evenings (we had been ushered off to events and so were not near our things). I got, it sucked, but it didn't last long once it was identified and it is treatable. With two days of treatment (a 5 foot Irish nun at a hospice shot my butt full of chloroquine) I was playing soccer.

    You'll need a number of shots and vaccinations before you go and so your travel doc/nurse will cover all of this. It can be a little worrisome when you leave their office because they give you all the worst case scenarios and it will seem like travel outside the US means certain death. But, really, many of these concerns you are as likely to get in the US as traveling abroad (water borne illnesses, certain forms of hepatitis). Its easy to worry. But much more fun to go! Keep your eyes on the prize...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Go hither

    I graduated from Rutgers and didn't get my first planning job until I was 28. But I didn't go on a world trip. I was doing other things like getting my second degree and working. All in all a round-the-world trip sounds pretty friggin' awesome. I say go for it. Just make sure to keep your eyes, ears and mind open and learn a thing or two in your travels (not that it sounds like you need that advice).

    Come to think of it, pack me up and take me with you!
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Tobinn View post
    I graduated from Rutgers and didn't get my first planning job until I was 28. But I didn't go on a world trip. I was doing other things like getting my second degree and working. All in all a round-the-world trip sounds pretty friggin' awesome. I say go for it. Just make sure to keep your eyes, ears and mind open and learn a thing or two in your travels (not that it sounds like you need that advice).

    Come to think of it, pack me up and take me with you!
    Cool. What did you get your second degree in?

    After sitting down and talking for a while we decided to put the wedding off until after the trip in order to maximize money for the trip, and to be able to go earlier. So now it looks like Jan/Feb 2014 will be our starting point, and it makes me feel a lot happier to be trying to land a job at 27.

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