Career Advice for Twenty-Somethings: The Introduction

My daughter turned 20 this month. She’s a smart, hard-working, focused college student, a few years removed from starting her career. It occurs to me that she and her friends could benefit from what I have learned in my thirty-six years as a working woman.

Mother and daughter in Iceland.

As she is my daughter, I can’t say these things to her directly. The advice would get caught up in the “If your mom is telling you to do something, then she must be wrong” filter. I am not sure why this filter exists in every teenage girl and twenty-something woman who is fortunate enough to have her mother in her life at that age. It just does and there is nothing we can do about it.

Having had my own mother in my life until my mid-forties, I know this filter often dissipates as you get older, or get married, or have children, or just live and experience a little more. That’s when you start to realize there is some benefit to listening to someone who knows you, wants only the best for you and loves you unconditionally. I’ve sensed the early stages of this melting resistance to parental advice already in my own daughter.

According to my most recent Social Security Statement, I have been working since 1975, when I had earnings of $453.  In the 36 years since then,  I have worked as a bus girl, waitress, car hop/dishwasher, deli/bakery clerk, door-to-door salesman, retail clerk, secretary, Naval officer, program analyst, and attorney.  According to Social Security, my lifetime earnings have exceeded $1.8 million. Believe me when I say I earned every penny.

So my next few posts (until I run out of things to say, that is) will focus on the things that I have learned while working. My goal is to pass on some useful information to my daughter and her friends, both male and female. As I will discuss in my next post, the young men and women of the millennial generation, all 50 million of them, tend to want the same things out of life.  The attitudes of men and women of this age toward work and careers are more alike than they are different.

My daughter may not read these posts now, or she may read them and the advice may get caught up in the “she must be wrong” filter.  But everything on the internet lives on forever and can never be taken back (another future topic), so I am confident that she will read these posts someday, later if not sooner, and that my advice will not go unheeded and will help her in the future.

7 thoughts on “Career Advice for Twenty-Somethings: The Introduction

  1. Before this age of instant gratification, more of us grew up in conditions where some level of hardship was the norm. Thrift, that rather old-fashioned habit, was an essential part of even middle class life; things you longed for did not appear instantly but often had to be earned. As a result they were much more valued and appreciated. There was a sense of pride in mastery and achievement, in having worked one’s way to a goal, in having had the experience of some responsibility and power in achieving it, even in very early childhood.

  2. As a twenty-something who just got married I know exactly what you mean…I can’t believe it has taken me such a long time to learn that my parents often know more than I do about things, and are giving me useful advice because they want the best for me. I wonder how many mistakes I could have avoided if only I’d realised that earlier.

    I look forward to reading some of your advice.

    [Although, as a twenty-something I still remain convinced that parents also sometimes have a “no, my child said it so it must be wrong filter” till they remember you’re also an adult with good knowledge in some areas….and not in fact a 10 year old]

  3. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you. I already have topics selected for the next 5 posts. I think there is a skill to listening to what your child says and validating it rather than trying to correct or enhance it. I am working on honing that skill.

  4. Pingback: Career Advice for Twenty-Somethings (Part Two): The Millennials « INDIE ALBANY

  5. Pingback: Career Advice for Twenty-Somethings (Part Four): Go Make a Plan « INDIE ALBANY

  6. Pingback: Career Advice for Twenty-Somethings (Part Five): Fire Up Your Dreams « INDIE ALBANY

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