Why Taking That £40K Grad Job May Not Be Worth It

A couple of weeks ago this news broke. If you didn’t catch it, an investment banking intern collaspsed and died following three back-to-back days of straight work.

Shocking stuff , but it really drove home an important point that I feel a lot of recent graduates have either been in recently or currently find themselves in right now. Namely deciding what the hell we want to do with ourselves.

For many of us we are being forced to make an enormous decision about our careers after years and years of following a very defined path of school and university. As we stand triumphantly as recent graduates we feel like we can do almost anything, but that abundance of choice and figuring out which one is the right one to pick can be overwhelming. The huge temptation is to chase the highest pay packet. Go where the money is. Of course! Nice holidays, fancy bars, expensive restaurants – sounds pretty damn good.

What we don’t see on the surface is that these jobs are often highly paid for a good reason. Underneath the enticing yet cryptically vague job descriptions almost certainly lies a tonne of work. Repetitive and hard work.

Show me a £40K grad job advert that boasts “insight into a range of industries” and I’ll show you the 20 industry spreadsheets whose manual updating will now constitute your waking life. You may be putting yourself in the firing line of relentless deadlines, punishing hours and work you don’t find interesting.

At this point in our lives I’d say that developing ourselves is most crucial. The smarter people will find the opportunities that maximise learning and making connections; they will worry about the money later. Ironically those who do this are more likely to become mega-wealthy later on (if money is what you want).

Alan Watts puts it pretty well. Watching this is 3 mins well spent.