Like many rich people, Ricky Van Veen—co-founder of College Humor and fiancé of Girls' Allison Williams—knows exactly how directionless, jobless college graduates should live their lives. In a new Tumblr post, he outlines a plan of action for the unemployed recent graduate. It is extremely realistic and helpful* (*if you are already rich and successful).
Here is Van Veen's advice for "soon-to-be graduates" living at home for the summer with parents who aren't charging rent:
Learn a programming language (Python or RoR) during the weekdays. Hang with your friends on weeknights.
Your parents will definitely allow you to live at home all summer to spend eight hours a day on the computer and hang with your friends at night. That's a given.
On weekends, rent somebody's parents' Suburban and be an Uber driver in the closest wealthy vacation town.
A college student learning to code by day while becoming a productive member of the sharing economy on the weekends is the ultimate and most beautiful vision of creative capitalism.
But, well, Uber is in just 59 cities in North America. For instance, if you grew up in Miami like I did, the closest "wealthy vacation town" that has Uber is, uh, Tampa? Or, if you grew up in Springfield, Ill., like my boyfriend, you could drive to Chicago. Those are both six-hour roundtrips in order to drive a cab.
An Uber study on the income of UberX drivers in Chicago found that the median driver earned about $16 per hour. If a college kid driving around Chicago was able to work 12 hour days (fun summer!), he or she could earn $384 per weekend, before taxes, and not including expenses like food, gas for your six-hour roundtrip drive, or whatever the cost of your "rental" Suburban is. (Pro tip: none of your friends' parents are going to let you rent their car to use as a cab over the weekends.)
At $384 per weekend for, say, 12 weekends over the summer, one could earn a pre-tax, pre-expense income of $4,608. (If that sounds like a good slice of money, it would actually put you right at the poverty line for a single person.) This is a great way to spend your time.
Take your parents out to dinner once. With the rest of the money, spend half on yourself. Save a quarter of it. Put the rest in Amazon and Facebook stock. Don't pay attention to the price of the stock for ten years.
Taking your parents out to dinner is a great way to demonstrate your gratitude. We should all do it more!
If you halved your theoretical $4,608—and didn't care about paying taxes—you would have almost $2,304 to spend on yourself, or $768 per month for the summer, which you would blow mostly on gas and getting drunk. (If you want to generate enough money to make six-hour roundtrips on the weekends while drinking beer in between, you could probably have worse ideas than moonlighting as an Uber driver.)
With the other $2,304, you would save $1,152 (this is actually very close to the amount of money you will end up giving to your dad after he does your taxes) and "put" the other $1,152 in Amazon (almost two whole shares at $290 a share) and Facebook stock (10 shares at $57 a share). Go buy some stock, sport.
Run every other day.
Exercise is definitely good.
Keep your eye out for somebody special — you'll know you've found the right person when you genuinely want to ask them questions, and not just make conversation. Take them on a date (not a group hang.)
Watch two Charlie Rose episodes a week without looking at your phone.
Your phone, which offers you access to almost all of the world's information, is a lot more likely to make you smart than Charlie Rose, who arranges advertisements for corporations.
The week after Labor Day, go on a 10 day vacation some place affordable but interesting. Jet Blue has flights to Cartagena, for example.
It's true that people say spending money on experiences is always more gratifying than spending it on things. So, Cartagena: you can fly non-stop to Cartagena on Jet Blue the week after Labor Day for $465 round trip, if you live in New York City, which is the only airport from where you can take a Jet Blue flight to Cartagena. (Of course, you would lose an entire weekend of Uber driving.)
When you get back, look for a job and/or build something neat with your newfound programming skills.
Well, you've spent the summer teaching yourself programming skills while driving a cab. At worst, you can almost certainly marry into Tom Friedman's family.