In my 20s, when I started my first real job, I believed I was wealthy, even though I made very little. I had not yet moved out on my feet and was able to buy more things than I could afford. I was able to go out after hours and still party — I had the bounce-back ability of the young, and my “real job” was very low in responsibility.Why You Should Work Your Butt Off in Your 20s
I wish I could have worked harder. I wish I had done more.
Don’t get me wrong. I had a great time in my 20s, and have many fond memories. No one will ever regret spending more time in the office, I’m sure.
Yet, I feel like I wasted an opportunity.
You’ll notice a few things disappearing or becoming less important in your 20s.
- Inability to take responsibility
The woman who has three children and is married to a man/woman with three children can do things you can do. You may not have the same resume as your older colleagues or competitors, but you do have the energy and time that they do. This is your competitive advantage. I didn’t realize it when I was in my 20s. I was metaphorically fat, lazy and unfulfilled when I needed to be hungry. I should have channeled my energy instead of being content with making 10 dollars an hour.
I can recall specific instances where I was required to stay late at work and how I felt. I was tired! In reality, I wasn’t even aware of what tired meant. These situations should have been opportunities for me to prove my worth and to learn new skills that I could use later to be viewed as someone who does the job well.
Sometimes, I find people 20 years older than me to be naive and irritable. Then I realize… Oh, wait… it’s just like me at their age.
Although you may feel that working your s**t in your 20s is bad advice, the reality is that the burdens of adulthood like children/marriage/aging parents will soon be upon you. You should enjoy your 20s as much as you can.
This makes sense. It’s not my view. My belief is that working hard when you’re younger, more powerful, and less burdened will help you get to a point later in your life where you have more options and money. Because you won’t be under pressure to earn X dollars per annum, it may be easier to let go of the accelerator and change careers. It might also mean you will be able to find career opportunities that you didn’t know existed because you have already laid the foundation when you had the energy and time.
It’s not fun to work 60 hours per week. It’s also not sustainable. It’s much easier to do this in your 20s than in your 40s and 50s. Some people can be happy with a good career and making OK money. That is okay. If you are in your 20s with big goals and a lot of time, make sure to use your energy, time, and lack of responsibility to achieve them. You’ll be a blessing to your older self.