We all feel the pressure to be successful, rich, showcase our talents to the world and accomplish all of our dreams. Of course, all those things are important and we should aspire to be as fulfilled as we can be in life, but where exactly does this pressure stem from?
As 20-somethings, we feel we have to compete with every other 20-something, and by doing so, we refuse to go at our own pace. We’re trying to get to where we want to be so badly that we end up taking the journey for granted.
Social media reminds us how much others have achieved and how far behind we are for not being there yet. However, it’s important to remember that there are definitely benefits to taking things slow and not rushing into them just for the sake of it.
Finding a job is not the end all, be all of life and there is no rule that says we have to have our dream job by the time we blow out our 21st birthday candles. Finding a job you're passionate about may take some time, but that's not to say you're missing out or doing anything wrong.
Here are a few reasons to slow down and enjoy the ride that leads up to your career path:
1. It's good to make mistakes
Take on internships that you think are an absolute nightmare and take jobs that pay way less than they should. This teaches you exactly what you don't want and what you aren’t willing to settle for.
If you grab the first thing that comes your way, it could be great and everything you’ve ever wanted, but if you’ve never had the chance to try anything else, how will you know?
2. We learn so much on the journey to finding ourselves
On this epic journey of self-discovery, we're learning about ourselves as people just as much as we're learning what makes us happy. All of these different opportunities will teach you about yourself and you will grow with each job you do and each different thing you try.
You may find that the dream job you’ve envisioned since you were a kid has changed as you explore new things and delve into the unknown.
3. Exploration and travel is important
Getting the chance to travel and go to beautiful countries is something that gives you depth and helps you grow as a person. You learn to be more independent, appreciate new places and cultures and meet people you probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Getting to travel and broaden your horizons is almost guaranteed to make you more open-minded and hopefully, you will bring that penchant for trying new things back with you. Open yourself up to new things and new opportunities, and go and see the world. You’ll have great stories to tell.
4. So many successful people didn't "make it" until they were a lot older
Mark Cuban (the owner of the Dallas Mavericks) worked as a bartender in his own bar until he was 25. Ever heard of a little fast food brand called McDonald's? Well, Founder Ray Kroc started the business when he was 52 and until then, he sold paper cups and milkshake mixers.
Renowned actor and producer, Harrison Ford, only started acting when he was in his 30s. Before that, he spent his time as a carpenter. J.K. Rowling was a single mom on welfare up until she was 31. So, just in case you hit the big 3-0 and have yet to accomplish greatness, these people should remind you that sometimes, it just takes time.
5. By the time you find your job, you have already accomplished so much
After exploring and traveling, by the time you're ready to get settled in your career path, you have so much experience beyond just good grades and good references.
Being able to pull out a list of things you’ve done other than just graduating will look so good to a future employer. Not to mention Gen-Y has the upperhand by being able to navigate our way around a computer and every platform of social media invented thus far.
6. We can change our minds at any time
I’m sure everyone can remember the first job he or she dreamed about as a kid. Whether it was an astronaut or a doctor, we all had an idea of our perfect future careers. If you stuck to that, great! You’re already on your way and you have time to explore and dip into this huge sea of options in that field.
If not, you’re very lucky, too. You now get to look at what you wanted as a 10-year-old and what you want now, and see how far you’ve come. It’s a beautiful reminder to change and allow yourself to grow and want different things than you did before.
7. Our college years are meant to be the best years of our lives
Years spent in college are meant to be the best ones ever. It can’t just be a coincidence that everyone looks back and reminisces about how incredible those years were, so we should definitely take note.
Even if we get our dream jobs and get to experience that great feeling of having a job we love so we "never have to work a day in our lives," it still probably doesn’t compare to being young, carefree and enjoying every minute of every day.
So, lift up your alcohol-filled red cups and stuff your face with pizza and bad takeout; these years won’t come around again.
8. Being happy is about a lot more than just a good job
There are so many things that we need to have a fulfilled life. Of course, having a job that makes you happy and pays the bills is a huge part of that, but by rushing straight into a job, we miss out on a lot of experiences that we may not get the chance to have again.
For the majority of us, we need more to make us happy than a steady career. Getting the chance to take some time for yourself before settling into a job will help you find out what else is needed to make you happy in life. Let it always be a reminder to not substitute your happiness for anything.
9. We can explore all of our options
Some people are lucky and know exactly what they want to do and can work their way up to that and be content and extremely fulfilled for the rest of their lives. However, if you're not so sure, right now is the time to try loads of different career paths, internships, placements and job opportunities and we can rule out what we don't want as we go on this journey.
Say you want to be a writer, but that's all you've got; you don't have any idea what style of writing or who or what you want to write for. Whether you want to write songs, TV shows or articles, you have the perfect opportunity to try a bit of everything. This way, you're ruling out what you don't want and hopefully finding the ideal career path for you.
10. We have more time to RELAX
Even if you score a job that’s perfect for you, the likelihood is that it's still going to require long hours and tiring days. So relax while you can.
If you want to party every day, then get it all out of your system so that when you start working you’re not itching for a night out every day of the week. No one likes an office hangover, and smelling like someone drowned you in vodka probably isn’t the best first impression to make -- unless your dream job is to work for Smirnoff.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It