Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thinking about debt and your career choices

In doing some "light" reading this summer, I read Generation Debt: Why Now is a Terrible Time to Be Young, by Anya Kamenetz. I think her book, Yahoo! Finance column, and blog are of ongoing relevance to all people choosing or changing a career, regardless of age. Whether or not you agree with her, it stimulates debate and thought about your financial decisions as they relate to your work. You can learn more about the book at the author's blog The Narrow Bridge, which is on our blog roll.

The 2006 book is a call to action to improve financial conditions for young people and I found her advice on point - particularly the concerns about reduced student financial aid, credit card marketing to the young, and the suggestions about personal responsibility. In this Free Agent Worker environment full of debt traps, getting ahead takes a lot of individual initiative and watchfulness.

Her solutions sometimes rely more on government funding than I'd personally like - I'd like to see more public/private/NGO partnerships to address some of these issues. But there is no doubt she is correct that increasing affordable access to education should be a national priority of the federal government - and that political action by all of us is necessary to make it so. There are many other interesting, timely topics covered in her book, which I highly recommend and that I will blog about in the future as they relate to career choice.

As part of your career decision, you will consider your expectations and desires for your future salary and working conditions, as well as the costs of your training and education. Will it be financially worth it? Have you thought of other alternatives that do not require lengthy, expensive schooling? Have you talked with people who did what you're planning to do, and have the desired financial payoffs come true?

No one, I think, would discourage people from taking on certain types of education/training debt to support a career objective - as long as you have thought all your options through and done your research and homework before signing a student loan agreement.

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