The ‘real world’ may not be so bad

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A typical story for post-graduate musicians these days:

[Ivan] Trevino is a percussionist who just graduated with his master’s degree from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.

The employment prospects for new graduates are grim. It’s a tough job market in most fields, but for musicians the options are always limited. For any given instrument, there are likely to be only three or four openings at orchestras across the country.

What is the alternative to getting a mindless job in fast food? Musicians get entrepreneurial. They build, pursue and manage several careers at once in order to keep playing and paying the bills.

I did this myself. Having paid off a 20-year loan just a few years back myself, I can also empathize with the need to pay bills.

Trevino says juggling all of this stuff is just how life is if you want to be a full-time musician and pay off your student loans.

“You know you gotta be able to do a lot of things,” Trevino says. “Play and do the music business thing too, so you have to make yourself as well-rounded as possible. I think that’s the way to go.”

Trevino says he has to be an entrepreneur. But he doesn’t have the luxury to go long periods of time without making money. His bills for $60,000 in student loans will start showing up in November.

This is just one story in a series at NPR called “Setting Out: New Grads’ Quest For Work” that is very pertinent to graduates and those that are about to graduate.

Following your dream is good for the economy

One item of great news that stood out from the NPR series was from economist Heidi Shierholz, that…

…when people like Trevino — who started drumming in his family’s touring gospel band as a little kid — follow their dreams, it’s better for the economy.

“There’s no crystal ball; we don’t know what’s going to be the winner industry going forward. But what we do know is that as an economy, if young people are going into things that they enjoy and that they’re good at, that’s how the economy will work best,” Shierholz says.

Read the entire series here.

Entrepreneurial tips

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