Ahoy ahoy, I am flying a lot lately for work, so I've decided to blog fortnightly to occupy my restless self, and continue my blog-therapy (it really works).
Mid-twenties career establishment - ya'll ready?
I spent the better half of my teenage years gritting my teeth when my mother would try and sit me down to help me establish a “life path” as she liked to refer to it as – which oddly coincided after every parent-teacher interview at my all-girls high school. I was an average student, I didn’t excel until I was staring down the barrel at my final year and realised I probably did want to attend University at some point.
At 16, 17 years old, I couldn’t give a flying f*ck what I was going to be doing in my 20s, 30s or even 40s, it just didn’t matter to me. I had unrealistic goals obviously, being naïve allows you to set the bar REAL high (think, married at 22, career established by 25, six figure salary by 27 and a range rover parked in the driveway of my ascot abode by 30). When my parents would tell me to be more realistic, I often thought of the “realistic” plan B, which was to marry up.
Almost a decade on, I am pleased to say I didn’t marry at 22, but I have worked my ass off and hit my 25th year and 27th year “unrealistic goals” out of the park, all before turning 26. My final unrealistic goal still stands, but I’m pretty content living a beer lifestyle on a champagne budget – this is the secret recipe to be able to have all that I need + travel, every bloody year. I’ll leave my life budget expertise to another blog post – as this deserves its own stage. Anyway, back to my tips to career success;
Often you hear from well-established, mid-forties, career driven humans that the secret to success is years and years of hard work. While this might be true, I am telling you it is quite achievable to have a successful, established career within a 5-year period. There are only two characteristics you will need to adopt and embody: the ability to prioritise, and an f*cking unshakable work ethic.
By unshakable I am referring to the times where your entire world - professional, personal and your own health are stacked up against you. You must be able to weather the storm of a misogynistic asshole of a boss, long hours, the feeling of failure day in and day out and still being able to hold onto that glimmer of hope that tomorrow may be a little different. This is single-handedly the one tool you require to grow professionally, no matter the industry you’ve found yourself in.
By the ability to prioritise – To gain great steps professionally, your personal life will take a complete battering. Anyone who has found success in a career, has noted that you will often need to forgo personal wants for professional needs – and this will forever be a continuous balancing act. This has single handily been my biggest asset but also my biggest flaw as I’ve watched numerous good friendships fall to the wayside due to the lack of personal connection, when often ALL of my focus has been un-apologetically on work. Unfortunately this is just life, but you will go through moments where the feeling of isolation is heightened, but a hot tip to conquer this is to find like-minded friends, they often provide a level of comfort and understanding to the life balance that you’re not achieving and do not hold this over you personally.
Scooting back to the 5-year career growth period, gone are the days of staying loyal to a company for 20 years. This is the slowest path to career success. Sure, there are the benefits of being a loyal employee but often, a loyal employee will be overlooked when it comes to promotions and salary increases and this is purely down to the fact that the management team above you know they don’t need to try all that hard to keep you. The average length of time for an employee to soak up all that an organisation has to offer is 24 months (2 years). That’s a very short window of time to become established, to have your work-ethic noticed and appreciated, and to do great work that will put you in a good position to be employable by another company. Nothing is more toxic to professional growth than realising you’re not learning anymore and your tasks become second nature. My favourite saying is “when you realise you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”. Time to shift, make movements, become naive again, and learn. This is how I, along with many of my peers have found career success in our mid-twenties.
I’d just like to quickly note that the above-mentioned career movements didn’t come without reservations. My last employment move was one of the toughest decisions of my life. I was comfortable, had formed life-long relationships but I was no longer challenged on the mat. My only work challenges were certain personality clashes and my deciding factor was - who the f*ck has time for that. I entered my career in mid-2015, three companies later, I have successfully developed my skill set, experience, my resume for project size and tripled the salary I started with – all by mid-2018. This is far from an intended gloat, but I just want to prove that with an unshakable work ethic and the ability to prioritise, you can achieve “career success”. If you’re uninterested in career success, apologies for occupying the last 10 minutes of your life.
Up next: Life budget blog – inspired by the barefoot investor, 50 Cent – get rich or die trying, and my love affair with travelling the world.