Spoiler alert! Your 20s are overrated! #truth That’s #30 on the list.
Nonetheless your 20s are also incredibly formative years filled with adventure and tons of “teachable moments”. Play smart and your 20s can set you up for wonderful adventures along life’s journey. Do enough damage and you can end up old and bitter with lots and lots of cats. Lots of them.
To that end, here are 30 pieces of knowledge that you need to drill into your cabeza by the time you hit 30 years of age that are guaranteed to keep you healthy and happy.
- Be patient. You’ll hit the big time in due time. Paying your dues is the new black.
- Read every contract, word for word. Don’t give out your autograph to just anyone. Capish?
- Nerd out. Learn every new skill you can. Read. Educate yourself.
- Software is sexy. Being a fashionista is about having skills. Learn Photoshop, get in deep with Microsoft Office Suite and know that Excel matters more than you will ever know.
- Your portfolio is you. Love it, nurture it and find new ways to build it every day. Then update your resume while you are at it. Complacency is a killer.
- Spell check, grammar check, check please! HR, recruiters, top executives list this among their number one pet peeves on resumes, emails and everything else. Don’t let a small hiccup undo your hard work. Yup, it’s that serious.
- Get over yourself. Enjoy the compliments but take time to make critical self-assessments. Learn about yourself, make adjustments and grow.
- Listen more than you speak.
- They didn’t teach you enough in college. Harvard, Yale, FIT, Parsons – they can’t teach you real life and real experiences in a classroom. Get out in the real world, join clubs and connect with the industry because all the classes in the world can’t prepare you for the real thing.
- Use social media wisely, Young Jedi. Make your digital footprint intelligently, build your brand and don’t do anything stupid. You do realize some 80% of hiring managers have admitted to searching out prospective candidates on Facebook, according to one study? Take down the drunk pics in Cancun. P.S. LinkedIn is the real deal – bank on it!
- Your credit score will get you on the red carpet. Keep your credit over 700 and watch how many red carpets get rolled out for you. Take some basic courses or seminars in financial planning and management, keep important records, manage your debt and student loan payments, spend wisely, save and invest. Also, while you are at it, make sure you have the right health insurance for your needs. There is such a thing as being over insured.
- Renting is cool, owning is cooler. Think about it! Why throw money out the window every month? Look into buying a place and be master of your own domain. Getting financially savvy is a theme here, get it?
- You don’t have to always be right, but don’t overdo they mea culpas either.
- Be careful who you get into bed with. Get your head out of the gutter, it’s not romantic advice! Think twice about where you attach your name. This includes business partners, organizations and friends. It’s your name and your personal brand at stake.
- Network, network, network. Oh, and don’t forget to network. Follow up, be professional.
- Vista print cards really kill your cred. Basically, anything that looks cheap and is tattooed with the word “free” all over it. This goes for websites and just about anything else. Spend smart, but c’mon! You want to show that you understand branding, design and quality, especially in this industry. Hand one of these out and you’ve proven you understand none of the above. Seriously, you’re better off using a napkin… preferably a highly-quality, extra soft, embossed model.
- Intern. You are worth the money. Then again so is everyone else. It’s a big, talented world out there. Humble yourself and gain the skills to out-do the competition.
- Manage expectations…both yours and that of others.
- Self-source. If your portfolio isn’t growing or you aren’t landing the jobs you want then make it happen for yourself. Find peers, produce your own designs, start a blog. If it’s not happening then make it happen. Then put it on your resume. It shows chutzpah!
- “Fake it til you make it” is a good recipe for going broke. Who cares how much money your friends “say” they make. Lying about wallet-size is right up there with weight. Don’t get sucked into this game. Sure, you need to project the right image, but don’t get caught in the trap. You don’t have to spend like a baller to look like a million bucks.
- Embrace the protection of rejection. So you didn’t get the job, the lover or whatever else you were after. Let it go. It wasn’t a “fit” and maybe that’s a good thing. The right situation is your make or break. Go where you will be loved, feel fulfilled and be recognized for your awesomeness.
- Sometimes you really are the problem. Check your attitude. Check the way you are doing things. It might explain a lot of things that are making you unhappy.
- Sometimes you really aren’t the problem. You are just in the wrong situation. The challenge is figuring out if this is truly the case. If you really are the ugly duckling then go somewhere you can be a swan. What are you waiting for?
- Treat everyone with respect and professionalism. Today’s intern could be tomorrow’s CEO. It really does happen so watch your back! Extra emphasis on the intern love. Seriously. Go take them out to lunch… today!
- Find a mentor. Do it! Now! Ahora!
- Whatever you put in writing, do on-camera and post on social media could follow you the rest of your life. Anything you say or do can be used against you.
- Be able to look yourself in the mirror. In other words, make decisions you can live with. It’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s your life, do as you choose. Just know that regardless of what you see your friends pulling off, don’t be so quick to believe it will work for you. Many people with horrible addictions are in actuality self-medicating and you don’t want to end up one of them.
- Love passionately, move slowly. Love is wonderful and if it’s real it will be there for you tomorrow. No need to elope, get co-mingled bank accounts, ditch your friends, move cities or make any other rash decisions. Definitely don’t rush to move in. Do you know how hard it is to find a good apartment in Manhattan? Just in case you forget, start this list over and at advice #1.
- It’s your life. End of story. Your mom wants you to be a doctor, your cousin thinks your should get married, your best friend thinks you need plastic surgery. It’s your life. You know the difference between good and bad advice. Find your inner compass and follow it. Put on your headphones, crank up the tunes and don’t get sidetracked by all the outside noise.
- Your 20s are overrated. You’ll often spend more time crying your eyes out over relationships, jobs and drama that really don’t matter in the long run. Life is long. Do more yoga, drink less, eat healthy and stop tanning so much! 50 is the new 30 so don’t grow up to look like Leatherface. Do you really want 23 to be your heyday? You have far more to look forward to so act as if. Oh, and play your cards right and you will only get hotter as you get older.
Stay thirsty, my friends!