Career Advice to My Daughter on Graduation Day

Next Avenue’s Work & Volunteering blogger offers tips for college graduates entering the job market

by Nancy Collamer • Next Avenue
nancy collamer with daughter juliana collamer image
Photograph: Photo courtesy of Joel Collamer

On Sunday, my youngest daughter, Juliana, will graduate from George Washington University with a bachelor of science degree in public health. She will then start a job as executive director of Volunteers on Call, a nonprofit based in Greenwich, Conn., that promotes volunteerism and philanthropy. Here is my letter to Juliana in honor of her special day; I hope that you will share it with the special graduates in your life.

Dear Juliana,
 
Four years have passed since you graduated from high school. Back then, I wrote you a letter urging you to take advantage of all that your George Washington University experience would offer. Five internships, a semester of study abroad, countless all-nighters and one presidential inaugural ball later, it’s clear you took that advice to heart. Well done, my dear!
 
To bookend that letter, I thought I’d offer a few more words of wisdom – this time about the world of work. I hope this advice serves you well as you cross the threshold from college to career:
 
Live beneath your means. I’m starting with money advice because career flexibility is directly tied to your financial health.
 
Juliana, as excited as you are about starting your new job, there will come a day when you’ll be ready to make a change. I can’t predict when that will be, but I guarantee you’ll find it easier to maneuver if you’ve put aside money to support yourself during the transition.

(MORE: Mothers, Teach Your Daughters to Save For Retirement)

So, be frugal. (Yes, I know we've already told you this!) Make saving for your future a priority beginning with your first paycheck, even if you can only sock away a few dollars each week.

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