I'm going to be undergoing a massive shift in lifestyle in about half a year; the cause: college graduation. The last 3.5 years have been a lovely roller coaster of papers, exams, drinking, and chasing tail. As I look forward, I realize that I'm going to actually have to adjust to being an "adult."
In my mind, that means a lot of things, most bad: gone are the days where I could procrastinate and do literally nothing for weeks at a time on a project and still land an awesome grade. I'll also stop being financially dependent on my parents, and will actually have to pay attention to lovely things like taxes and bills. And of course, I probably need to rethink my priorities-- heading out to a club to find a cute chick at 2 in the morning won't fare well with my performance at work the next day.
With that said, one major decision I have made is to focus as much as I can on my career in my 20's. Whereas many of my friends are thinking about dating and starting families in just a few short years, I'm putting all of that on the back burner. That's not to say that I won't be enjoying life at all, but rather my number one priority in life will be career advancement. I know that's probably the mindset of many on WSO already, but let me remind that the average American "goes with the flow" and simply follows the natural order of: entry level job, get married, kids, retire, look back and go "WTF, how'd I get here?"
A couple of reasons why focusing on your career in your 20's is the right way to go:
- Your youth is the best time to attack the demanding learning curves of most professions. I know for sure I can put in the 12-16 hour work days required to reach a high level of success at my current age, but who knows what shape mentally or physically I might be in if I'm 35 and trying to advance up the corporate ladder?
- Once you reach the upper levels of the corporate hierarchy, things 20-something year olds always say they want to do become possible and even easy. I'm talking about things like travel, eat at nice restaurants, attend lavish parties, date up, etc.
- The earlier you start putting money in your 401k, the higher the return. Same goes for any other kinds of investments you may undertake.
Of course, the argument against mine is always that your 20's are the best years of your life and should be spent making memories. It really comes down to a personal value decision, but at the end of the day, I'd rather invest my time now and ensure future security than worry when I'm older and not as capable/sharp. Thoughts?