You can find hundreds of articles about what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your career (and life.) They tell you if you make one mistake it will haunt you forever, and if you don’t make that mistake you will be much more successful in your career.
While that might ring true for some, it doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone. What’s good for your career is not necessarily good for mine.
The truth is you’re going to make mistakes—it’s inevitable. Here are the three mistakes we’ve all made in our work lives, and why you should make them too.
Job Hopping–find what you want.
Hey millennial who gets criticized for basically everything you do anyway, take the job. Even if you’ve only been at a company for three months but are sure you don’t want to continue on this career path—quit. Or at least start looking for something else you do want to pursue.
Which is worse, quitting a job or staying for the sake of your resume? If you’re scared how it will look on your resume, think about how your work and your reputation will suffer if you stay at a job you hate. Staying means you probably won’t be putting out the amazing work you are capable of and if you aren’t growing in your career how is this job helping you get to the one you want?
As for your reputation, the next company you apply for (your dream job perhaps) calls your previous employer up for a reference and they don’t have many good things to say about you and your work. Don’t let that happen just because you didn’t like your job.
Accepting a Low Salary–get to know your worth.
When you’re new grad or desperate to find any job in your related field, it’s okay to accept a salary lower than you were hoping for under one condition. IF, and big if here, there’s a learning value that is stronger than the salary. If you want to work in the nonprofit world you can imagine that the pay isn’t that great, but the experience you will get will make it worth your time, then by all means you should take the job.
Another reason many people accept a low salary is because they don’t know any better, or they don’t know they can negotiate. After accepting a low salary and you’ve been working for a few months you’ll realize just how much you’re needed and how much you’re truly worth. (It’s often much higher than you even thought it could be.) After you’ve established your tasks and place at the company you’ll know better how to ask for a raise with confidence knowing full well that you deserve it.
Accept that low hanging fruit and know that you have the potential to turn it into the ripest opportunity you’ve ever had.
Blowing a Paycheck (or two)–you earned it.
Stocks, bonds, and 401Ks, oh my! Saving is great, but you know what’s better? Spending your hard-earned dough on yourself. Insert cliché “don’t get so busy making a living you forget to treat yourself every once in awhile” here.
Splurge on a weekend spa getaway when you are feeling stressed. Buy that ticket to the concert you’ve been dying to go to. Spend it on a regrettable night out with friends. Whatever you spend it on, enjoy it. You earned it! When you get that first paycheck where no bills or other responsibilities are due, do something nice for yourself.
There will be plenty more paychecks to come where you can start saving up for retirement, a home and family, or any of those other “adult” things. But I can assure you, if you go through your first couple “entry-level” years without spending a dime, you’ll regret it more than eating that meal at the incredible overpriced new restaurant in town. Have your cake and eat it, too.
There are so many ways to make mistakes in your life and with your career. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks (and being risk-averse is the one thing that actually can kill your career). The three “mistakes” above are things you shouldn’t worry yourself sick about making. Take a moment to think about all the success you’ve had. You have certainly earned your right to make a few mistakes.