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Thread: AT Job Crisis

  1. #1
    Registered User Tesla33's Avatar
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    Default AT Job Crisis

    Hello all! I, like the rest of you was planning on completing my thru this year when a crisis happened. I got a job offer.
    Pretext, I'm 22, just out of college working on a cruise ship. I have 26k in student loan debt and my cruise ship contract ends Jan 24th. I planned to do the AT in early april but my job would start sometime in February and would require a year commitment. With this job comes a good salary, full medical benefits, PTO and paid vacation (2weeks). I'm at a loss. I don't want to compromise my dream, or even put it off a couple years, but I also need to pay down my loans.

    Should I put off the AT for a few years or go for it?

    Any inquires are welcome! Please send advice my way!

  2. #2
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, my advice is to take the job. The job is only for a year and will allow you to pay down your debts. Use this time to get your debts taken care of, but also make it a goal to hike the AT as soon as you are debt-free. The trail will still be there, but jobs come your way for a reason. There is no crystal ball to look into to see the future, but I have found that when a job presents itself that is usually a good time to say "yes." It might lead to even better prospects for your future.

    Worse thing that happens is that you put the AT off for a year, while paying down your debts.

  3. #3
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    job. you're young. the trail will be there. 1 year is no biggie

  4. #4
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    Responsibility then vacation. A year or two is trivial in the grand scheme of life.

  5. #5
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    If there is only a one year commitment take it and be upfront about hiking next year. Debt is terrible. If you can get rid of it, do it. You'll have a better hike next year. Good luck.

  6. #6

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    1 Year gives you more time to plan, train, & practice

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    Is this the only job offer you ever expect to get? If so definitely take it.

    You have to have the money to cover the SL payments anyway, so you should probably have at least a years worth. You should be saving all your money while working for the cruise ship.

    Follow your heart. 6 months doesnt make a bit of difference one way or the other. A 1 yr break in your professional career work history, is a bigger red flag to a prospective employer than a small gap before it begins. You can always say you were looking for a job during that time. You dont have to tell them you decided to hike instead of working.

    That said, its also not the best economy and its going to get worse. BLS data aside because its falsified.

  8. #8
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Begin section hiking the trail at 200 miles a year while doing the responsible thing of paying down debt. You may find yourself liking that better anyways.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  9. #9
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    Take the job and set a goal to clear out your debt or at least take a big chunk out of it. Once you are debt free and get a bit of work experience under your belt, then think about it again.

  10. #10
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    if your career goes like most, through your working life you will have periods without available work, keep your finances in line and you will have your chance

  11. #11
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    you could die before you reach the period of this sentence. jobs are always around. youth vanishes. walk. think. dream. (un)focus. and ~~live~~. carpe momentum.

  12. #12
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tesla33 View Post
    Hello all! I, like the rest of you was planning on completing my thru this year when a crisis happened. I got a job offer.
    Pretext, I'm 22, just out of college working on a cruise ship. I have 26k in student loan debt and my cruise ship contract ends Jan 24th. I planned to do the AT in early april but my job would start sometime in February and would require a year commitment. With this job comes a good salary, full medical benefits, PTO and paid vacation (2weeks). I'm at a loss. I don't want to compromise my dream, or even put it off a couple years, but I also need to pay down my loans.

    Should I put off the AT for a few years or go for it?

    Any inquires are welcome! Please send advice my way!
    Is the job in your field? Will it give you relevant experience for you resume? If so take the job, but don't get comfortable. Work while living like you're broke, put as much of the money away as possible. Don't take days off, hoard your vacation and try to take all at once the hike for the entire vacation. Work like that for a couple of years save as much as you can, put a huge dent in your loans build your resume. Then hike in your mid twenties with money in the bank and less debt hanging over your head.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  13. #13
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    That said, if this job is nothing but a paycheck, if it won't help you build your resume or point you in the direction that your career will go, then meh...go ahead and take a hike.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  14. #14

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    When I was young, a horrid old lady gave me the advice to get a job in a factory, work forty years and then retire. A was appalled, because that seemed like such a tragic waste of a lifetime.

    26K is tiny in the big scheme of things, and student loan interest rates are minimal. I used to borrow money at twice that rate, uphill, in the snow, both ways. If you can afford it, and you have no dependents, you can afford to make a mistake or two with your career. If the job is your dream job, take the job, if it's not, then don't. You'll soon toil for your thirty years and climb over the corpses of your coworkers to get ahead, but there's no point rushing towards that doom.

  15. #15
    lemon b's Avatar
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    Take the job.

  16. #16

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    Hopefully, you have many dreams, not just a thru hike. This is a tough question for anyone to answer for you and good advice can go both ways. I sort of like the approach of trying to have both, not just either/or. That of course means that one of them will have to be put on hold for a bit. I am less of a free spirit than many, my dreams included wife and family as well as success in my chosen field. Those dreams take a lot more time and long term committment. So, putting my job first in the goal list allowed me to realize so many others, including retiring early and now attempting a thru hike this year. Yes, I am older and would really like to be doing this with my 25 year old body instead of my 60 year old body but, I am also doing it with more maturity. Of course, my knees may fail and cause me to drop out. If so, I will try and get them fixed as I pursue my other goals, now full time. Not sure my view helps at all, I just hope you can see a path to both.

  17. #17
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    Lots of question that only you can answer:
    Do you have enough cash on hand to stay current with your loans and other payments while also laying out the money for hiking? Plus a few months minimum after you are done and looking for work?
    A "good" salary is a very subjective thing. It varies a lot based upon personal perception, the field you are in, geographical norms, etc. What is "good" in your field?
    Would the job allow you to save enough to both hike and prepay the loan payment for a full year. Because you may not find work right away after returning.
    How much demand is there in the job market for people with your degree at your level?
    How good are your transcripts? Where do you stand in relation to the competition for jobs?
    Have you done much long distance or even section hiking? 100% of people who start a thru-hike think they'll finish. Only 20% actually finish. Most are off the trail before Harper's Ferry. What is plan B if you drop off the trail?
    But most importantly, what kind of life do you see yourself building? Balancing life and work is never easy.

  18. #18

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    Kind of a no brainer to my way of thinking, pay off your loan then start livin' the good life you were meant to.

  19. #19
    Registered User Cotton Terry's Avatar
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    If you didn't have the student loan debt, I'd say go hike, but I don't think student loan debt can, or should, be deferred. Like others have said, in the meantime, you can plan and Section hike. Then, you'll be able to hike with a clear conscience.

  20. #20

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    From what I recall talking to Carnival ship employees while I was on cruises, they worked 3 months at a time, then had 1 month off, paid I think. While on the ship their expenses were paid. Most worked two different jobs, and 6 days per week. It is a good way to save A LOT of money, and thats why many foreign people do and send all their money home to their families. Granted my last cruise was 17 yrs ago, so things could be different these days. I want to say the cruise line even paid for their airfare to wherever they wanted to go during their month off (home, etc)

    Dont know if this is similar to the OP, but my impression is that you can save a lot of money working on a cruise ship, and the OP should be able to pay thier loan for a duration of a hike. People take 30 yrs to pay off student loans. Being able to cover it for duration of a hike isnt fiscally irresponsible at all. I dont see the loan as being a factor, as long as can cover payments for 6mo to a yr.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 01-09-2016 at 04:49.

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