I wasted my 20s in a dead-end, ethically sketchy job.
It took me until I was 29 to break out finally and set my life and career on the right path.
I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I saw many friends and colleagues likewise make decisions they thought would help their careers, which at best had no effect and at worst negatively impacted their mental and physical health and trapped them further in jobs they hated.
So here are 7 things that we’re often told will improve our careers that may not hold the answers.
I started freelancing back in 2011. I started as a writer. Then I became a virtual assistant. Then I became a translator and social media assistant. I jumped from one employer to another every time the projects I was hired to do get done.
The problem with me back then was I wasn’t thinking long-term. So I only aimed for short-term projects. That’s why I always end up looking for a side project, but that’s all in the past.
I learned my lessons, and I wanted to share with you all what I’ve learned as a freelancer for a decade.
The year was 2017 and the month was June. I just got laid off from a remote job I hated. What I felt was a mixture of relief, anxiety, and excitement.
Relief, because I wouldn’t have quit that job myself, at least not for a while. I was glad someone decided that for me.
Anxiety, because I wasn’t sure what to do next.
And why was I excited? Because during my final days at my company, I landed my first writing gig on Upwork.
It wasn’t huge and it wasn't particularly well-paid. But, it planted a seed in my head:
“All you need to do is find your passion” — Everyone ever.
It was the advice I subscribed to for the longest time. Years. It was amongst the chaos of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life that I realized that this was some of the most misleading advice out there. By following this advice, I was on a fast track to never find my passion.
Why? Well, one simple reason: ‘passion’ is not something you find.
The word ‘find’ insinuates this idea that it’s hiding somewhere, and if you look hard enough, you’ll find your passion…
It was a dark winter evening, and I was starving. I was on a business trip in the north of Portugal and went out looking for food, but most places were either closed or empty. Finally, I saw a small restaurant with a family sitting at a table and got in. As soon as I sat down, the family got up and came to me.
“Would you like to see the menu?” — the lady asked.
They were the restaurant owners, and, at a closer look, I realized they were not having dinner but helping their son doing his homework.
Loneliness in your twenties almost sounds like it should be an oxymoron. I was promised that this decade would be fun-filled with friends, love, parties, and freedom. But much like university, my twenties have failed to live up to the expectations I had conjured up. Instead, most of this decade has seen me wrangle with a life-changing career move, many false starts, entrepreneurial dead ends, and the prize among all of this, loneliness.
I met up with a friend last week, and she mentioned that despite trying to keep in contact with friends, she was finding her attempts unsuccessful, which…
“Study well, go to college, graduate and land a good job.” How many times have your parents told you this?
Former classmates will become future competitors, because that’s what college does, it produces certified workforce to fill in the empty office desks of countless corporations. Graduates have to battle each other during exams, job applications and employment interviews just to get that one available position at a job they don’t even feel attracted to.
This vicious cycle is currently the standard career path for most college students and graduates, as the accumulating student loans and social pressure turn the post-graduate…
Who doesn’t want to do what they love? It would appear that this is the secret dream of all people — that they would be able to wake up every day, sit down at their desk or arrive at their job, and proceed to do what they want to do. And, of course, get paid for it.
This may seem virtually impossible to you for several reasons. Perhaps you were pigeonholed into a career by your family. …
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great,” wrote Jim Collins. It’s not difficult to be a good employee. Follow instructions and do what you’re told. Show up on time and answer the mail. The world is full of good employees and it’s why we have so few great ones. People settle for good and stop there.
As a freelancer, I’ve been offered equity countless times into an idea “startup” to build someone’s product offering when they haven’t got a team or any investment. Don’t fall into the trap of taking equity in a startup that hasn’t raised any money. Many startups have raised money and give you better opportunities to build your network and work with people you can learn from to build on your own skills.
After 15 years as a freelancer, these 6 tips are the most valuable I’ve learned. They’re not associated with a particular field or industry and are aimed at helping…
The Post-Grad Survival Guide — Life in your 20s and beyond