You’re in your 20s, you’ve got time…’. This is the maxim that everybody in their 20s will have had said to them by some older relative or family friend.
It’s true to an extent – you do indeed have time in your 20s, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t waste it and make bad choices.
Here are 10 ways to make the most of you career in your 20s.
The great thing about being young is that you’ve got bags of energy and few commitments. After work your don’t need to go home and feign interest in your children’s dried pasta artwork, nor do you have to discuss colour schemes for the guest bedroom with your wife. You’ve got oodles of time – use it to make friends and meet people.
Do favours for friends
When you’re in your twenties, the jobs you’re going for are going to be lower down the food chain and therefore it’s easier to put a friend forward for an entry level/graduate job once you’re sorted. With competition fierce, the friend would be eternally grateful and who knows, if they have a lot of success, a powerful ally will owe you a huge favour.
The younger you are the more you can learn – or something like that. As a man in your 20s, try to absorb as much information as you can about your chosen career. When you’re in your 30s, 40s and 50s your natural cynicism and reduced learning capacity will make it harder to absorb.
Work long hours
Although this frequent allusion to marriage and children may be making you nervous – the fact remains that this isn’t that far off. As a result you may want to want to work your socks off during your 20s in order to get yourself into a great professional position and have a life when you’re a family man.
Flit between jobs
Moving between companies is the surest way to advance your career and gain a wealth of experience. So often it is the case that securing a more senior position will be easier at a new company – rather than the one you’re currently at. So don’t stagnate – move!
Older people don’t like it when a young buck comes onto the scene and tries to show them how it’s done – and understandably so. Showing deference and even sycophancy towards seniors in the office will get them onside – why? because people are vain.
Take the unwanted tasks
By showing a willingness to do the tasks that no-one else will, you show your keenness and enthusiasm for the company. The young are expected to do the unwanted tasks and do them with good grace – don’t be a diva about it.
Often a move abroad can kickstart your career – it’s just about having the bravery to do it. London is the world’s most important city but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best place to start out in your career – in fact the ridiculous competition means quite the opposite. Also because of English’s increasing role as lingua franca, there’s no need to even speak another language.
Be a remora
One of the most useful talents is being able to spot talent in other people. If you can identify ability in a co-worker then you can befriend them, work with them and hopefully rise to the top with them. We can’t all be stars, but if we’re linked to one we’ll be happy to sing back-up.
Set a goal for 30
You need to envisage where you want to be by the time that you’re 30. Although the unaimed arrow never misses, setting yourself targets can be a great way to encourage a focused career trajectory. By the time you turn 30 you should know where your professional strengths lie – and how you want to use them.