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8 Career Habits to Master in Your 20s
8 Career Habits to Master in Your 20s
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Campus Money Diaries

8 Career Habits to Master in Your 20s

Sheila Brenda Andoi
August 18, 2022

Your twenties are the most foundational decade of your life because they mark the beginning of your adulthood, and for most, independence.

The earlier you begin, the faster you will become an expert at anything - literally anything you’d want to be the best at. 

You are probably just about done with your college education, starting your first job, an internship here and there or even simply deciding on what career path to take. 

For the most part, these are exciting times - you are shaping what will be your financial future and you have so very many options. 

But you have to be very strategic. As they would say habits maketh man or woman. The single thing that separates high achievers from everyone else is habits. 

And if you do not start nurturing in yourself the right career habits, you may be delaying your professional growth, and missing out on opportunities. 

1. Prioritise Your Tasks, Starting With the Most Difficult.

Working on your most challenging tasks first thing in the morning will result in a much more productive day than working in reverse. Few things are more satisfying than accomplishing major tasks on your to-do list. Once you achieve your major task, things will only get easier from there!

Make a list of tasks to be completed in the following order of priority;

  • When is the deadline?
  • How much time should I devote to this?
  • What are the most difficult aspects of this task?
  • Is there anything that requires a different person's input or elements that would increase the time this task should take?

Prioritisation is a useful ability to have, especially if you work with deadlines and have several tasks to get done.

Read Also: Money Psychology: How Procrastination Affects Your Finances

2. Give and Accept Constructive Criticism

Accepting criticism gracefully demonstrates maturity and the ability to progress professionally. You will strengthen your leadership skills if you improve the way you deliver feedback to colleagues. 

The most valuable employees are those who take ownership of a team's deliverables and use constructive feedback to improve the productivity of their teams. 

Has a coworker ever wowed you with a presentation? Let them know. Are you having difficulties getting along with a coworker? Gracefully explain it to them. 

The ability to explain and find amicable resolutions in tough relationships in a team context is one of the most valuable skills you can master early in your career.

Read Also: How to Get More Out of the Money You Have in Your 20s

3. Let Go of Perfectionism

Perfectionism is an unrealistic standard to hold yourself to because making mistakes is a natural aspect of being human. You wouldn't learn or grow if you didn't make mistakes. 

Young employees frequently fail miserably as a result of over striving for excellence. The desire for perfection can lead to unnecessary stress. 

Allow yourself enough time to complete the tasks you have as well as some extra time to unwind. Recognise that striving for perfection stifles your growth. Get comfortable with ambiguity, embrace failure and seek assistance when necessary.

Read Also: 8 Career Mistakes You Should Make In Your 20s

4. Master the Art of Negotiation.

Because no one will do that for you!

How can you be fairly compensated?  How do you persuade your boss that you deserve a raise?

How much you earn for your effort either in plain slavery or benefits forms the biggest element of your job satisfaction. A certain percentage increase may be a common workplace benefit, but it is not always guaranteed. 

One of the most important career skills you need to acquire in your twenties - and continue to master even in your thirties and beyond - is how to negotiate for a deserving pay.

Read Also: How to Negotiate an Entry-level Job Salary

5. Maintain Professional Relationships

Your long-term professional relationships will come in handy for your future endeavours. A little hello now and again is good with coworkers and supervisors. You never know when someone might be valuable to you in the future. 

Building a network of people who can help you in your profession and staying in touch with them regularly is critical.

Make it a habit to add every piece of business-related information you receive to your address book. You should also be highly professional and respectful while conversing with coworkers and senior community members.

Read Also: How Long Should You Stay in One Job Before Leaving?

6. Stuck? Not Sure? Ask Questions!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help if you encounter a challenge.

In fact, most employers like it when their employees request clarification instead of assuming something and being proven wrong. Even though the other party may appear annoyed with you, it is preferable to the irritation you may feel after you make a mistake.

Inquire if something is unclear, if you were unaware of something, or if you simply don't know how to proceed. This is true whether you are just starting your job or have been working for a couple of years.

Read Also: Bet on Yourself: How to Ask for a Salary Raise, Mistakes to Avoid

7. Get Your Savings Off to a Good Start 

Even though learning about finances and the rewards of saving money when you're young can appear difficult and stressful, you'll look back on it fondly in the future. 

It could be Ksh3000 per month, Ksh1000 per month, or even Ksh500 per month when you initially start. 

In either scenario, saving money is critical for emergencies, retirement planning, or simply feeling more comfortable financially. 

Read Also: Stability: How to Budget and Save A Lot Early In Your Career

8. Take Breaks From Work

Many young professionals believe that they need to compensate for their lack of expertise through overworking, spending too much time in the office, and being at the beck and call of their bosses. 

Read Also: Money & Me: Are You a People Pleaser?

Putting in a lot of effort in your workplace is a good thing, but it can also harm your mental health and lower your productivity. Stress caused by working extra hours or taking on too many responsibilities is harmful to living a happy and healthy life.

Taking breaks at work is one of the best habits to cultivate for a happy future in your twenties. You'll discover how to deal with pressures, recover, and return to work with increased energy and productivity without jeopardising your mental health and robbing yourself of personal time. 

Read Also: Should I Get a Job Or Start a Business After College?


Your twenties are the perfect time to start something you've always wanted to do, set career goals, and pursue your aspirations. 

Be inquisitive, talk to your mentors, get a mentor if you do not have one and take challenging courses, learn new things, and boost your confidence. 

Every day, try to learn something new, create the habit of reading, break bad habits like procrastination, and surround yourself with positive people.

Your top priorities should be your personal and professional development. One of the best investments you can ever make is time and money spent on personal growth.

To thriving in adulthood!

Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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