10 Pieces of Career Advice I Would Give to My Teenage Self
In search of the best career advice to give to a teenager, we asked ten professionals, including a Marketing Manager and a Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, to share their wisdom. From advocating for oneself and following passions to following curiosity over certainty, these insights provide a valuable guide for young individuals embarking on their career journey.
- Advocate for Yourself and Follow Passions
- Avoid Assumptions, Embrace Experiences
- Take a Break After College
- Value Your Side Hustles
- Cultivate Resilience for Challenges
- Embrace Career Changes
- Explore Industries, Prioritize Learning
- Choose Adaptability Over Fixed Plans
- Align Career With Values and Take Risks
- Follow Curiosity Over Certainty
Advocate for Yourself and Follow Passions
I would tell my teenage self that you truly are the best advocate for yourself. During my first job in TV news, I was a morning news producer but would often fill in for our digital news team. During that time, I absolutely fell in love with the world of digital media.
I told my boss that I wanted to transition away from producing and toward social media and marketing but was told doing so would be "shooting myself in the foot." I knew in my heart that my passions lay with social media and marketing, so I told him that.
I continued advocating for myself until they switched me over to the digital department for a while, and then I later pursued a career in digital media. This got me to where I am today as a marketing manager, but I would not have gotten here had I stayed stuck in a position others thought was best for me.
I followed my passions and pivoted into a career that makes me happy, and I'm proud that I stood up for myself at such a young age.
Avoid Assumptions, Embrace Experiences
Never assume things!
If I ever get a chance to travel back in time, I just want to say one thing to my teenage self: "The world is way bigger, and your assumptions are not even a speck in front of its complex nature."
Don't either overestimate the possibilities or underestimate your capabilities, because you will never know what is right or wrong until you experience the result.
Take a Break After College
I would tell myself to take a break between college and finding a full-time job. Don't just start a job right away; take a month or two off to take a break. You have been going to school for 17 years, and you will work for the rest of your adulthood.
Take a break and give yourself some time to breathe. Reward yourself with a break because you have been working so hard for years. Then, you are going to be working a job until you retire. Take some time to enjoy yourself.
Value Your Side Hustles
If I could turn back time and advise my teenage self, I'd say, "Value your side hustles." I remember spending countless hours modding games, thinking it was just a hobby. Yet, those moments of tinkering taught me problem-solving skills and sparked my interest in the gaming industry.
At times, I felt it was trivial, but it was this passion that later laid the foundation for our business today. What seems like a simple pastime can shape your future. Embrace it.
Cultivate Resilience for Challenges
As a successful attorney reflecting on my career journey, one invaluable piece of advice I would offer to my teenage self is the importance of resilience and adaptability. In the fast-paced, ever-changing world of law, it is crucial to be resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks.
Law is a demanding field that often requires long hours, thorough research, and constant learning. There will be moments of failure and rejection, but it is essential to view these experiences as opportunities to learn and grow.
Adaptability is key in the legal profession. Laws and regulations are constantly evolving, and as a lawyer, it is vital to stay updated with the latest developments in your practice area. Embracing change and being open to new challenges can lead to diverse opportunities and professional growth.
Mike Schmidt, Civil Trial Law Specialist, Personal Injury Trial Law Specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy., Schmidt & Clark
Embrace Career Changes
When we are young, choosing a career can seem overwhelming and daunting. A career is a lifelong journey, and individuals change jobs multiple times throughout their working lives.
Even if your chosen profession doesn't work out, don't worry; it's not the end of the world. Instead, reflect upon the journey so far, identify what you enjoyed and didn't like, and then use this experience to build your self-awareness to move on to a more suitable role.
Explore Industries, Prioritize Learning
The biggest career advice I would give my younger self would be to try different industries until you find the one you like the most. Don't focus only on the money aspect of the career, and make sure it won't take a toll on your health.
We all know that money is important when choosing a career, but learning and being curious is what will help you grow the most.
Choose Adaptability Over Fixed Plans
If I could advise my teenage self, I'd say, "Embrace adaptability over a fixed plan." While it's essential to have goals, the journey often entails twists and turns. Careers, much like life, are seldom linear.
Being adaptable allows you to seize unforeseen opportunities and navigate challenges. When I was younger, I often clung to preconceived notions of success, which sometimes limited my perspectives.
Over time, I realized that adaptability wasn't just about survival but also about thriving in an ever-evolving landscape. Embrace change, continuously learn, and remember: it's okay if the path looks different from how you imagined. The journey is where growth happens.
Align Career with Values and Take Risks
If I could speak to my teenage self and impart career advice, I'd tell myself to sit down and consider what my personal values are.
How do you want to be remembered? Then, knowing this, how can you combine your passions and values to make an impact?
And for goodness' sake, don't let your fear of failure stop you from taking chances!
Follow Curiosity Over Certainty
Reflecting back, one piece of career advice I'd give to my teenage self is, "Follow your curiosity, not just certainty." In the realms of Kualitee, I've observed that the most rewarding paths often unravel from the seeds of genuine interest and curiosity.
It's essential to explore areas that ignite your enthusiasm and not be solely swayed by conventional or secure career paths. Curiosity fuels learning and innovation and navigates you towards avenues where your passion and profession can coalesce, crafting a career that is both fulfilling and aligned with your intrinsic interests.