20-Something Career Paths: To Broaden or Narrow?

Today I have a follow up to last week’s question from the “chromic career changer” who was lost on which direction to take.  I’m sharing one new answer that came in and one old.


Sometimes finding a career you love isn’t just a journey–it’s an elimination process.  The knowledge you’ve gained working as a social worker is invaluable–even if it didn’t yield the results you expected.  Maybe it’s time to stop beating yourself up, take a step back, look at your skill set and be completely honest with yourself. What would really make you happy at work?  Maybe it’s quality of life issues like being your own boss or telecommuting or maybe you need to feel like you’re part of a team.  Consider yourself lucky that writing is your passion.  Knowing that much in your twenties is huge and you can apply that skill in a million different ways.

P.S.-Personally, I don’t believe grad school is ever a waste of time!  (A waste of money, maybe, but never a waste.)” — 40-something, consultant, ethnographer, NYC


This topic reminded me of a interview I did with Whitney Johnson, investor, spreaker, entrepreneur and author of Dare, Dream, Do. Her personal perspective and insight from talking women about recapturing their “dreams not taken” reinforces what all the 40-somethings believed — don’t be hard on yourself, use this as the time to learn and explore.


For a 20-something, make decisions that prop the doors of possibility open for you. When you have two paths that you can go down and you’re you’re largely indifferent, then pick the harder one. When that door closes it will open more doors, not fewer doors, because your twenties are a time of getting doors opened to you. And then in your 30s, you can start going down a path where you’re narrowing.  But right in your 20s you want to be broadening.”

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