Book dishes advice for life after Ramen

By Chris Estrada

When Nicholas Aretakis decided to write a book for ’20-somethings’ fighting for jobs, money and other “real world” concerns, he consulted several self-help books to see what kind of advice they gave to the group his book would target.

He now counts himself as receiving plenty of advice, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to take any of it.

“I realized that some of the books, in my opinion, give you bad information and are not comprehensive enough,” said Aretakis, the author of “No More Ramen: The 20-Something’s Real World Survival Guide,” which is due out in September from Next Stage Press publishing.

“Some have good content, but I found myself struggling and highlighting … some of it was just wrong,” he said. “One book said that you had to develop a personality at work, to change yourself. I think that’s a mistake … if you have to change your personality, you’ve taken the wrong job.”

Aretakis, vice president of worldwide sales for California-based high-tech company Advanced Analogic Technologies, traveled the country for nine months, visiting schools from Harvard and his alma mater Columbia University to the University of California, Los Angeles. In all, he met with students from 20 schools in focus groups to find out what kind of future plans they had, how they were going to reach those goals and what kind of fears they had about post-college life.

“We set up discussion groups, video recorded each of these and had the organization (from those meetings) correlating to the chapters in the book,” he said. “We asked what they’d like to see in the book and they told us. What would help them, what would be something good that could be taught in school as an elective? That’s how we structured the book – an easy read and something you can look back on.”

The book contains chapters on many different topics from job-hunting and tips on what to do and not to do once you get one, to handling financial issues such as insurance. Dig a little deeper and sub-topics such as whether or not to become a ‘job hopper’ or date a co-worker are found. Aretakis goes into many details in his book, hoping to make what he calls an “indelible mark” on people in their 20s.

“I’m a 45-year-old guy, myself, and I’ve known so many friends that live paycheck to paycheck, struggle through divorce, have problems with financial things and not being happy,” he said. “It’s tough to reverse that later. If you can reach a person early in life, make a mark on them and make a difference, that’s my goal.”

Some students, however, don’t feel Aretakis’ book will be able to help them. Senior physical therapy majors Meghan Kelley and Joanne Wolosiewicz said they felt better asking older and more experienced people for advice.

“I guess I value people with experience, someone older like my parents or someone already in my field,” Kelley said.

To help with money management, Wolosiewicz said her business course was working just fine.

“Our book (in this class) explains economics to us in layman’s terms,” she said.

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