The Biggest Career Mistakes You Can Make In Your Twenties

Being twenty five is... weird.

If you're anything like me, you're a few years into your career, and you're finding yourself in that strange spot where people don't take you seriously, despite the fact that it's time to really get serious. You're 'the kid' of the office, or if you're freelance, you have a hard time commanding respect from clients. While it's still a (huge) struggle for me, avoiding these mistakes can help you make the most of this critical point in your career and pave the way for good things to come.

Stop thinking you know everything.

If I could, I'd write this twice.

I hate to stereotype my generation, but honestly, this one might just be true. There is so much that can be learned from our elders, our superiors, our colleagues, our families... Not to mention, it's just polite to be respectful. Even myself, when in positions of leadership, have been challenged by my peers or direct reports. It's not that (most) Milennials don't respect Boomers, it's that they don't respect anyone... There, I said it. Yes, you got a great education from an awesome school, and it's totally unfair that you're in a massive amount of debt for it. I know the Internet has taught you a ton and that a lot of old school rules should probably be revisited. I get your resentment, and I get your need to compete. But you're never going to know it all. That's impossible.

No one ever will.

And maybe you are better than your boss at their job. But if that's the case, then you need to become the best at your job before thinking about taking on someone else's responsibilities. Focus on you, not them. Things will fall in line.

Don't take it easy.

Besides the whole "paying your dues" aspect, I'll never understand why people feel like the big stuff should wait until they're more experienced. So you'll be "more experienced" a few years from now. But by then, if kids are you thing, you might have a few. If marriage is what you're into, you'll probably have a spouse to deal with. Besides PokemonGO and maybe remembering to feed your dog, what responsibilities do you really have right now, besides work?

Stay at the office a little late. Forgo that vacation with friends. Start that side business... Write that book! Now is the time.

Take risks.

If there's any cheesy cliche I believe in, it's that nothing great in life comes easy. 

When I quit my safe retail management job to explore non-profits and start freelance writing, people told me I was crazy. When I signed up to video blog every day for a month straight on top of those things, I was told I'd lost my mind. When I moved away from all of my friends in family to a city with an (undeserved) awful reputation, even I questioned myself. 

But without those risks, I wouldn't be living my dream life right now. You're twentysomething. You're going to struggle. You'll occasionally have a hard time paying bills and putting food in your belly, especially if you're trying to turn your passion into a career. You'll probably have to leave home if your dreams are as big as mine are. You'll deal with criticism and hate. And you'll shoot all those things down if you're determined enough. Trust me.

What mistakes did you make in your twenties?