If I Were 22 – Quit As Many Jobs As You Can

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It’s not simple at the scary age of twenty-two. You have so much potential to grapple with. You have so many ideas. You have so many friends who are doing interesting things. You don’t want to hang around back on campus. You have parents who want you to be a teacher or accountant or lawyer. You are worried about that boy or girl you really like and it is getting serious. You see broken hearts coming. You are considering moving to Silicon Valley, the land of milk and honey. You are watching too much TV. You don’t know where to start. It all comes at once.

My advice? Quit as many jobs as you can. That means you need to find a job first. It may not be the perfect job but any job is formative and instructive. The job will help you wrestle with the options you are facing and may lead to a decision. The job will provide cash while you figure other things out. If you don’t like the job – quit. Then, repeat. Quit as many jobs as you need to before it becomes too difficult to quit. The time does come when quitting might be too hard given variables like family, finances and friends.

Words of caution:

  • Never quit a job before you have another one lined up. It is easier to find a new job when you have one. And sometimes, as perfect as you are, it takes a while to find the next job. Leave one job on Friday and start the next one on Monday.
  • Don’t get timed out. Pay attention to age as it relates to careers. At a certain age you are too old to become a Navy Seal or not worth the investment to go to medical school. Don’t miss the big opportunity while you might be quitting those first jobs.
  • Advice from others may not help you. There is a difference between what is good for you and what is best for you. Parents want what is good for you. The burden is on you to decide what is best for you.

So go ahead and quit. The penalties for changing jobs are not nearly what they were just a few years ago. What was once a job hopper is now someone with varied experiences. (Depending on the number that you quit, there may be some finesse involved in that positioning.)

You will derive experience from every job you quit. In my career I have been a sewer worker, a lifeguard, a consultant, a house-mother and a track coach. I learned from each of them that make me who I am today. And you will develop relationships from the jobs you quit, some of them will last a lifetime.

And don’t worry; the people you love will always be loved, even if you don’t see them. Friends will always be your friends. You don’t need to quit them.

There will be disappointments but when you are 22 you are smart and happy, or you should be. Channel those smarts and happy feelings into the next thing with vigor, even if it means quitting a few things along the way.

The journey has begun and it’s a glorious journey. You are now dealing with decisions that can shape a life. Make them.

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