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Adulting 101: 7 Career Tips for 20 Somethings
There’s a big secret to being an adult that you don’t realize until you realize it. You ready? Here it is: no one has any idea what they’re doing. Nobody, not one single person, not even your parent’s accountant. Simultaneously relieving and terrifying, it’s true – no matter what career you’re heading into.
Graduating college doesn’t come with a handbook on what to expect or endless knowledge on how to cook or purchase insurance. For those of you in the Millennial generation that everyone loves to bash, here is some advice I’ve gleaned on my own journey to adulting.
1. You’ll figure it out eventually.
Whatever it is you’re trying to do, whether it’s applying for (seemingly endless) jobs or building relationships in a new city, give yourself some grace. It’s all a process. And sure, it feels really great when you finally make it, but going through the mess-ups and mistakes are what really build you up and make you better.
2. You’ll have more than one calling in life.
Sometimes you’ll even have to choose between callings. That “You can have it all” nonsense? Forget about it. There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. There isn’t enough time to have it all and enjoy it. Pick a few things and commit to them – really commit. Otherwise your work, relationships, and overall quality of life will suffer.
3. “I’ll be happier once I have…” is a lie.
I hear it all the time. Everyone is so sure that they’ll be happy once they get that job, once they get married, once they have enough money saved up. Every time it doesn’t happen, they think they just need something else. Our culture encourages us not to be satisfied, but believe me, when you can sit on your couch with a cup of coffee in the morning and know how good you have it in life, there is nothing that compares with that kind of contentment.
4. Trying new things is a necessary evil.
We all love what we’re good at. That’s the comfortable place to be in, where we’re confident, and we don’t want to budge from it. Try something new, even if you know you won’t be good at it. Practice playing the guitar, try ultimate frisbee, journal a few times a week. It will help you grow in ways you didn’t even know you needed to – in your personal and professional lives.
5. It’s okay not to be present on social media.
Sometimes I’m sitting on my couch at the end of a lazy day, scrolling through Instagram, and I feel really down about taking a day to rest. I had no pictures to show for it – was it even worthwhile? And the answer is a resounding YES. It is so good to spend time in the present and not post about it.
6. Know your limits and accept them.
You are only human. Let me say it again, for the overachievers in the back. You are only human. It is okay to turn down plans, to say no, and to speak up when you have too much on your plate. The biggest mistake you can make is believing you have to always be available, and then beating yourself up when you aren’t.
7. There is always more to learn.
Adulting doesn’t begin or end with an internet listicle. You’ll be learning and growing for the rest of your life, and as long as you step into things knowing that you don’t know it all, you’ll set yourself up for success.
In the midst of making avocado toast and brunching it up, remember that we’re all on this journey together. No one is born knowing how to adult, and that’s okay. Whatever career path you might be heading down, remember what you learned here at Adulting 101.