Hold on to your 20’s…and pay your dues!

Tomorrow I am turning 31 so I am in a very reflective mood today!  It is so hard to believe my 20’s came and went when I felt like I had all the time in the world to be young and I thought 30 was SO OLD when I first moved to NY at 23!  I definitely don’t feel old, but I do feel very different than I did as a 23 year old naive girl from Philadelphia in the Big City starting my life and career.

I really thought my youth would last forever but I realized very quickly that in order to have a sucessful career, I needed to make strategic career moves that would lead to growth and seniority.  Many years ago early in my career, I was working at my first job in NY at Cohn & Wolfe (PR agency) where I was given life changing career advice by a very senior level person who I really respected.  She said that I should become an expert in recruiting and that once I had that expertise, I could work at ANY company as my skillset would be so valuable to companies.  And that is exactly what happened!!!  I left Cohn & Wolfe to join the staffing industry and was able to learn the PR industry in and out from one of the top PR recruiters – Jennifer Greenberg at Quantum who is still one of my closest business contacts and trusted friends in NY.  After several successful years in staffing, I was asked to join the team at Rubenstein PR where they were seeking an HR person with expertise in recruiting PR professionals.  Score!  My career had come completely full circle.

I will say, I was fortunate to come to NY at a time when the economy was really good.  Things have changed but that means it is even more important for young professionals to make smart career moves and to avoid job hopping.  It is very expensive living in NY and like I did, most young people in NY live outside their means, paycheck to paycheck, many with the help from parents.  People become anxious about making more money so end up leaving jobs after a year which I can honestly say is a huge mistake.  Your experience is the most important thing early on and you have to remember, you are paying your dues so that you can land the big job down the road.  Pay your dues!  Don’t take your youth for granted.  It doesn’t last forever!

My father encouraged me to live in Brooklyn or Queens when I first moved to NY but no, I had to have the apartment with the river view in Murray Hill having no clue how I would make my rent each month.  Did I really need to live in a building with a fishtank in the lobby?  And guess where I live now – Forest Hills, Queens!

Everyone has to make their own mistakes and learn things the hard way but take it from me, your 20’s will not last forever but if you make strategic career moves and pay your dues early on, this will lead to much success in your 30’s, 40’s, etc.  Every move you make in your 20’s will shape your career for the rest of your life!  Don’t job hop!  Seek out mentors whose advice you trust and respect.  And pay your dues!