Guest Blog: Christine Hassler on "Smart Slacking"
Christine Hassler is a life coach and speaker, and she's author of the new book 20 Something Manifesto. In the following excerpt from her book, Hassler describes the art of “smart slacking.” To learn more about her writings and programs, visit christinehassler.com.
By Christine Hassler
You aren’t a slacker for not jumping immediately into the résumé ring of fire. There is nothing wrong with taking time to transition, as long as you do it with responsibility and integrity (i.e., pay your bills and don’t sit around in coffee shops all day longing for college while mooching off your parents). If the ocean of adulthood is making you queasy, practice “smart” slacking: put aside the “What am I going to do with my life?” questions and experience life (and yourself) a little more.
After a college life of reading Nietzsche, pondering Big Questions, doing what we enjoy, and living in a hive of our peers — what job wouldn’t be a letdown? If we aren’t even sure what kind of career we want, then there’s even less chance we’ll find deeply satisfying employment immediately after school. Sometimes a better approach is to take a job that seems reasonably interesting and that will keep you financially afloat until motivation and clarity return. When this segue stops working, you’ll know it.
Smart-Slacking Game Plan
“Smart slacking” won’t become “slacking off” if you follow this game plan. Above all, don’t feel guilty for giving yourself time to take it easy — doing so will most likely help you feel more focused because you’ve had time to adjust. It’s like mountain climbing: you don’t jog to the top the first day. Instead, you start out slow to give yourself time to adjust to the altitude, otherwise you’ll run out of breath and never make it.
Feel free to expand or amend the following suggestions (possibly with the help of a trusted adviser or mentor) to create a smart-slacking game plan that fits you:
- Designate the length of your transition time — I recommend six months to a year. At the end of this time, set a clear goal or action, such as to start applying for or perhaps to have gotten a career-track job.
- Get a “noncareer” job that pays the bills and gets you out in the world, meeting people and being part of society.
- Organize your money: set up a checking account and a savings account with interest, and consolidate your credit cards and other debt as much as you can.
- Create a budget to live by, and stick to it! Avoid ignoring or adding debt.
- Live on your own. Find an apartment you can afford, or if you live with your parents, pay them rent.
- Get health insurance. Research plans and enroll in one for the length of your transition time. If you are still on your parents plan, pay them the monthly coverage fee.
- Get out of your comfort zone: date, go out, and have fun!
- Explore the world in new ways: volunteer, travel, surprise and challenge yourself.
- As you come across cool jobs and meet interesting people, find out more about them. Set up informational interviews. Don’t worry if you pursue things that have no relation to anything you’ve been interested in before.
- As you get inspired, work on your résumé; perhaps hire a résumé consultant to help you polish it.
- Stay in the employment loop by casually “window shopping” for jobs, seeing what’s out there without the pressure to have to find something. If something appeals to you, apply without expecting to be hired.
- Exercise, breathe, and enjoy your smart slacking — take advantage of this unique time and your freedom to explore! It’ll be over before you know it.