Ever since the first day of kindergarten, we have known the next desired step in our lives. For many of us, we have been expected to complete the ladder of education, where perhaps the only time we’ve made a decision for ourselves was choosing which high school or college to attend. Halfway through college and the ladder appears to be much shorter, no longer is the last step in the clouds. Now that our whole life path is no longer defined by a system of education, we have the ability to choose what we make of ourselves. I was fortunate enough to have come across a book so early in my college career that made the unsettling future not feel as dark. The Defining Decade by Meg Jay focuses on a clinical psychologist’s experience with 30- and 40-year-olds trying to play “catch up” because they lacked motivation in their twenties. My hope for this article is to share with you some of the most valuable points I gained from Meg Jay’s book. Perhaps it’ll make your future feel a little less unsettled as well!
Our defining decade
What you do with your twenties is a defining point for the rest of your career. Many view their twenties almost as if it is a stepping stone between leaving college and transitioning into the workforce come the age of thirty. What you do with your time is entirely up to you. Although many like to spend this time traveling, Jay recommends entering the workforce as soon as possible for a number of reasons. Many who travel before gaining work experience lose ties or motivation once they return home. Another reason is companies are looking for recent college graduates since they have fresh ideas and can relate to a certain age group. Getting a job early in your twenties sets your life up for many more opportunities (like traveling!)
Weak ties are people you feel too distant to be considered close friends. Nevertheless, weak ties are just as important as strong ties. In fact, those who you are not the closest with, are often your best sources of employment. Keep your circle big!
Say yes to opportunities. Getting your first job isn’t the end … it’s the beginning! It doesn’t mean that your first job is where you have to stay for the rest of your life. Everything builds off of each other, you just need to take that first step.
Deal with your anxiety
Learn to calm yourself down, mistakes are just setbacks you need to learn to deal with. Often the fear of being fired or broken up with makes you leave when it was never in the picture. Jobs are a learning experience you won’t get fired for everything!