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Things I wish I knew at 20!

Reflecting on my early career days, I can’t help but wish I had a mentor to guide me as I stepped into the professional world. Discussing with some of my clients too made me reflect that perhaps there were some common tips that could have been helpful at the start of our careers, had we been privy to those.

Here are some broad tips that we felt would have made our working life smoother and might just do the same for those starting out now :

1. Embrace the Learning Curve 

Starting your first job can be overwhelming, and it’s perfectly okay to feel like you’re swimming in uncharted waters. Embrace the learning curve with an open mind. Seek guidance, ask questions, and remember: Every mistake is a lesson in disguise. Ditch the hesitation and go ahead. Learning does not finish in College.

2. Network, Network, Network! 

Building a strong professional network is like having a secret weapon in your career arsenal. Attend industry events, connect with colleagues, and don’t underestimate the power of platforms like #LinkedIn! Your network can open doors to opportunities you might not have imagined. Build rapport, build real connections.

3. Prioritize Work-Life Balance 

Finding the right balance between work and personal life is crucial for long-term success. Burnout is real, and maintaining your mental and physical well-being should always be a priority. Don’t hesitate to set boundaries and make time for self-care.

4. Financial Literacy Matters 

Understanding the basics of personal finance is a game-changer. Start saving early, create a budget, and explore investment options. Financial stability brings peace of mind and empowers you to make career decisions based on passion and fulfillment rather than just a paycheck. Develop a business acumen, understand financial statements early instead of avoiding them at work or letting someone else do it.

5. Take Initiative and Be Proactive 

Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you—seek them out! Volunteer for projects, express your ideas, and showcase your skills. Being proactive not only helps you stand out but also accelerates your professional growth. Differentiate yourself through your work. Be dependable.

6. Develop Soft Skills 

Technical skills are vital, but don’t underestimate the power of soft skills. Communication, adaptability, and teamwork are attributes that can set you apart in any workplace. Invest time in honing these skills—it’s an investment that pays off in the long run and is the base for leadership development skills of empathy, resilience and inclusivity.

7. Learn to Navigate Office Politics 

Office politics can be tricky, but understanding the dynamics and learning how to navigate them is crucial. Build positive relationships, stay neutral, and focus on your work. Remember, it’s about collaboration, not competition. Stay away from gossip and bullies, focus on your learning curve about your job and learning qualities from people who you look up to at work.

8. Embrace Feedback and Continuous Learning 

Constructive feedback is a gift. Embrace it, learn from it, and use it to grow. Continuous learning is the key to staying relevant in a dynamic job market. Attend workshops, take online courses, and stay curious. Take feedback to improve yourself and raise your own bar.

9. Cultivate a Growth Mindset 

Approach challenges with a growth mindset. Embrace the belief that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. Challenges are opportunities to learn and grow, not roadblocks. Learn from mistakes.

10. Approach Change with Confidence 

Embrace change. It is easy to get comfortable where we are but growth happens in the unknown. Take that new role, or new posting and shine out by developing new learning muscles to adapt and be successful.

Remember, success is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride, stay curious, and never stop investing in yourself. If you’re looking for guidance in your career or contemplating a transition, feel free to reach out to me for career coaching. Let’s make your career journey a fulfilling adventure!


#CareerTips #ProfessionalDevelopment #CareerCoaching #LifeLessons #SuccessJourney


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