Experts Share the Career Advice They Wish They’d Heard in Their 20s

Experts Share the Career Advice They Wish They’d Heard in Their 20s

If we could turn back time…

By Candice Jackson | 21st July 2016

At some point in your career, you stop to assess where you’ve come from and how you got to this point. Even if you’re incredibly proud of where you’ve ended up in life, you look back on past decisions and think, “Oh, I really should have done that” or “Why didn’t I take that advice?” or “Actually, I’m really glad I made that hard decision.”

Our careers really take flight in our 20s and the decisions and mistakes we make, our networking skills and our ability to adapt can be the difference between staying stagnant for years or continuously climbing that ladder, rung by rung.

If you’re 20-something right now, you’re in luck! We asked five Brisbane professionals to share the career advice they wish they’d heard (or listened to) in their 20s. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Paul Johnston: Co-owner of Style Magazines, Brisbane

Keeping an eye on cashflow is paramount. Try not to spend all your money on depreciating assets, such as cars or other vehicles. Instead, invest your money in worthwhile ventures and assets that will help increase your net worth.

2. Madonna Rigney: Optometrist and owner of Madonna Rigney Optometry, East Brisbane

Throughout your career, you’re going to encounter difficult people who create difficult situations. When this happens, always keep a cool head and try not to take things to heart. Remember that you’re doing your best with your job and don’t tolerate unpleasant bosses or peers. You spend a lot of time at work, so you need to be make sure you’re surrounded by quality people.

3. Alex Rutherford: Lead agent at Place Estate Agents, New Farm

The tip I give to my co-workers and staff in their 20s is to buy an affordable home early on, instead of spending extra pay on clothes or going out. I think it is important to enjoy life, but you can have a great lifestyle while also focusing on paying off a home quickly; non-deductible debt is not a sound investment strategy.
Many of my peers and clients who have paid off their home early have the capacity to buy multiple investment properties down the track. If you are career-minded, having these assets allows more freedom to select roles you want to move into and this cashflow can even cater for an interstate or international career move.

4. Kelly Maniatis: Organisational psychologist and founder of Left Field Consulting

Stop, reflect and network more.  In my 20s, I concentrated so hard on my career, working very long hours on my technical trade (as an organisational psychologist). I didn’t take the opportunity to lift my head every so often and reflect on where I was going and whether I really wanted to go in that direction. I let my work speak for myself rather than my networking abilities and I didn’t take the opportunity to build my brand bigger than my work.  Luckily, I’m now paying more attention to that in my 30s!

5. Chernae Silk: Founder and CEO of The Brow Bar

If I had my time again, I'd tell my 20-something self to believe in yourself and follow your intuition! I wish I had known back then that business is mostly common sense. I was told by "the industry" that my idea of creating a brand called "The Brow Bar" and a salon that exclusively provides brow and lash services would never work! I was told it was a ridiculous fly-by-night idea and that I would never be successful just focusing on a niche in beauty!

As most entrepreneurs or creative visionaries would, I dug my heels in at that point and said, “I'll show you my idea has merit and I will invent it!" 13 years later, The Brow Bar has seven stores nation-wide and more than 70 Arch Angels saving the world one brow at a time, seeing more than 70,000 clients each year! Just believe and you will achieve. One of my favourite quotes is "Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.” Simple and very true.

Will you take on any of this career advice?

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Article by Candice Jackson

Candice Jackson is a former Journalist of Style Magazines. She has an uncontrollable sweet tooth, an irrational fear of birds and a love of travel. Candice believes in the Yes Man Philosophy.


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