For many 20-somethings, preparing for the future means making plans for the weekend. But some young people are already planning for their 40s. (Older folks affectionately refer to this group as whippersnappers, smarty-pants, or the smart ones). If you’re a young person and want to impress the world, keep these tips in mind.
Many 20-year-olds have limited responsibilities—compared to older adults. Context is everything. Sure, there are bills to pay, such as your rent. However, many of you don't have to worry about children or a spouse yet, and you’re free to make choices that don't directly affect anyone but you.
Maybe you should take that interesting job opportunity that will move you away from your friends. Yes, you’ll have to make more friends, but you won’t lose the old ones. There’s a lot to gain from such a bold move.1 If an opportunity strikes, you should seriously consider it. Don't wait and wonder 20 years later what might have happened if you had walked through that open door. In fact, just going on an interview can be an adventure. There’s no rule that says you have to accept the job. Just get out there, and see what appeals to you.
Have a thoughtful opinion and share it.
In your 20s, you may be afraid to express your thoughts with people older than you. However, sharing these opinions may actually help you, especially if you choose the right place. Acting as a thought leader early in your career on platforms such as LinkedIn could help you connect with people you never thought you'd meet. If you come across an interesting opinion piece or article on your industry, offer your thoughts on it and share it with your followers. You might be able to generate a conversation with people who can create opportunities for you. Doing this regularly will allow you to establish yourself as a thinker, a conversation starter, and even help you get to know yourself better.2
Young people who are wise beyond their years usually share one secret: they have a mentor. Whether it's an old professor or someone you work with, sharing ideas and getting feedback from an older adult with proven experience is a win-win. To find a mentor, talk to people who have been in your shoes, are in your industry and still succeeding. More often than not, they'll have a lot of wisdom to share with you. Talking to them regularly can develop into a mentorship, regardless of whether it’s officially defined as such.
Don't lose touch.
If you switch jobs, it’s easy to stop communicating with an old friend from work or a friendly boss. Don't let that happen. Always try to keep in touch with the people you connect with, even if you don't see them as often as you'd like to. You never know when you may need to reach out to them.
Enjoy your 20s, and if you heed the advise in this article, you may enjoy your 40s much more.