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5 Career Mistakes To Avoid In Your 20s (Most People Make These Mistakes)

These 5 mistakes will ensure you don't have a successful career


As a recent graduate who has just been welcomed into the real world, I’ve come to know that there’s a lot about life and our career trajectory we don’t often learn about in the ivory tower. In school, we learn only about a fraction of what is needed to advance our careers and succeed in the real world jungle while we are left to figure out the rest all on our own (isn’t that why there’s such a thing as being street-smart). And since we don’t know any better, it’s only natural that we have to seek further enrollment at the school of hard knocks where error becomes our school master and we are forced to learn the hard way.

But it’s infinitely wiser for young careerists to learn off the experiences of their more advanced counterparts who have traversed the full length of the career footpath and by virtue of which they can better tell us the do’s and don’ts. So if you’re in your 20s and preparing to launch your career, then you had better pay attention to these 5 career mistakes.

(1) Not believing in yourself

Some People say I have attitude- maybe I do…but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does- that makes you a winner right there. Venus Williams.

Believe you can and you’re halfway there – Theodore Roosevelt.

If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you’d like to win, but thin you can’t,

It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you are lost;

For out in this world we find

Success begins with a fellow’s will

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are;

You’ve got think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win the prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man;

But sooner or later the man who wins

Is the one who thinks he can! – Walter D. Wintle

Self-belief is something that is seldom emphasized among young careerists nowadays. A little self-belief has the power to turn a person with average skills into a prodigy. Without believing in your career prospects you’d already be twice defeated before ever launching your career.

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(2) Nobody is really keeping score.

Don’t get neurotic trying too hard be a goody two shoes or Mr. or Miss perfect. In your 20s people don’t really care about how many eggs you’ve broken until you’ve entered your 30s. So use this time to experiment with different career openings until you find something that you are most passionate about and that really suits you to a tee.

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(3) Never quit a promising job until you have a concrete offer elsewhere

Don’t make the mistake of quitting your current career to pursue career leads in uncharted territories. You might be taking a leap into the dark. What is that quote again about sticking with, no. “Better the angel you know than the devil you don’t know”. (Why should I have to stick with a devil over an angel when I can just tinker with the words?). That isn’t to say you shouldn’t explore with other career opportunities that would come your way. Just have your both feet on the ground when making that decision.

Photo Credits: Pixabay

(4) Never violate the norms of your place of work

In every organization, there exists a plethora of rules that guide the conduct of employees. Beyond that organizations have core values they cherish and protect which form part of their mission statement. There are those that proscribe surfing the internet at office hours, visiting dating sites while at work, watching questionable movies online, and notably relations with other employees. Screw one of these and you’ve had it. In my freshman year in the university, an assistant dean and associate professor was dismissed and and got prosecuted because he had violated one of the university norms. What he did was so beyond pale that no other employer would have him on their team. So he has been out of work ever since.

(5) Think long term with the future always in mind

It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities. – JK Rowling

We know millennials are always fueled by the overpowering need to grab whatever job that comes in by their door upon graduation from school since they’d have a lot of expectations to meet.. But it’s critical you think things over before you ever venture into the unknown. Spend time to reflect over your career decisions whenever you are faced with a cross road putting your career goals, job prospects and satisfaction always in the front row. Look beyond the immediate. You can never turn back the hands of time in order to blaze a missed opportunity. You should have learnt something from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. You certainly don’t want to purr over your missed opportunities!

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