Winona, Minn.: I am considering Mandarin language school to add a bilingual edge to my resume. It will take one year. I am hoping this will round out my BS in economics so I may get better work experience before grad school. How big is a bilingual advantage and what is the best way to implement it? Is it worth a whole year?
That depends on how interested you are in Chinese. If you are passionate about the subject and knowing Mandarin will help you fulfill your long-term career goals, go for it. However, if you're just thinking it would be an impressive line to include on your resume, reconsider. The price tag, including the opportunity costs that come with forgoing a real job for the next year, is too steep for that.
Baltimore: I have been working at the same company for a little more than a year; it's my first job out of college. Although my job is okay, I really don't see much of a future with the company. (I've gotten high reviews, but I'm not sure if I fit here.) I'm also contemplating going back to grad school in the fall of 2006. Friends and family say I should stay here and be patient. Should I just hang tight and stay with this company to gain experience for the next year, or should I jump ship and cross my fingers there is something else out there?
Yes. What I mean is, it's okay to do both. Keep your current job while you explore other options. If you find something that seems a better fit, pursue it. Also, consider postponing grad school until you're more focused about your career goals.