A few weeks ago, I was grappling once again about the proverbial #QuarterLifeCrisis on social media…
What am I supposed to do with my life?
What does it all mean?
What if I never figure it out?
It’s a spiral of self-pity I’ve become quite familiar with over the last few years. While it may appear as though I have it “all together” on the outside (thanks to carefully curated Facebook statuses), there have been many (I repeat, MANY) times when I’ve been frustrated, doubted myself and wanted to throw my hands up in despair.
Yes, the struggle is real, but it doesn’t last forever.
During a Gchat conversation with a former-intern-turned-fabulous-friend about job prospects, I gave her the following advice: “Always, ALWAYS negotiate.” Which led to our impromptu hashtag: #ThingsIWishIKnewWhenIWas25.
No, I don’t have all the answers, but I’m more than willing to share some lessons I’ve learned along the way in hopes that it may help other young ladies (and men) out there.
So here goes…
1. Always, ALWAYS negotiate! I know it can seem tempting to accept the first offer (and believe me, I’ve done this way too many times), but at the end of the day, you’re doing yourself and your career a disservice. You may not be able to negotiate the salary, but what about other benefits, such as vacation time, telecommuting, etc.? You never know until you try.
2. Never stop networking. Instead of basketweaving 101, professors would be better off teaching the art of networking. The old adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know and who they know” rings true in every industry. Don’t believe me? Just watch.
3. Do less, focus more. This is my new mantra and one I’m struggle with on a regular basis. While your passions, career and relationships may pull you in different directions, it’s important to hone in on the people and activities that add value to your life and ditch the ones who don’t. #SorryNotSorry
4. Take time for yourself. No, you are not Super Woman. No, you cannot be everything to everyone all the time and nor should you aspire to do so. Whether it’s a 15-minute sunrise yoga session or a midday meditation break at your cubicle, give yourself some time to breathe. #Namaste
5. Trust your instincts. There’s a reason your mama always told you to go with your gut. You will NEVER be disappointed. You can make all the pros and cons lists you want, but when all’s said and done only you know what is best for you.
6. Pursue your passion with a purpose. Call it cliche, but I firmly believe that your passion is synonymous with your purpose. It’s what you were put on this Earth to do–it’s what you eat, breathe and sleep. It’s innate. Remember this: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
7. Quality > Quantity. Just because you’ve known your besties since you were in diapers doesn’t mean you have to be BFFs now. The amount of time you’ve known someone is just that, a measurement of time and not a proper indicator of your friendship. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to learn this the hard way. Sometimes people come into your life for a reason or, in some case, just a season. And that’s OK!
8. Take [calculated] risks. If you’re like me, then you’re probably a goody-two-shoes do-gooder who always follows the rules. But like the infamous quote says: “Well behaved women seldom make history.” So sometimes you have to go for the goal and dive in … after you make a pros and cons list, of course. You don’t want to get to 50 and wonder what you did with your life. 😉
What do you wish you knew when you were 25? Let me know in the comments!