Career Advice Professional Development

10 Things Every 20-Something Should Know About Working

Emily Dawson
By: Emily Dawson
Oct 23, 2020 • 6 min read

10 Things Every 20-Something Should Know About Working

Whether you have just graduated and are beginning your career or have a new job as a professional, there are things that you should know about being a working person! This guide will tell you ten things you need to know to prepare yourself for what is coming. Here are 10 things every 20-something should know about working! 

every 20-something

1. Sometimes You Have to be Your Own Advocate

Working is hard, and being young comes with the possibility people might not take you as seriously as the more senior employees. Remember to always stand up for yourself and the work you have done. If you are working hard and doing your job to the best of your ability, there is no reason for anyone to treat you as if you don’t know what you are doing. Be your own cheerleader, and stand up for yourself. You’ll have to sometimes.  

2. You Will Slip Up

As humans, everyone makes mistakes. You will mess up somewhere at some point during your job. That is ok! There is this impression in the workplace that everyone expects perfection all the time. Though that would be ideal, it is not possible. Give yourself some grace and learn from your mistakes! Everyone has those days, but you come out the other side stronger and with more knowledge. Accepting your mistakes is a skill every 20-something working person should know. 

every 20-something

3. Communication is the Most Important Skill

Effective communication is valued more than any other skill in the workplace. It doesn’t matter what job you have in what industry; you have to communicate. If someone misunderstands what you are trying to say, they will likely make mistakes, and the process becomes longer now that there is a problem that has to be corrected. Always be clear and concise in how you write and speak to others. 

4. More Independence

The thing about being a working adult is that you are pretty much on your own after you have finished your training weeks. You have much more independence than you might think, but don’t let that stop you from asking questions and collaborating when you need it. You have the independence of doing your job on your own terms in the way that works for you. Your independence may vary depending on what industry you go into, but for the most part, you are expected to do much of the work on your own.  

every 20-something

5. There’s a Bigger Picture

You are a smaller part of a bigger picture. You are one person who has been hired to join an entire company or business where there are lots of moving parts and many departments that make everything possible. Don’t let that make you think you aren’t valued or have much impact because it is the opposite. You were hired for a reason, to take part in something that makes a difference in some way. 

6. Flexibility is a Must 

To work anywhere, you have to be flexible, whether it be the hours you work, the deadlines you have to complete a project, or how the work gets completed. You have to be able to adapt and do your job to the best of your ability. There are bound to be hiccups in every process, and you have to be flexible. Know what is possible for you and understand where people are coming from and why they are asking for changes. 

every 20-something

7. You Have a Voice

Though you might be a small fish in a large pond, you are there for a reason! The company just like you, they hired you. As a young person, you have a fresh perspective and may look at things much differently from the people around you. Most of the time, people want to hear what you think. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas; you may come up with something no one would have thought of. Every 20-something should know the power of their voice and have the confidence to use it! 

8. You’ll Learn a Lot on the Job

Even though you may have a degree or certification of some kind, nothing compares to you actually doing the job. Each company has specific practices that you will have to implement. The lessons you learn in classes are certainly helpful, but nothing compares to putting your skills to the test. You will learn the most from experience and doing what they hired you for. Learning will never stop as you and your company evolves. 

every 20-something

9. Know the Company Values

The company’s values may differ from your own, so be sure you know what they expect in terms of your position. They may value employees coming in on time for work or always attending a weekly lunch outing. These are social examples, but they may value other practices as well. Be sure you know what is expected of you because you will need to fit in the mold of the ideal employee at their company. 

10. Your First Job is Probably Not Your Last

Whether you are starting your first job in your 20s or not, the job you have right now, you will not likely have for the rest of your life. There will be countless opportunities that will pop up as you go through life, and you will want to take them! Enjoy your time at your current job, and know that this is one of the first steps of your professional journey. Every 20-something should know that there is always room to grow, and your first job is not your final destination. 

More to Explore: 

How to Practice Mindfulness in The Workplace – Here

10 Interview Myths – Here 

How to Be Your Own Biggest Fan – Here 

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