I am 26. For some it's young for others old. I don't know how is it for me, because I feel better than ever. Finally learned to control myself, know what I want and how to get there. I am my own boss and I know that mistakes have consequences.
Summer has always been starting point for something new. And instead of re-evaluating my year in December, I usually do it in July.
My early 20's were great. I've learned so much when it comes to work and human relationships in general I am now able differentiate between what is important and what is just a waste of time. I still need to improve my organization and communication skills. But I created a list of lessons learned when I was standing at the beginning of my career and also my relationship with a crazy Balkan guy.
1. Keep learning new skills
Knowing how to do something can come so handy. Here in Bohemia we have saying that every skill you learn young, you will find again later in life. When I was 20 I started with sewing and look at me now. I am still learning but I am able to wear what I make. I learned how to knit, even though I don't do it much so I still suck. But I have a solid base for when I will be pregnant and I will be able to knit my baby at least a blanket. Learning new skills will help you find a great hobby and trust me, you'll feel way more productive than checking out Facebook.
2. Life is too short to hang out with someone you don't have immediate connection to
You don't need to force yourself to hang out with your college classmates if you don't have a spark between yourself. I tried, failed and at the end it was me who felt miserable for not being able to engage with them. Everybody is different and you cannot force friendship. Those things come naturally and if you don't find someone at your school, you'll find them later when working or just by fate. I found my best friends recently and they are the best best friends I could wish for.
And if you want to hang out with someone just because they are cool, you are setting yourself for another friendship failure. They will move on, forget about you. Just work on yourself and you'll see that those who didn't really appreciate your company for the true you, will want to crawl back into your life as soon as you achieve something. But this time you're the cool one.
3. It's not important to be the best one in school
I am not saying you shouldn't go to school. Not at all. But make your best efforts to learn as much as you possibly can but don't get down if your project is not good enough. I studied on a prestige art college which was really hard to get to, but I had a hard times because my works weren't as good as my classmate's, at least according to the professors. And that's fine. As soon as I realized, that I am not good enough artist to feed myself, I moved my creative spirit to Marketing and I work with the biggest companies, making more money than those who did fine at school. Plus I am proud I always stayed true to myself with my artworks. But I still couldn't get where I am now if I didn't go to that school.
4. Good contacts are everything
Everyone knows that knowing people in the good places is important. Don't be afraid to talk with people you don't know and don't give them attitude. Who knows maybe you are just talking to the CEO of Coca Cola. I met the most of those people while working as a sales assistant at Nike and become good friend with them because we shared passion - sports.
5. Don't be too good for some job
Everyone needs to start somewhere and I am sorry but you are not going to launch your career as a creative director. Work your way up by learning everything from the bottom. I worked 12 hours shift in a store, I had to take out trash, clean stuck gum on floor, price tag merchandise, hang clothes on hangers and deal with some idiotic customers. But you can learn so much from it. If you are doing the best you can, trust me people will notice and you'll find yourself doing much more pleasant job soon enough.
6. Don' t stay where you are unhappy
I had jobs that sometimes clashed with my rules, that paid me too little or literary ripped me off. If you work somewhere and don't feel like you are being valued enough (not speaking only about money, but respect) or it doesn't bring you pleasure to give your 100% commitment just leave. You cannot build a career somewhere where you feel like nobody values you or listen to your ideas. You can do so much better.
7. Avoid gossiping
Don't be part of work gossiping. Ever! You lower yourself to elementary school and you can also hurt someone.
8. If you know how to do something and it's not part of your job description, don't say you know, unless you are really happy at work or they offer extra money
Never show off and say you know how to do something, because you'll have to do it. For free! Let your company hire someone and not save money by enslaving you.
9. Stay true to yourself
Don't follow certain trends if they don't match your personality, don't pretend you like someone just because they can help you to achieve something, don't try to be something you are not for a guy. And don't be afraid to raise your hand and say your opinion. Once I started doing that, people actually listened and gave me respect.
All the best to you at the start of your adulthood! XX