My biggest money mistake

Gail Vaz-Oxlade tweeted out a question that got me thinking. That question was: ‘What has been your biggest money mistake?’

I wrote back to Gail and said ‘Not working a retail job while I looked for my first job out of university.’ Gail wrote back with ‘Looking for that perfect job, right?’ I was ecstatic that Gail tweeted back. Gail gets me.

Now that I’m on the road to solid financial health, I often reflect on the things I could’ve done. One thing that always stands out to me is the eight months of job hunting I did after I graduated. It was a definite low point in my life as I spent most of an entire winter and summer unemployed. Back then, I wanted to be an accountant and I was convinced that the perfect job was around the corner. I mean, I went to a good school and did a sensible major. How could I not get a job…right? Month after miserable month passed, slowly but very surely. At the time, my student loan was at its full $24,000. Had I taken a part time job and made even $1,000/month, I would’ve dropped my debt load by a third. I finally ended up taking a temp job and as luck would have it, it was the skills I gained at that job that led me to my full-time job a few months later.

Lessons learned: Swallow your pride. The one piece of advice I would give any student looking for a job in their field would be to not wait for the perfect job. You’ll get there eventually but unfortunately with the economy the way that it is, it might not be right now. Line up any job as soon as possible because you might not get the job of your dreams next week. Whether it be retail, serving or administrative, you will gain some great skills and most importantly get yourself out there. I know first hand that there is nothing more depressing than sitting in an empty house waiting for the perfect opportunity. Having everyday interactions and making some extra cash will tide you over until you find your perfect job. So get out there!

What has been your biggest money mistake?

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