5 Career Mistakes People in Their 20s Make

It seems that 20s is the new 30s. While in the past you could – and even expected to – travel the world and party from dusk to dawn as a 20-year-old, it could prove costly for your career today. The truth is that you simply cannot afford any slip-ups in your 20s.

You’re supposed to do the groundwork in your 20s because you should be at a point in your life by the time you’re 30 when you’ve achieved your goals.

And while no one’s saying that you shouldn’t be partying at all, it’s advisable that you limit your partying to Fridays and Saturdays, and spend the weekdays building your future.

If you’re wondering what you shouldn’t be doing, then we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list with the most common mistakes 20-year-olds make, so read on for the things you should avoid.

1. Burning Bridges

Oh, to be young and passionate! You might think that speaking your mind to your nasty boss is a great idea – your friends might even give you a pat on the back for your bravery and courage – but think again, my friend.

You should never leave a company on bad terms; you should always strive to keep some kind of professional communication you’re your former colleagues and boss. You never know when you might need them!

2. Job Hopping for all the Wrong Reasons

Job hopping is the new normal, so it’s highly recommended that you stay at a company long enough to learn the job and acquire the skills and experience you’ll need to further your career.

Hiring managers frown upon job instability which is why you should always have a good reason for moving on from a company. Whether it’s because you found a more challenging position or one that was closer to your dream job, make it a point to have a valid reason for job hopping.

3. Not Having a Vision

Boat captain with binoculars

When you’re in your 20s, it might be hard to envision where you want to be in 10 to 20 years’ time. It’s difficult to know who and where you want to be, but you should never start out on your career path if you don’t know where you are going.

You need to take the time to formulate a clear vision of who you want to be as a professional. Of course, this vision might change along the way, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you should nevertheless know where you plan to go when you start walking the road to success.

4. Not Being Able to Handle Criticism

I know criticism is hard. Who in their right mind would like to sit and hear how royally they’ve screwed up? But – and there’s always a “but” – accepting criticism can really help us grow both in our personal and professional lives.

The younger we are, the more we think we know everything, and the more we hate being reminded that we don’t – which is exactly why 20-somethings hate criticism. However, you should really make a point of accepting criticism and seeing it as an opportunity to become better at what you do.

5. Not Balancing Work and Social Life

Young women partying

Most 20-years-olds want to party all night which, granted, is their own right – I mean, when are you going to party if not in your 20s? – but this can have adverse effects on your career. While you might think that you can pull off partying till dawn and working till dusk, you’ll soon realize that you can’t; mistakes and lost deadlines will only start piling up.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those 20-somethings that dedicate themselves to their work so much that they forget to live. These individuals risk burning out and having nervous breakdowns.

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While research has proven that it’s not about having a work-life balance, it’s important to remember that you should strive for happiness in all aspects of your life.

See Also: 5 Things to Do in Your 20s for Later Success

While you might want to kick back and enjoy your life in your 20s, that’s not the way to go if you want to climb the corporate ladder. You need to start doing the groundwork in order to achieve success.

Have you made any career mistakes in your 20s? How did you overcome them? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below.




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