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Finishing college in 2 months, thinking beyond - What is the next step? (LONG)

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I'm sorry for this being long, but I have a lot on my mind and need some feedback.


I am 23 and in my last semester at a small, private performing arts college, an education paid for entirely by my loving parents. Before attending the school I am at now, I was a student at a community college for 2 years, but didn't quite finish my Associates (I had dropped/failed a few classes during those two years and wasn't meeting the standards for credits necessary to attain the degree in 2 years), an education also paid for by my parents. I am very serious about music and have already made some serious connections.


My career path is in music performance, though I am completely aware of the fact that it will most likely take time for me to depend primarily on the music for income. 3 1/2 years ago, my family opened a business - a live music venue and restaurant - and being someone who didn't have a part-time job before, I was reeled in to working there. I mainly have dishwashing experience, but have also gained some skill as an assistant prep cook, bartender, and janitor. Working there, though hardly part-time (part of it is laziness/not wanting to work, heavy school demands, et cetera), has been my only experience with work. I have not had any other paid jobs, aside from having some (and getting some) music gigs under my belt.


The money I have always made working for this family business (more or less) is has always been just enough to get by. Sometimes I work a max of 10 hours a week, often a little less, and on minimum wage plus some tips. That said, I still live at home. I am not ashamed of the fact that I still live with my parents, but it's getting old, and fast. I feel a strong need to move out soon. It's time I start to become more independent. Other areas of my life are moving on and changing, but I need to move on (or out) soon in this regard.


Seeing as I've never paid a month's rent before, I understand that I cannot afford to be lazy anymore. Right now, I'm just focused on getting through these next two months at school, and then sky's the limit. However, I'm already getting anxious to focus more on money. I just do not know what this next step should be. I mean, in the coming weeks I will be be more involved in booking the bands/artists, something that I will certainly get paid to do. I just don't know if the combination of a significant amount of the daytime spent on booking and leaving certain evenings open for work (doing the minimum wage work, since the business hasn't broken even yet, so I am unable to get paid more in that regard) will be enough to support myself living on my own. In addition to the work for the business, I am also going to be more proactive with getting gigs as a musician, which are slowly starting to come. I just haven't had time to really promote and go out and network with the demands of school.


Most music gigs pay more in one night than what I'd make at the restaurant (though come and go/are freelanced), but as someone on the payroll at the restaurant, my family (well, mother) insists that I stick with and be available for work in the evening -- often in direct conflict with the time of most music gigs.


I don't want to abandon the close-knit team that I work in the evening, but I also have to start making business/financial decisions, and the fact that I'm getting super burnt out doing the same old tasks (especially dishwashing). If I give the evenings priority for the restaurant, I am potentially losing performance/gig opportunities. If I give the evenings priority to gigs, then my family gets let down because that's one less person to help out during run time. However, the plan at this point is to focus the daytime on the booking (if it works out), which again will pay more than minimum wage, and figure the best thing to do for the evenings. And part of me wants to get a resume together and apply for a day gig that is not in the restaurant industry, which I am getting tired of.


There's always some kind of drama going on at the restaurant. I'm not one to start drama, so it's getting on my nerves. The drama there is burning me out, my tasks there are burning me out, school is burning me out, et cetera.


I'm the kind of person who has always had issues standing up for myself and being clear with my decisions. But at 23 and almost a college graduate, it's bringing me down to keep being passive and letting others make important decisions for me. But the again, I honestly do not know what is best for me. Does that make sense? I am just asking for feedback. I want to take the next step here, but not sure how to go about it.


There are so many emotions involved in this issue, because I am very close to my mother and father. I feel close and care a lot about them (they've given me so much), but right now I just feel like I have to get away from them and establish myself independent of them. My mother is also going through a mid-life/identity crisis of sorts, so the last thing I want to do is cause hurt. At the same time, I can't let anyone else make important decisions for me like I am 12 years old. I'm just reaching a point in which I need to change. My social life is great and had a girlfriend for 5 months (recently ended, which is a symptom of how I feel right now). I have grown so much in many ways, but on the other hand, there are still obvious weaknesses that need to be conquered. It's just hard to know how to deal with this so that I don't severe relationships or let others be in control of who I am and what I want to do in order to attain my goals.


I've lived in the same city and practically in the same house my whole life. I'm so used to being sheltered, but I'm getting tired of the same old same old. I want to live on my own, meet women, find someone new, greatly expand my social life, not fear work, get some consistent gigs, experience a different city/state, do all these things. I've put in an incredible amount of time and energy into my music and am setting myself up for success in one regard, but it's not going to happen right away.

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Well it depends on your priorities. I think the best idea would be to at least wait two months to move out and then make the transition over the summer. Realize you might be living frugal and a bit rough, but it could definitely be doable. If you want to do that though, the time to start looking and planning is now.


You don't have to make a million changes at once. If you are close with your family, I would suggest staying relatively close by (within an hour if possible). You can always move farther away later but then there is still a bit of a safety net.


Right now finishing school has to be your top thing on the list. If that means moving out 2 months later, it is for the best in the end. Start lining up extra work NOW, so that once summer comes, you have a full time job to look forward to. Save up some money and then when the time comes make the move. Sadly, in my opinion.. for the next two months I think you should white knuckle it out at your current job while you apply for a full time day position. You could give them your two weeks notice one or two weeks early and then have a little break.



-stick to what you are doing during the next two months while applying for a full time day job

-start planning for your move now

(line up basic furniture (IKEA.. ebay, garage sales), cooking supplies from like Wal-Mart, location, calculate all costs with cushion etc)

-switch jobs come summer

-save money for 2 months or so

-move relatively near by


That sounds the most managable and sensible to me.

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I agree with the above poster - stick with what you're doing now until you graduate. After you graduate, then emphasize to your parents that your own gigs need to become priority. If it turns out there's a major conflict over that, you may just need to find some full-time day-time work, move out, and then support yourself while you hit the shows.

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