As Careers Wither, Dreams Beckon

As Careers Wither, Dreams Beckon

What do you do when your industry tanks before you break into it, but not before the ink dries on your diploma? Or when your job is terminated before it even begins?

The economy is rendering obsolete the degrees of many fresh graduates, and no combination of letters is recession-proof: from BAs to MBAs to JDs, degree-holders of all stripes are threatened by a career void after graduation. So while a string of letters after a name on a business card isn't an antidote for joblessness, the pursuit of a different letter just may be a cure-all.

Enter Plan B. It's a backup life that's a recessionary reality, one driven not by a prescribed path but by raw passion, fearlessness, or desperation—a midlife crisis a few decades early. From brand managers-turned-rappers to journalists-turned-video store managers, here are the stories of grads who ditched Plan A and followed Plan B to a job they never dreamed would be theirs.

Note: The interviews on the slides that follow are condensed and edited for clarity.