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  • Leslie Juvin-Acker

Escape The Terrible Twenties: Career Building In Your Twenties

Your twenties are for the following three purposes: Building relationships, establishing a career, and coordinating finances.

1. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Now is the time to surround yourself with motivated and inspiring people. If you must spend time with others who are not motivated or are feeling lost, use the relationships as opportunities to either learn more about what you don’t want out of life or as an opportunity to motivate others who are lost and need help regaining focus. Either way, you’ll learn more about yourself which is sure to help you shape your life in positive ways.

Stay Motivated Motivated people can keep you on your feet and can hold you responsible for your actions. They’ll help you see yourself in the best possible light and remind you of the things you are good at and help you improve your weak areas.

Motivated people don’t allow minor set backs to keep them from their goals, motivated people are inspired by their interests and values and use them as a guide to creating a happier life. They also have contagious energy and will to turn their dreams into a reality. Who can’t be inspired by that?

Develop Colleagues Find other young professionals or fellow students who are motivated for success and possess a strong desire to make a difference in their fields of interest. Before you know it, these same people will become experts in their field and will develop into perfect references for information, partners in future work projects, and interesting sources for conversation and self improvement later on.

Identify Mentors Take the time to build relationships with mature professionals. This group can range from your friend’s parents, professors, bosses and older colleagues. They can give you much needed advice, introduce you to their friends and network, and give you insights on life and careers as an adult.

Building relationships will also serve as a method later on for networking, marketing your work or business, meeting needs, in addition to helping you develop your reputation as a person and as a professional. Will people be able to trust you to get your work done on time, within budget, and with good ethics? What will your relationships say about you? Develop them now and don’t be afraid to make, correct, and learn from your social mistakes.

2. BUILD YOUR CAREER Use every experience and opportunity to help you figure out your career path if you haven’t already decided on one or to enhance your skills, knowledge, and expertise.

Use Every Experience As A Career Building Block Even if you’re traveling, having fun, volunteering, think of every experience as a means to help you develop yourself as a person and as a professional. As a resume writer, I can tell you that even the strangest or simplest life experiences can transfer themselves nicely into a resume.

Follow Your Instincts Allow your interests and deep seated motivations serve as a guide to helping you decide your ideal career. Is there a particular interest that never leaves your mind and you feel you could make a difference in the field? Did you have a job you really loved and wish you could build on that? Remember, a career is series of jobs, increasing responsibilities, and varying experiences – it’s not just one job or industry for the rest of your life. Refer to my article about changing industries.

Strengthen your weaknesses It’s obvious that most of us aren’t experts in our field and that we have a long way to perfecting our job executions. Embrace your inexperience and channel your energy by learning from others around you, practicing and making mistakes, embarrassing yourself, wasting your time, and learning about yourself. Now is the time to improve your weaknesses and develop your skills.

Building your career equates to building your resume. Ask yourself, is what I’m doing now going to make me look great on my resume? Will my resume help me get my dream job down the road? Am I a marketable employee or professional? The answers to these questions will develop in time and with practice.

3. BUILD YOUR FINANCES We must learn to master our finances now. Individuals are growing increasingly responsible for their own retirement and health savings, so we must learn to successfully earn, save and manage our incomes for short and long term growth. Learn to build and manage your finances now so that you will have the freedom to call your own career shots down the road. Who likes to be dependent on a bad job?

Learn To Earn There is much talk about saving and managing income, but little about actually earning it. Learn to develop a side trade in the event that you cannot find work in your desired field or specific job. Take the time to learn basic financial principles of lending, saving, investing, buying and selling assets. Develop multiple income streams so that you’re not dependent on just one: your job.  Nobody likes to live paycheck to paycheck let alone being dependent on a job (often a bad job) for a living.

Learn To Save Many of us get into the mental trap of believing that because we’re earning more we should spend more. What we fail to realize is that the more we spend on our basic cost of living, the more we’re responsible for in the event we lose our jobs.

Identify what kind of lifestyle you want to live and what it takes to financially manage it. To be safe, learn to live on less so that you can face the worst case scenario of losing your job, living with an illness or personal crisis, or that the economy takes a downturn doesn’t destroy your confidence.

Do you know how to budget each meal? Can you quickly calculate your living costs? Do you know how much you are paying in taxes each year? Do you really need to buy the latest gear every year? If you can live on less, you’ll be able to save more for the things you really want to do with your life, retirement, and health.

Learn To Manage Hire a financial adviser, read financial guides and books, take a course on stock trading or personal finance and learn the basics (and more, if possible) about managing your finances. How many of us have lost sleep wondering how we’re going to make enough money to pay our bills?

Also, learn to manage your emotions and impulses to consume. We don’t need to shop when we’re feeling down or insecure. We also don’t have to buy something simply because it’s in style and we can afford it. We also don’t have to spend money on our credit card just because it’s quick and convenient to have what we want now.

Learn to develop a sense of self discipline and financial knowledge in your twenties. Having a family, owning a home, raising children, facing crisis and poor health are very expensive, require a certain level of financial knowledge, and demand commitment and responsibility.

If you can keep focus on these three facets during your terrible 20s, you can build an exciting and rewarding career of your choice. You’ll be able to call your own career shots and can live according your own desires and calling. What are you waiting for? Get to work now! I look forward to seeing you in your Thriving 30s!


Leslie, Inc. offers solutions for finding happiness through one-on-one coaching, mindful leadership retreats, and digital products. If you’re ready to GET HAPPY, check out Leslie’s guide packs. For more tips on achieving your state of happiness, sign up for Leslie, Inc’s weekly newsletter.

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