There’s No Such Thing As The “Real World”

Four years ago, during the last semester of my senior year in college, I hit the job hunt hard.

Almost every weekend, I drove home for a job interview, looking for that perfect web/Flash developer position waiting for me in Chicago. And there were a few offered to me. I accepted one that sounded great. Mission accomplished.

And then I graduated from college, moved back home, and BAM!

A really depressing thought descended on me: I would be sitting behind a desk from Monday to Friday for the next 40+ years. The only days I could take a break were the days my employer designated as holidays or the days they’d so graciously given me as vacation time. Or I could just get sick. A lot.

The template was awaiting me. So far I had progressed perfectly. I’d successfully completed grade school, middle school, high school, and college, and had successfully secured a well paying entry level job in my career path of choice. The “real world” awaited.

But then what?

Life. That’s what. That really depressing thought turned out to be the most liberating thought I’d ever had up until that point. I realized I now had the rest of my life to do what I pleased with. A wide open canvas full of opportunity.

Sound too mushy for you?

Too bad. It’s the truth.

And it’s not just me. It’s you, it’s my brother still in college, it’s my own 8 month old son. Life after school is what we make of it. Nothing more, nothing less.

You can choose the type of work you do after college.
You can choose to get married or date or stay single after college.
You can choose to love Mondays, hate Fridays, or treat every day the same after college.
You can choose to work your way up the corporate ladder or live off nothing working on the next big startup.

That’s the beauty of it. It’s entirely up to you. And there isn’t a right or wrong answer. If any of those four options sound like something you’d love to be doing, then absolutely go do it. The point is that it’s up to you, not the “real world”.

John Mayer was right. There’s no such thing as the real world. It’s just a lie you have to rise above.


For this post by Tim Jahn, YouTern thanks our friends at U30Pro!

About the Author: Tim Jahn is the co-founder of Entreprenenurs Unpluggd, a website and intimate event series for entrepreneurs.  He’s conducted over 120 interviews with creative entrepreneurs to learn from their successes, failures, and love for creating.

Tim is also a co-organizer of Ignite Chicago, a contributor to Tech Cocktail and Crain’s Chicago Business, and a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council.

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