At 23, I consider myself successful. I’m in an industry that I really enjoy, the projects pay well, I get to exercise both logic and creativity, I have enough time to pursue personal passions, go to gigs, bond with my family and go on dates with my boyfriend. Ninety percent of the time, I get to eat well and sleep well. I look around me, see plenty of great opportunities for others, but I often wonder why these opportunities seem to pass them. In fact, most of my contemporaries admit that they are not happy with their jobs, think they deserve better, believe they’re stuck and hate themselves for it. They say that it’s too late to resign, they needed a job to pay off credit card, they needed to prove something first, et cetera. At the end of the day, as the conversation progresses, all I hear are complaints and sighs on how “lucky” I am to get here.
Honey, it’s not luck. It’s a combo of so many things that I have learned to pay attention to, having experienced several jobs in different kinds of industries. I have scaled down these things into 4 major factors that often become hurdles to the common twentysomething’s success. Here they are:
Your Work Quality
It doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant, a writer, a graphic designer or a nurse. You will always be evaluated by your output. If you submit half-finished projects, obviously hurried ones, those that did not undergo a second look, or simply put in very bad work, don’t expect a promotion or more projects. If you’re a professional newbie, ask your boss about the quality of your work. Get critique. Research. Go to workshops. Be better, improve your work quality. Eventually, word-of-mouth will gain you a huge favor and your work will speak for you louder than before.
Your Work Ethic
Aside from your work quality, your work ethic or your professionalism plays a very huge role in your success. I know several colleagues who write outstanding content but never make it on time. What’s worse, they don’t apologize for it, make up stories or get mad at you. Unbelievable, isn’t it? When I was still working in an office, I also had officemates who were always late for work, show up with an obvious hangover or sleep on their desks. Being young is fun, but stop complaining about your less-than-stellar life (and salary) if you are not behaving well.
Your Financial Attitude
Another hurdle that many yuppies face is their financial attitude. At this age, we were bombarded with so many financial firsts. Even the basic salary (P301) still looks better than the allowance most of us got in college. Then we might be approaching our first 5-digit salary, the first gadgets we spent for, the first out-of-town trips we booked ourselves, first government obligations (SSS, Philhealth), our first ATMs, our first credit cards, etc. Pretty heavy huh? Many yuppies get lost somewhere in the money mania that they fail to save, to invest, and worse, end up with debts. To get over this hurdle, avoid debts as much as possible, buy only what you can afford, save at least 20% of what you earn and when you spot something that’s worth investing at, do so. Remember: an investment is something that increases value over time. A laptop is not an investment. Even if it helps you with your work. If it does, it’s called “equipment” in the accounting books, not investment. My first real investment was a memorial lot that I paid a measly amount of P1,500 monthly, in 2 years. I just finished paying it off. I paid a total of P36,000 in 2 years. Today, the value of that lot is P55,000. You can also invest in other real estate pieces, jewelry, stocks or mutual funds. Do not be intimidated. Ask around, you might be surprised how easy investing is and how little you need to shell out every month that it feels like nothing.
Lastly, you might be blind to this one but your reputation plays a huge role in your success. Now, a lot of us have made very bad choices in the past. Dearest, remember, you can turn this around or patch it up with something good that’s also worth talking about. There are a lot of yuppies who play the YOLO card (You Only Live Once) and use their age or naivete to make bad calls, and yes, submit bad quality work, have bad work ethic or be buried in debts. It doesn’t work that way. Also, be prepared to be judged according to how your personal life runs. That’s just the way people are. Your best move is to just maintain a good reputation and make better choices. Your youth is never excused and people will always remember.
I did not learn these things the easy or fast way. Instead, I took time to step back and evaluate what really matters. Today, I pay attention to these things and so far, I’m happy with what’s happening in my life. I want you to take the shortcut that’s why I wrote this article. Hope that helped.