The difficult realisations you need to accept if you want to flourish in your 20s

February 01, 2017
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There are some harsh truths about the real world that you only realise when you enter your 20s. While your final years of high school were spent trying to find out what you wanted to do with your life, you come to realise that landing your dream job isn’t easy. If you want to get ahead and have both a flourishing career and life, these are the difficult realisations you need to acknowledge and accept.

It’ll be a few years of being unpaid/on a low wage

It’s a hard reality to accept when you start uni and realise that you’ll have to work for free. Between our social lives, part-time jobs and uni work, it’s hard to sign up for your fate at an unpaid internship when you're so exhausted as it is. You might put it off, but unfortunately it has to be done. If you want to get ahead and get closer to your dream job, you’ll have to put in the hard years early on and acknowledge that in many industries, it’s just not possible to get paid for experience.

When you do finally land a full-time gig, it might not be the huge payout you were expecting. Entry-level jobs often don’t have high salaries, so even after years of being unpaid, you’ll still be underpaid for your efforts. Instead of throwing in the towel, it’s worth it to push through if you have the next step waiting at the end of the tunnel.

Your job shouldn’t define you

When you land a full-time job, or even when you’re gaining all that experience at various internships, you can’t let your work be the only thing happening in your life. You need a good balance between work and play, and having a one-track mind towards your career will only hinder or damage your other relationships.

If you’re going for a job interview, potential employers want to see more than just work experience on a piece of paper. They want someone who has interests and hobbies outside of work if they have to work alongside you. It’s also important for you to develop outside interests in case one day you wake up and realise that this career isn’t for you – at least you’ll have other things in your life going on to keep you going.

You shouldn’t spend your life waiting for the weekend

On the other hand, you also shouldn’t live your life with the philosophy that life begins and ends with the weekend. If you’re not truly enjoying what you’re doing at uni or at work, it might be a sign you need to change.

There’s always going to be subjects at uni you don’t like and there’s always going to be bad days at work where you don’t love your job. But there’s a difference between a few days and hating it all the time. If the only time you’re happy is when you’re away from work and you’re miserable at the thought of going to uni work, it’s time to reassess whether it’s right for you.