Let’s be honest, I know I am not the only one who growing up thought having a job in your 20s looked like being the main character in your own Legally Blonde movie, and school did nothing in preparing us for the real world let alone a career path. Navigating the career space as a fresh graduate or as a twenty-something year old who in our Nigerian society is considered to not have “experienced life” yet, can be quite tough. We learnt things like trigonometry but nothing about making your mark in the career space or the workplace environment.
I can say first-hand as a Nigerian student that the career exposure and opportunities given to us are extremely limited, if not none-existent. A lot of women are looking to break grounds in their respective career fields but the insufficiency of information and guidance have left many somewhat handicapped and have put us in situations where we have no choice but to wing it and figure it out ourselves. I put together a few career advice you absolutely need to hear in your 20s. Thank me later!
1. Do Not Be Afraid to Explore
Over time as we discover more parts of ourselves, our interests start to change along with our career interests. While growing up however, we adopted the mentality that our career choices need to be rigid. The truth is, it is okay to venture and explore various career options as well as other aspects of your chosen career field to see what sticks. Do not be afraid to gather that work experience or certifications from related fields because you never know when it will all be useful. In our 20s it feels like time is slipping through our fingers although it really is not so. Do not be afraid to explore.
2. Your Job Does Not Give Your Life Meaning
We spend about fifteen years or more in some cases in preparation of joining the workforce, and somewhere between all the sleepless nights and the strong desire to be successful, we forget that a job regardless of the pay is not what gives our lives meaning. There is a difference between having a strong work ethic and overworking yourself. Life has made it such that our jobs have become all consuming, but finding work-life balance is possible and necessary for your productivity and mental health. Trying to find fulfilment in your job is what makes a workaholic. And yes, I just said that.
3. Having a Passion For What You Do, Shows
It has been engrained in our minds that if our careers are not a source of pain to us then we are doing something wrong. Dare I say to make the most out of your career journey, there needs to be a driving passion that motivates you and keeps you going. Whether it is starting a business or aiming to get to that top manager position in your office, it is your passion and love for what you do that will keep you pushing on the days you feel like calling it quits, or when the accolades are yet to roll in.
4. Setbacks Do Not Have to Be A Bad Thing
In a world where only wins are worthy of being showcased, it has become second nature to reject any form of failure or setback especially when it comes to a career. However, experiencing setbacks does not always have to be a bad thing. I mean, how can you bounce back without a set back? The only time you fail is when life knocks you down and you refuse to get back up. The ability to keep pushing against all odds is what makes a successful person.
Our careers hold a significant place in our lives, I mean how else are we going to afford that girl’s trip to Mykonos? But in all seriousness, as cliché as it might seem, life is too short to be stuck in a job that sucks life out of you. Contrary to popular belief, your career can be fun and exciting and with the right amount of research and courage to try new things, I am sure you will find one just right for you.