A few weeks ago I sent out a depressing tweet that said something along the lines of,
“No one tells you how hard your twenties will be.”
The lovely Samantha Jo Berry spoke up in agreement and said jokingly that she could do a whole blog series on it. Always a fan of a challenge and new opportunity, my immediate response was, “let’s do it together!”.
AND TA-DA, here we are. The ten years inbetween going to school and being a mature and full functioning adult is (insert profanity here) hard. It’s confusing and messy and lonely, despite the fact that we all go through it. In true twenties self-involved form, we think it’s only us that’s suffering. Such a lie. Which is why Sam and I are writing this series.
For the next three Wednesdays, Samantha of The Biggity Big Blog and I will come to you with our messy lives and lay it all out. Advice and whinging included, in equal amounts. Today we will cover Careers, the one thing I have a deep love/hate relationship with. Next week will be Dating, and that should be funny since my love life belongs back in primary school. And finally in week 3, Finances. The only advice that will include is what NOT to do because my money management skills are Dire with a capital D.
Your twenties is one thing you certainly cannot go under or over, because then you miss all the joys of going through it. Of which there really are many! We hope you enjoy the series and share your thoughts in the comments.
And don’t forget to read Sam’s post today on careers too, it’s a good’n.
Yesterday over on the So Worth Loving blog I shared my struggles with holding my career in too higher esteem. It’s been a big head and heart ache for me since I left school, full of questions about my ability, talent and purpose. It’s made me cry and yell in frustration. It’s made me feel insecure in a city where everyone is someone and I’m lagging. We live in an era where young people are setting up businesses and living their dream because we are told “you can do anything!” and “never give up!”
What about when you don’t know what your dream is, let alone who you are or what you’re good at? What about when you need to pay the bills and don’t have the time or resources to pursue your passion?
Well, I don’t know the answers. But I’ve figured out five things in the five years that I have been working full time (slow learner, over here)…
1. A job is not the destination.
I believe wholeheartedly in being ambitious; drive is conducive to growth and success, both professionally and personally. But recently I realised that I had staked my happiness on getting a good job. I would look at people who were working their ideal job, and think they had it all. I mistakenly assumed they had no problems and their lives were easy breezy. This is untrue on many levels. Right when you manage to get one ball in the air, life will throw you a curve ball and challenge your juggling skills. Who I am becoming and what I am learning in the process of finding my niche is fundamental to the rest of my life, and most definitely my career. Every mundane temp role and the times that have felt like a waste, aren’t a waste at all. They will all play a part in the masterpiece of your life.
2. It really is about who you know, so leave a good impression.
Speaking broadly and from my own experience, people want to help you on your way. I didn’t believe in networking until I bravely reached out in a time of need, and was touched by the responses of past peers and colleagues. From recommendations to asking around their company about openings, many people have done their best to help me. I was able to start at a higher paid and more senior role a few years ago because I had worked hard in a temporary role. I believe that treating everyone you meet with respect and kindness, regardless of their situation or their treatment of you, always pays off. Obviously this is expected anyway but it can be hard when working with difficult people.
3. Work hard and well.
I know this goes without saying, but it’s hard to work hard in every situation. And sometimes we just get lazy because we’ve stopped learning and know how to do the job like the back of our hand. It may be time to move on but that won’t happen instantly, so work hard and commit through to the end. Don’t let laziness or a bad attitude rule. Hard work is the key to success and I often forget this. Whatever you are doing right now, whether it is a job you love or not, work hard.
4. Comparison only results in failure.
I can’t think of a time that comparing myself to someone has ever made me feel good or helped me to succeed. I never come out on top because obviously the only people I measure myself next to are the ones that are seemingly doing so much better at life. Forget the fact that they are on a different path and I don’t see their bad days… In the comparison game, they win and I lose. Every single time. It hurts and I am left defeated before I have even tried. So when I see someone celebrating a success on Facebook (so Y-gen), I remind myself to be happy for them. They are doing their thing and doing it well. All I need to do is refer to my previous point and do the same.
5. No one really knows that they are doing, anyway.
We all pretend to have it worked out, and for a few moments it really feels like we do. But we don’t. Most successful people I talk to about how their career path say that it just happened. Yes they worked hard and were ambitious, but they definitely didn’t have every point planned from the beginning. They couldn’t have because that isn’t real life. We stumble through and enjoy the mountain and valley moments, of which there are many of each. All we can do is live one day at a time and slowly but surely, the pieces fit together. Or so I’ve heard ;)
All of that said, it matters but it doesn’t really matter what you do. It’s always good to accomplish things but success is in the eye of the beholder. You are valuable regardless of your day job. If you want to have babies and look after them full time, then go for it. If you want to be the next Prime Minister, work for it. If you just want an awesome job somewhere in between then let’s be friends and walk the journey together.
Work hard, play hard and quit stressing because you will be okay. And as Samantha says, have a cupcake. Cupcakes make everything better.
Any advice for Samantha and I, and anyone else who needs it?