by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17
When you’re in your twenties, you usually don’t have too many responsibilities. Other than some bills and maybe your adorable kitten named Jitterbug, you’re free to make some sacrifices and take some risks that will become impossible later in life when you’re married with children, taking care of your sick parents, or have committed to your career and aren’t looking to make any big changes. But a lot of people play it safe in their twenties. They slide by until suddenly, they’re forty and full of regrets. This doesn’t have to be your fate, of course. Here are some 5 things to do in your 20s, from a career standpoint.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to people who have more experience than you do. If you’re interning at a company, talk to the president, ask them for any advice they wish they’d had when they were starting out. And don’t be afraid to take it a step further: ask someone to be your mentor. Ideally, a mentor has at least ten years more experience than you do, and can give you door-opening advice and connections that could help your career take off.
- Become a thought leader. This means that whatever field you hope to work it, you’re posting relevant articles on your social media, or writing about the latest news from your industry in a personal blog. The idea is that, over time, you will become known for your knowledge in your field. You will become an expert and new opportunities will become available to you as a result.
- Take a risk in your career. Take a job with a pay-cut because the opportunity for growth is incredible. Take a year off and travel Asia teaching English. Invite your coworkers to your new place for dinner and football. Take an internship as an adult. Go to graduate school. Pursue a completely new career. Now is the time to make changes and test the waters so by the time you’re forty and more settled, you don’t have any regrets.
- Does the company you work for offer paid training or classes? If so, TAKE THEM. Furthering your education is never a bad idea, especially if what you’re learning will benefit you in the future. If you know what position you hope to work in one day, look up what kind of skills are required and take classes to get them.
- Keep in touch with people. From the time you’re twenty to the time you’re forty, you meet a lot of people and fall out of touch with others. But try your hardest to stay up to date with the people you meet all along the way, especially those who have been mentors to you or have been important to you in some way. This is your network and they can and will open doors for you if invest time and energy into helping them out and staying in touch. Plus, it’s kind of fun to see how other people grow and advance through time.
So, in your twenties, take some chances. Be gutsy, be brilliant. In your forties, you won’t regret the chances you took, whether they worked out or not.
Source: The Muse