I'm 28, going on 29 years old. I've made a lot of very smart decisions in my 20's as it pertains to my career. I know that sounds arrogant. Believe me, I'm not that kind of guy.
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My track record proves that I've made good decisions because somehow I went from being a college dropout to becoming a marketing manager in a Fortune 10 business at the age of 27.
Those type of results typically don't take place until people are well into their mid-40's. I know this to be the case, because that's how old my colleagues were.
As I get closer and closer towards 30, I've begun reflecting on my 20's as well as my generation of Millennials, many of whom are still struggling to find meaning from life.
Every day I receive emails and messages on Facebook and Twitter from people in their 20's, as well as high school students. They pour their heart out to me, telling me their stories.
The advice I give them for making the most of your 20's in order to advance your career in your 30's is as follows:
1. Take lots of risks
In life, the people who win are those who are willing to take risks. As an example, the mass majority of people save versus invest because they're paranoid about risk. However, without risk, we wouldn't have an economy. The economy is built upon risk, it's called businesses, and without them we'd have no jobs and no economy. In your 20's, don't be afraid to take risks. If you don't like your job, quit as soon as possible until you find a job you absolutely love. If you chose the wrong career, quit as soon as possible and start a new one.
2. Keep your bills low
Bills are a burden, and while it can be tempting to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, rent an apartment you can't truly afford, furnish it with a credit card, and lease a BMW, all of these things will destroy you by the time you reach the end of your 20's. This is important as it pertains to your career, because there will come a time in your late 20's when you begin to truly discover who you are and what you want to do with your life. What you decide to do may earn less money. If you've spent your 20's racking up a load of debt, you'll enslave yourself to your previous job commitment just to keep your bills paid.
3. Keep your credit clean
Your 20's are a time to establish a solid and positive credit history. Ruin your credit in your 20's and you could be 40 before you ever get things repaired, and by that point you're already 10+ years past the point at which you should've purchased a home. It's also important to note that many employers nowadays do credit checks in addition to background checks, and it's possible that you could be denied a job as a result of your credit score.
4. Be nimble
You never know where your job or your career will take you. You may have to move across the country for an opportunity, so be ready and willing to get up and go.
5. Be open-minded
Be open-minded about everything. Your 20's is a time in which most people begin to develop their belief systems. This includes but is not limited to religion, politics, and career choices. Do not get old and set in your ways in your 20's. The world changes too rapidly, and just as soon as you've decided that you 'know how things work,' just that quickly things will change.
6. Continue your education
High school or college graduation isn't the end of your education. It's just the beginning. In your 20's, your goal should be to learn as many new skills as possible so in case you decide to change careers, you're flexible and skilled enough to do so.
7. Be yourself
Don't ever let someone else tell you what to be or who to be. This includes parents, political parties, bosses, boyfriends, and girlfriends. Be yourself. In the end, that's all that matters. The world already has enough clones.
8. Be patient
Young people are inpatient. They want the big promotion now. They want the fancy car and the two-story house today. Keep calm and carry on.
9. Have fun
Don't take life too seriously. I did and I regret it. If you're not having fun in your 20's, you'll regret it later on in life. Ask anyone who's 40 and they'll tell you.
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About the author
Michael Price is the author of What Next? The Millennial's Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the Real World
, endorsed by Barbara Corcoran of ABC's Shark Tank. He is also the founder of Conquer Career Course, where he teaches students how to increase their salary, build a career with longevity and become unemployment-proof. View the trailer below:
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert.