This month, we’ll be delving into careers, work-life balance and work relationships! Today’s newsletter is a personal reflection from Anna, founder of YMP, and pretty much what she tells mentees IRL.
Happy Long Weekend! ✨
We believe in celebrating the weekend and the time we spend outside of work. Our team is finally back in New York now. Anna is taking the whole week off her day job and is straight chillin’. She created a YMP team playlist just for fun (open to recs). If she had to chose a theme song, it’d be this one:
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours. — Love Yours (J.Cole)
What’s on Our Mind: Reflecting on work and our purpose
So many of us in our twenties are consumed by questions about work. While Young Money chats about career negotiations in our #ShowMeTheMoney series, we want to delve into the purpose behind work. Money isn’t everything!
(1) Figure out what gives meaning to your work and your life.
You can’t calculate your career based on hours worked. If you’ve worked full-time for more than a year, you’ll quickly learn that some weeks pass by quickly and other weeks feel like months.
Take note of the moments you’re proud of, and use that insight to direct your future work. Your goals can be simple — just figure out what you want to get out of your job. **Write yours on paper to keep yourself accountable!**
Examples of near-term work goals.
Specific skills or industry knowledge
Community, network or credibility
Savings for emergency fund / house — money is a very real incentive!
I fall back to this Japanese concept of purpose (“Ikigai”) when thinking about my long-term goals. Especially in our twenties, checking all the boxes isn’t realistic, but we should know what we’re working towards.
(2) Re-aligning your work and goals will take time, so be patient.
Many of my friends in our twenties have spent a few years working and realized that they need a total break and career change (usually business / law / coding school or just to travel). On the other hand, my friends who haven’t made 180-degree life changes are wondering if they’re missing out. So many of the conversations I have with friends and mentees discuss being unhappy at work or unsure what to do next.
I’ve been there too.
In my last job, I knew for an entire year that I wanted to leave. Instead of jumping ship, I spent a year evaluating options, slowly interviewing and asking questions. After my day job, I’d often read more investing books and interview prep.
I considered an extremely wide range of careers, but ultimately I still enjoyed the intellectual curiosity and team intensity from my job that is rare in other industries. In my next move, I wanted to invest longer-term and try a new sector (switched from media / tech to healthcare). My number one priority was culture, because the biggest problem I heard from friends / mentors was the potential land mines of bad culture.
There’s absolutely no way I could have done all this patiently without a couple wiser friends. Find people you trust with your career, and let them hold you accountable.
*Actual footage of my best friends not letting me quit for no reason* 💕
(3) Recognize the dots will connect in hindsight, even if you feel lost this whole time
Striving for more is human nature. Take time to actively enjoy your process and express gratitude for what you have.
Looking back, I truly believe I lucked out in my last job. My boss taught me so much not only about investing but also work-life balance and professionalism. He was not only widely respected, but also a compassionate and cool-headed leader in an industry notorious for high pressure and temper problems.
Most Valuable Lessons (in Hindsight):
Caring about work the *right* amount — not too much, not too little
Keeping my cool when a trader is yelling at me to hurry up
Keeping my cool when I’m now also angry but need to finish my analysis stat
Checking my work constantly and correcting mistakes ASAP and without apology
Laughing it off together over Friday drinks
These lessons were also major challenges at the time, so it’s only in hindsight that I now feel grateful for those lessons and the people who pushed me outside my comfort zone.
(4) Recognize there are no rules; do what you really want
Most people (especially immigrant children including myself) grow up tied to a vision of success that came from their parents, friends and broader society. These expectations can lead to a lifetime of unhappiness if you are not careful! We at YMP are pretty financially responsible, but financial responsibly and your dream job aren’t mutually exclusive.
Once you do the hard work of reflecting on your purpose and connecting the dots, you should prioritize your values and jump right in.
This month, we’ll be chatting about work, negotiation and fulfillment so stay tuned and email us any questions you want us to cover!
What We’re Reading 📖
Wirecutter: The IRS is now letting us make mid-year changes to our FSA, due to COVID-19.
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