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5 Things 20-Year-Olds Need to Know Right Now


The upside of getting older is that it gives you the opportunity to grumble a lot about the younger generation. But in between all the griping about changing technology, manners, and morals, there are occasionally a few pieces of good advice.


(Photo Credit: Travis Isaacs/Flickr)

Docstoc founder Jason Nazar provides us with 20 such nuggets of wisdom in his recent column in Forbes. Light on the “in my day” and heavy on “learn from the mistakes of others” vibe, his “20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get” is fully worth your time, even if you passed the drinking age long ago.

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“My overall goal is to help them achieve their big goals and dreams,” he says, in a phone interview with PayScale. “I’m 34 and I started this company when I was 27. So I’m not coming at it from a standpoint of, ‘Oh, you young whippersnappers!’ What I am trying to say is, here are some of the things that I had to learn along the way, and here are some of the things that I’ve seen other really successful 20-year-olds do.”

Start doing some of these things today, Nazar says, and you’ll optimize your chances for success. A few highlights from his column:

1. You need to get up early.

Birds, worms, etc. — you get it. The best part of Nazar’s advice is that it flies in the face of conventional corporate wisdom, which rewards workers for staying at the office until 3 a.m., but doesn’t require them to roll in until 10. Get to work earlier and get stuff done while your brain is fresh — and then, if you can, get out of there.

2. Don’t hitch your wagon to social media.

Nazar feels that today’s social media manager might be tomorrow’s webmaster. (Or typewriter repair person, etc.) It’s not that he thinks social media is going anywhere. It’s just that it might not turn out to be a job title in a few years. Hedge your bets and make sure you’re developing other skills at the same time.

3. Use the phone, and not to play Angry Birds.

Sometimes, the quickest way to get an answer is to actually call someone and talk to them, human voice to human voice. At the very least, it’s harder to misunderstand one another that way.

4. Don’t job hop too much.

Gen Y workers famously don’t stay put for very long. Try to avoid having a new job every year. It won’t show future employers that you’re capable of staying put and building something.

5. “People matter more than perks.”

Look for bosses who will mentor you, and coworkers who will challenge you in the right ways. Tickets to the baseball game and free beer on Fridays are great, but they won’t help you get to the next level.

Tell Us What You Think

What advice would you give the younger generation? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

More from PayScale

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A Look at Gen Y in the Workplace [infographic]

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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