by Warren Fowler,marketing enthusiast and blogger at Edugeeksclub
Do you know when you should work the hardest in your career for the most impact?
When people tell you that this is the exact moment to force yourself into harder work, you tend to think: “There’s time!”
Sure; there’s time. You’re not close to retirement, so why would you spend your best years in hard work? But guess what: at one point or another, you’ll realize that hard work is necessary.
We’re not talking about working too much. “Too much” is never a good thing, and the bank intern who died a few years ago is a good proof of that notion. He died from the epileptic seizure, triggered by lack of sleep after working 72 hours without rest. Working too hard is a self-destructive strategy, so we absolutely need to have a healthy schedule.
But there’s a time in life when you need to work harder than usual, without imposing any risk to your mental and physical health. What’s that point in life?
The most logical answer would be this one: work more when you’re younger. When you’re in your 20s and 30s, you think about living life to the fullest, and that doesn’t usually involve much work. You want to travel, see everything there is to see, and experience everything there is to experience. But when you hit your 40s, your energy levels will drop and you’ll be less capable to engage in hard work. So yes; your 20s and 30s might be the right answer.
Working Hard in Your 20s – The Benefits and Drawbacks
This is the so-called “Wolf of Wall Street” strategy. You work a lot during your 20s, investing your entire energy into the career you’re trying to build. You do that with the intention to accumulate wealth, which lets you live pretty comfortably in our 30s and 40s and eventually get to early retirement. It’s what soccer players and most other athletes do, too.
Carrie Shaw, career advisor from Resumes Planet, says this strategy works: “People in their 20s must realize that wealth doesn’t come by chance. It comes through hard work, and it’s best to start going that route while they are young. It’s basic math. The sooner you start making career progress, the sooner you’ll reach a high salary and you’ll be able to accumulate savings.”
There are several benefits to this strategy:
- You start working towards higher salaries early on, and you have lots of time left to go higher.
- You gain financial independence. That practically changes a young person’s life.
- You set a good foundation for a comfortable future. When you have a nice, stable and well-paying job in your 20s, you envision a bright future. You see yourself as a successful individual in 10 years, and you’ll be able to take breaks without draining your savings.
But are there any disadvantages? We can’t say that you gain a lot if you don’t live at all, can we?
- If you focus on your career in your 20s, you won’t get to experience other aspects of life as much as everyone around you does. Sure; you’ll have more money than them. But they will party more, they will meet more people, and they will travel more. You’ll have a different type of focus, and sometimes that will make you feel bad.
- Too much work can lead to anxiety. You get a dopamine rush after each accomplishment, but if your body doesn’t clear out the excess of this chemical, you get prone to anxiety, nervous breakdowns, and panic attacks. The lesson is: work hard, but don’t work too hard! No career success can substitute your physical and emotional health.
Working Hard in Your 30s – Is it a Better Scenario?
The reality is tough for people in their 20s. Most of them just got out of the schooling system, and they are not well-prepared for the real world. Even if they want to work hard, it’s hard for them to find good job opportunities that allow them to show their skills.
If you spent your 20s trying to prove yourself and bouncing from one job to another, there’s no need to worry. Your career journey is not ruined. You’re still young and full of energy in your 30s. Plus, you’ve accumulated more wisdom and you have more skills. You’re ready to start aiming towards better job titles, raises, and promotions. Needless to say, you have to work hard for such progress.
- By the time you’re in your 30s, you’re already a mature individual. You’ve had a lot of fun and you did a lot of partying. You’re not that interested in pop culture and you’re bored by most TV shows. You’re over that youthful vibe. It’s the perfect moment for making a career commitment.
- You have a greater network of professional contacts. You’ve already proven yourself as a good worker, so it’s easier to benefit from that network.
The advantages are great! But there’s one drawback we must consider: in their 30s, most people think about starting their families. If they haven’t done that in their late 20s, family is their main focus during their 30s. That might prevent them from investing more time in hard work.
Hard Work Will Take You Places
Statistics show there’s not much chance for salary growth in your 40s and 50s. Maybe you’ll be different; no one knows that. But what we do know is that your chances for a comfortable life are better if you work hard while you’re young. Your 20s and 30s are the best time for that!
Sure; hard work comes with its disadvantages. One way or another, sacrifices are inevitable. But you won’t sacrifice everything. You’ll still have limits and enjoy life while getting more than enough job satisfaction.
Need more job search advice?
For more insights and a community of like-minded professionals join our LinkedIn group Resume Help and Advice for Professionals and Executives
Warren Fowler’s lifestyle is full of hiking adventures. When he’s not busy with his guitar or enjoying the sunny day outside, he excels at blogging skills and scrolls through social media. You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.