- Wise Words -
The 3 things I wish I'd known Before Starting Out
by ron luongo
No one gets it right the first time. In this section current and former Early Stage Professionals set out the pieces they wish they had got right early on in their careers. Below, Ron Luongo sets out the three things he wishes he had done differently.
Taken time off before attending college. Although it may seem callous, I wish I did not listen to my parents and immediately attend college. My maturity level at 17 was not advanced enough to make a decision such as “what should my professional focus be for the rest of the my life?”. People say you can always switch careers, which is true as long as you’re willing to start from the bottom in your newly chosen career. This is a large reason you don’t see a lot of 35+ interns. Ideally I would have liked to spend my younger years with a major focus and passion versus floundering around until I actually found something that spoke to me. In the end, I wish I would have taken a year and really learned to understand myself and what drives me. I think I would have made a much more educated decision, based on experience as to what direction my life should have taken.
'Not thought I was above entry level jobs when entering the work force. I distinctly remember when beginning my job search that I was above many entry level jobs. I was seriously annoyed by the concept of “paying ones dues” and immediately wanted to jump in and make an major impact for my new company. I find this trait more and more common among Early Stage Professionals. Commonly I see the 23 year old CEO (sole proprietor) of their startup or 24 year old VP of Marketing for their friend's burgeoning (5 employee) tech company who are unwilling to take the step down. Understanding one's place in the workforce, especially at the beginning of a career is imperative. Understanding the difference between the safe bubble of a University and the reality of a revenue generating company is a tough distinction to make early on. University is a place to experiment with new ideas and make mistakes. However that mentality is only minimally tolerated in the work force. Companies will take someone with 1 year of work experience versus 7 years at a University because that 1 year of experience is very different. At school the worst thing that could happen is you receive a failing grade. In the work force, if someone majorly screws up, their financial security and that of their families could be affected. Big difference.
Saved more money. Competition always exists and it it can be a great motivator. However spending money frivolously early in life can set some very bad habits for years to come. Alot people get caught up in this. May you be in retirement and want all of your friends to visit you in your beautiful Floridian community, or you just got your first job and you want to be a financial peacock and display how well you’re doing. At the end of the day, the people retiring at 55 versus 70 are the ones who get the economical car, buy the generic groceries and simply don’t get caught up in fiscal competition with anyone. Anyone. Maybe you feel the competition with your best friend you grew up with or your successful cousin who your family holds in high esteem, know your income, know what is expendable what is not. Set a budget and stick to it. Yes you may miss a concert or vacation here or there, but your 55 year old self (or even your 70 year old self!) will thank you when they never have to work another day.
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