Moving home after college: The right move?

Heading off to college is beyond exciting: the freedom of unsupervised living, the thrill of building your own schedule, making your own choices. After four years of learning and growing and living, you’ve got a degree and a skill set and you’re ready for something even bigger.

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That’s why the idea of moving back home to live with your family can be the ultimate post-graduation bummer. You don’t want a step backwards – you want to keep heading onward and upward. But before you throw out the idea, take a deep breath and weigh your options- really weigh them. There’s a lot to consider here, and what feels like a step backwards may just be the move you need to get established.

The family angle

Your family wants to see you succeed. If they’re encouraging you to come home after college, we know this for sure: it’s because they want to give you every advantage possible. Inviting you back to your old bedroom (or a basement, or even a nice comfy sofa) isn’t an insult. It’s an opportunity.

  • Establish some ground rules and everyone will benefit. Is it okay to have people over? Do you need to pick up some chores to help out? Do you need to send a quick text if you’re going to be out all night? Who’s going to pay for groceries? Utilities?
  • Talk about timelines. If you want to limit your stay to six months (or a year, 2 years, etc.), be honest about that. It’s also okay to be flexible – maybe you won’t have the savings you need after six months and you’ll want an extension.

Finances and saving

The single most compelling reason to move home after college is that it offers an opportunity to build up savings, reduce debt, and get your finances in order while you work towards starting a career.

  • Priority 1 must absolutely be finding work. Whether you’re unemployed or you’re already working at a job outside of your chosen field, every bit of energy should go towards your job search. Network. Go to events. Work on your resume. Volunteer. Your living situation won’t be this inexpensive forever, so take advantage!
  • Moving into an apartment will likely cost about 3x the amount of one month’s rent. In some cities, that means many thousands of dollars saved. Take a look at your timeline and figure out what you need to do to get there. In the meanwhile, put some money (a conservative amount!) at a professional wardrobe.
  • Remember that if you’ve borrowed money for college, your grace period is likely to expire while you’re living at home. Your budget should include repayment. Before buying anything new, make sure you understand what you will have to pay each month towards your student debt. Paying off more than you minimum monthly payment each month is a VERY wise move. If you’ve considered refinancing or consolidation, this is the time to take care of it.

An exit strategy

  • If you’re concerned that time at home is going to be so great you’ll never want to leave, no worries. This is a pitstop on the way to your continued independence, and it’s a normal, typical step for college grads. You’ll soon be on your way.
  • Remember to show gratitude for the opportunity to live cheaply. Your family’s love and support are important, and they have to outweigh the little annoyances that are bound to come with cohabitating after your time at school.

Make the most of your time at home. It’s a unique opportunity to save money and get established!

Top reasons you’ll succeed in the “real world”

There’s no magic formula for success. But there are common threads shared by every successful person. Replicate these same patterns when you can, because these are the reasons that you’ll build the life you want.

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You have the support you need

You have a group of friends, family members, or both in your corner. That doesn’t mean that they support every decision, or that you can expect a life free of criticism. It means that when the going gets tough, someone is there to listen to you vent, go for coffee, or offer a couch to crash on. Keep those people close and make sure they know they’re important to you, because all successful people have a tight-knit network to lean on.

You work hard

Every. Single. Time. You pick yourself up when things go poorly and you try again. You study, you show up, you commit. Yeah, this is the stuff you’ve heard since you were a kid, and there’s a reason – it works. All successful people work hard – even the smartest, luckiest among us have to put in a day’s work if they want to get ahead.

You hit the books

Sure, there are success stories about college dropouts who make billions. But those people become legends precisely because they are uncommon. Most success stories start with solid academics and coursework designed to support career advancement. There are successful people all over this country with high school equivalency degrees. There are more of them with college degrees.

You choose your path wisely

Your first job matters. If it stinks, okay. You’ll move on to something better. But if you’re equipped to land a great first job and are able to turn that into a platform for job growth, you’re already winning this race. Make sure to use every resource at your disposal to land a good first position out of college, and you’ll reap the rewards later.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Trod the path worn by successful people before you – these are the reasons you’ll succeed.

Start your career out by landing an internship that could turn into a full-time opportunity. Connect with employers and search for positions at www.bridge.jobs.

Steps to training a new employee [Employers]

Onboarding a new employee or intern is a process that deserves plenty of serious consideration. Do it wrong, and you’ll spend a lot of unnecessary time and energy correcting problems and re-training, assuming that your new hire stays on long enough to give you the chance. But do it right and you’ll add a confident, fully-equipped hire to your team.

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Develop an onboarding process

This is not the time to “wing it.”

  • By the time your new arrives at the office on day 1, she should have already received necessary paperwork, access to company payroll and email interfaces, and links to helpful websites.
  • Your staff should know somebody new is joining the team well ahead of time, so they can be welcoming and provide plenty of assistance during those crucial first weeks. Send around an email with some background info and don’t be shy about asking important key folks for extra help.
  • Provide a specific agenda to your new hire that outlines what these first few weeks will look like. Include active training opportunities and meetings, a list of important phone numbers and email addresses, and a list of frequently asked questions.

Set reasonable expectations

Tensions run high during the first week weeks and months of a new job. Your new hire is nervous, excited, and eager to please. She’s also completely confused, overwhelmed, and probably not getting much sleep. Let her know early on when she can expect her first evaluation and what, precisely, you’ll be evaluating. Set serious expectations and demand hard work, but be reasonable and flexible and anticipate bumps in the road during this first stage of employment. Show your team how to lead with flexibility and encouragement.

Provide a steady stream of feedback

  • If you have concerns or constructive criticism, by all means provide that information early in the game. But strike a balance by leading with positive feedback. Compare these two statements: “Alex, we want to see those sales numbers doubled next month!” “Alex, you’re shaping up to be a sales superstar! At this rate, we expect to see you double these numbers next month!”
  • Make sure new hires are challenged. The first few weeks aren’t the time for people to flounder at their desks or on the sales floor, observing and standing around. Make sure that there is always a job to do, even if it’s taking notes during a meeting or sitting in on a call to see how things are done. Ask your new hire to do something challenging, and then provide timely feedback, remembering to lead with that positive reinforcement even if things are rough.

With the right leadership, any new hire can quickly be brought up to speed and add value and strength to your team.

Why internships are beneficial to all students

If you are thinking of forgoing a college internship before you graduate, you may want to think again. Internships provide great real-world experience to students and help supplement material learned in the classroom. And if that is not enough to get you started on your internship search, consider this – internships make you more desirable to employers. The knowledge you gain helps you develop your skills and even teaches you how to succeed in the professional world, traits employers look for in future hires.

As the current marketing intern at RISLA, I know first hand how internships can help prepare you for full-time work. There are many things that students don’t encounter in the classroom, which is one of many reasons why you should get an internship before you graduate.

The below infographic (I created this during my internship – see, preparation!) will help you know what to expect beforehand and be prepared to succeed.

Now that you are convinced you need to get an internship, check out bridge.jobs for over 100 internship opportunities in Rhode Island!

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How to choose which job to take

For most students, getting any job offer is a big deal. The job market is tough! There’s tons of competition and most students and recent grads have little to offer in the way of substantive experience. But let’s say you’re one of the lucky ones, and you have not one, but multiple employment opportunities from which to choose. How do you decide which job is the right job?

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Don’t make the mistake of taking this decision lightly! A job is a long-term commitment, and leaving too soon or under bad circumstances can cause considerable problems down the road. Here’s what we suggest:

1. Money talks

There’s no question that your finances should be on your list of considerations. By no means are we suggesting that you take the position with the highest salary if that is all it has going for it. But unless you’re in a position to be flexible – you live with six roommates or your parents and have no student loan debt – you’re going to have to support yourself and most likely pay down student debt. Think about how much you need to survive (start by putting together a simple budget), and then increase that figure by 10% – that’s the minimum you need. Your “quality of life,” which is essentially a term used to describe your access to disposable income, is determined by how much money you have left over after paying your expenses. Want to drive a fancy European car? Well, you’re going to need to earn more. Don’t care, because this is just your first job and you’re comfortable on a budget? Good to know! Think about what’s financially important to you and how your financial goals line up with your other life goals.

2. Think long-term

Not all jobs are going to function as a springboard to success. Some of them are just that – jobs. They pay the bills, they give you something to talk about on your resume, and they give you a place to hang that hard-earned diploma. But even entry-level work can position you for great next steps; you just need to consider all your angles. Sales jobs, retail, office management: each of these offers a building block if you’re savvy and opportunistic. Think about your long-term plans and figure out what you can learn now, then take advantage!

3. Demographics and location

How big is the company? How many people will be in your department or on your team? If you want opportunity for advancement, look to the bigger organizations. Want intimacy and a boss that you can actually know? Go smaller. What’s the ratio of entry-level to management professionals? What’s the company culture? How old are most of the folks at your level, and what is the standard level of education / experience required to move up?

Don’t stop with just personnel – think about location, too. How close are you to amenities that are important to you? Do you want to be downtown or in the easily-accessed suburbs? What’s your commute, and are you close to public transportation? Where will you park, eat lunch, or stop at the grocery store in the way home?

Your happiness with your new position will depend on more than just your pay and your boss, so take all of these factors into consideration when choosing between options. It’s okay to ask questions during the interview process (just avoid questions about salary and benefits during your first meeting!) and you can ask for a reasonable amount of time to weigh your options!

Choose wisely, and get to work!

How to create a desirable workplace

Keeping your employees happy can certainly feel like a tall order. Let’s be completely honest here: you’re never going to have a perfectly oiled machine. It’s impossible to completely eradicate the frustrations and sometimes resentment that come with a hierarchy. What you can do is to bring employees together and encourage camaraderie, to demonstrate respect for their lives outside of work, and to offer incentives and perks that create buzz and inspire loyalty.

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Encourage teamwork

Bringing your staff together, interns included, will inevitably boost morale in the office. Do it after hours or during the work day, but do it regularly.

  • Encourage happy hour outings or lunches out. If the budget allows, throw in for a round or a few appetizers. If your business is very small, by all means join in. If you’re at the top of bigger pyramid, bow out and give your staff a chance to hang out without you. They’ll appreciate your efforts with you outside of the office. Give them a chance to relax.
  • Fund team-building efforts. If that means a weekend of ropes courses and trust falls, perfect. For a smaller company, there’s no need to spend a fortune. Look into occasional brewery tours or potluck picnics in a local park complete with ice-breakers and spouses/partners.

Respecting lives outside of work

You know how busy you are, and how your work and family and interests and responsibilities pull you in a thousand directions at once, every day? The same holds true for every single one of your employees. Just knowing that they’re busy, stressed-out people isn’t quite enough. You need to show them that you understand how tough it is to juggle everything at once.

  • When you can, work around reasonable requests for flexibility in work schedule. The best practice is to talk openly about this. Don’t grant requests that you don’t think are important, but explain to your staff that you want to help and that you care about them. Most employers never bother. Set yourself apart.
  • Recognize achievements. This is an easy one, and it’s worth the effort. When somebody has a baby or gets engaged, send flowers. When your receptionist places 10th in the local 5k, send around an email congratulating her on her hard work. Make a quick calendar of birthdays and be sure that you offer something – even if it’s just an expensive latte delivered by the boss.

Create buzz

If you want to inspire people to work for you, give them something to talk about!

  • Get your organization, and your staff, involved in the local community. Service days, clothing or food drives, and fundraisers for local organizations are all easy ways to show you’re about more than just business.
  • If your team is big enough, start just that: a team. Check out local rec leagues – common offerings include dodgeball, softball, and kickball. If that’s no good for your group, how about a 5k walk/run for a local charity? Set up a practice schedule after work and make sure you participate, too!
  • Inspire loyalty by rewarding loyalty. If you have a top staff member, make sure everyone in the office sees that person’s value, and the reward for that value. Reward more than just sales – leadership, longevity, and innovation are all valuable contributions to your organization. Treat them as such, and make your accolades public.

There’s no deep secret to creating a desirable workplace. It’s all in the details, and it’s all possible.