Your twenties are a great time to develop career goals, but as your career takes off it can be easy to get caught up in “just having a job” and not focus on what can actually make you happy and successful in your career. That’s why many people take more than a few bruises during their first decade as an adult. Those lessons are important, but they don’t have to come at the cost of your mental health. Let’s look at 5 career lessons I wish I’d learned in my twenties so you can apply them to your life right now.
Having a great mentor is extremely important in your career. Great mentors not only let you tab into their experience and knowledge but also their connections. They can become your cheerleader and provide encouragement, guidance, and advice for your professional development and promote you to others. They can become your soundboard and also a reliable source for constructive criticism and feedback.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have more than one job offer and have to choose, I would advise weighing highly on who your manager is going to be. Of course, a mentor does not always have to be your direct line manager. However, your manager would be the one with the most power and motivation to groom you in your new role in the early stages of your career.
You are never done learning. Careers are not static things, nor should they be treated that way. Technology is changing every day. The way we communicate, digest media, and interact with others is constantly evolving—and so should we. Try not to get stuck looking for the title or that salary. The title is just a title and the salary is just a salary. If you remain open to learning and growing, your career will come along with you
Your career path is likely not a straight road toward one thing. It will curve, there will be some bumps, and potholes that could swallow you up. These unexpected twists are usually what end up revealing a new path. I’m not saying you shouldn’t set ambitious goals or that you should change your career path every few years. However, you should be open to new opportunities that aren’t necessarily “on the path”. You never really know where they can take you.
Most people in their twenties, just starting their path to success, often prioritize company goals over their own. This is a mistake. Your life, happiness, and well-being should come before the company. Prioritize the “extra-curricular” activities you love and don’t be afraid to set scheduling expectations with your colleagues and clients. Doing so will help you stay happy, balanced, and sane, but will also show your colleagues and your employer that you’re thoughtful about your time and committed to your passions. Likewise, when a work-life adjustment is necessary later in life, the transition will be less jarring for you and your boss.
Even with a good work-life balance, it’s still important to find a job you actually enjoy. You’ll be spending a lot of time and effort on this career; you shouldn’t hate yourself at the end of the workday. Money is essential. That goes without saying. However, it shouldn’t be the sole driver to remain in a role. Although it is important, money isn’t everything. Find a job that has a little more to offer – in benefits, atmosphere, coworkers, etc. – and you’ll feel more motivated.
Finding a career that you truly enjoy can be difficult, as most of us will experience a job that we don’t like, or that isn’t suitable for us. However, you spend most of your life at work. If you aren’t happy in your role, this will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on your personal life. Generally, if you do something you enjoy at a place that treats you fairly, the rest of your goals will click into place as you journey through your twenties and beyond.
No worries, let’s get you a job that you will actually enjoy! With Wavely, you chat with companies directly instead of applying that way, you can decide if this is the right job for you.