If you’re approaching your twentieth, or you’ve just passed it, you may be feeling the weight of adulthood bearing down on you, and feel a little nervous about the road ahead. Although your teenage years are your most formative, what you do in your twenties will still do a lot to dictate the course of your life in the future. Here are a few important career lessons to learn before you hit 30…
Get A Good Work-Life Balance, Before You Need It
It’s very important to be aggressive in pursuing your career goals before you have children or more of life’s responsibilities bear down on you. This will put you in a better position to get more flexible working hours, and a salary that can support a family. However, it’s just as important to set your own personal guidelines for having a good work-life balance. If you’re working a nine to five and then spending your evenings studying for demanding psychology degrees, it may be time to take a step back, and assess how much time you’re leaving for yourself. You don’t want to become a 24/7 workaholic, mistaking business for professional success, and straining the little time you have to spend with your partner and kids.
Forget What the Company Can Do for You, Ask What You Can Do for Your Company
When a lot of people leave education, and get their first entry-level job in a field they want to pursue, it’s a common tendency to spend all their energy trying to convince their managers and colleagues that they’re too smart to be in this low-ranking position. They may force their greatest achievements into conversations, all the while begrudgingly dragging themselves through their actual duties. While this is understandable when you’re young and full of big ideas, it’s important to remember that companies don’t exist to help young people further their career. They exist to turn a profit. If they can grow some good talent in the process of doing this, that’s just a bonus. The most effective way to excel in any position is to come into work and concentrate all your energy into helping the company succeed, learning as much as you can about the organization’s goals, and how you can help it towards them.
Every Mother is Not Your Mother
Another common mistake in young professionals is thinking that all of the parents that they work with have the same traits as their own – limitlessly interested in your life, and full of advice that they’re waiting to dish out. While it can certainly be helpful to have an older colleague as a mentor, assuming that your senior colleagues have some kind of parental feeling towards you can blow up in your face. Sure, you can ask for career guidance here and there. However, if you talk to them about more personal things that are your actual parents’ department, you could risk crossing boundaries. You may end up overcomplicating your office relationship, or senior workers could feel you’re undermining their professional expertise.