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This article was first published 9 years ago

10 things you must do before you start your first job

Last updated on: July 01, 2014 20:07 IST

Photographs: Still from the film Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

So you're a freshly-minted graduate eager to prove yourself by bagging a job?

This is perhaps the perfect time to hit pause before you get sucked into the rigmarole of everyday life.

It's easy to get sucked into the humdrum of a 9-to-5 job.

You step out of the classroom and into an office cubicle and before you know it you are sitting before a computer screen for 14 hours every day six days a week.

Weekends will be like those mythical creatures you only see in pictures but never in real life.

And long vacations will mean a w-e-e-k away from work.

Much as we wish otherwise, this is eventually where most of us land up.

So before you join the assembly line of white-collared workers, labouring behind computer screens to pay off their EMIs take some time off and live.

Because if you don't do it now, chances are you won't ever be able to do it again!

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1. Travel

Photographs: David Gray/Reuters

If you've just graduated, chances are you're still in your 20s and are probably still living off allowances from your parents.

Then again age is still on your side and if you step out now you will discover that it isn't very expensive to travel.

All you really need is a backpack, a few thousand rupees and some gumption to set out.

Bollywood may romanticise the idea of travelling overseas. And while it is an amazing thing to travel to another country if you have the money, there is nothing quite like exploring your own.

For one, it will cost you less, you will still be amongst your own people and yet outside your comfort zone.

There's a saying amongst backpackers: the longer you stay the lesser you pay.

Linger around, spend time with the locals, look up couchsurfers who can spare a bed for you and you'll realise that every new place has a lot to offer... if only you are willing to spend some time.

So, before you sign on that dotted line and sell your soul to a large corporation, hop onto the first bus out of town. It might just take you on a journey of a lifetime!

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2. Volunteer

Photographs: Courtesy CRY

Travelling isn't always about spending money.

Volunteering is slowly but surely becoming a popular way of seeing new places amongst several young Indians.

In a country like India, there is no shortage of volunteer opportunities.

Instead of going through agencies (like many firangs do) approach NGOs directly.

Some of these organisations will even provide food and boarding in exchange for your services that could range from teaching English to working on farms.

It isn't just NGOs that need help. Several entrepreneurs need help running guest houses for a few months. The job will not pay you a lot of money but it will give you the freedom to do your thing -- travel, write, blog, play the guitar, learn a new language, find yourself... you get the drift.

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Tags: India

3. Learn a new language

Photographs: Still from the film English Vinglish

Some of us pick up a new language more easily than the others.

The rest of us have to work a little harder to become proficient.

A new language introduces you to a whole new culture and there are few things that will enrich you as a new language does.

Pick a language that you want to really learn and start learning.

There's a good chance you will never be able to do that once you start your job.

Foreign languages are a great asset -- they look great on your CV too.

But you also are spoilt for choice within India what with a little less than two dozen of our own languages!

So take a pick. And get started!

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Tags: India

4. Learn a new skill

Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

Have you considered taking that 'break year' at the end of your education rather than smack in the middle of it?

Think of it, you're done with your graduation and now you can do what you please!

Why not start by taking a year-long break and adding some life skills to your list of achievements?

It could be something that can help you in your career (like a course in communication skills or programming for instance) or it could just be something you've always wanted to do but never got around to doing it -- like rock climbing or hang gliding or learning the guitar or playing the tabla!

You never know how and where it will come handy!

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5. Learn to cook

Photographs: Enrique De La Osa/Reuters

Talking of life skills, cooking deserves a special mention.

Your job will take you places.

There's a good chance you will find yourself in an alien city, drawing a measly salary unable to afford restaurant food every day.

Cooking, like most other things, isn't that difficult if you put your mind to it.

It isn't just one of the most practical life skills to master but will also earn you brownie points with the ladies ;-)

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6. Have a whirlwind romance

Photographs: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

There's nothing quite like being swept off one's feet.

Let go of your inhibitions and discover for yourself the magic of falling in love.

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7. Get fit

Photographs: Lucy Pemoni/Reuters

If endless hours of studying and binge eating have begun to show around your waist, now is a good time to get rid of it.

Hit the gym; do yoga; go on a diet; do what it takes to whip yourself into shape because now is as good a time as any to get fit.

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8. Get off Facebook!

Photographs: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

This is the time of your life!

Would you rather live it or post a social media update?

We suspect you know the answer to that one!

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9. Visit your grandparents

Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Or someone you respect...

You are about to begin a new life.

What better time than now to reach out to the seniors you look up to and seek their blessings... and their advice?

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10. Learn to enjoy your own company

Photographs: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Your life will take you places.

And you will find yourself holed up in a city or a country where you know absolutely nobody.

You will also find yourself absolutely alone in a roomful of people.

Remember, the only person whose company you really need to enjoy is yourself.

Be comfortable in your skin!

Be the person you will be proud of!

Because you are the only person you have to live with for the rest of your life.

And this is perhaps the single most important thing you need to know before you take the plunge and follow the crowd.

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