What Would You Want Your Younger Self to Know if You Graduated Today?

Today’s workplace is so incredibly different than ever before.  When my peers and I graduated, we headed into the working world, just hoping that we could get a job at a big company and be on our way to financial independence from our parents.  While it may not feel like so long ago, so much has changed.  That was before the self-employment phenomenon, twenty something billionaires, Etsy shops, internet startups, bloggers, social media teams, homeland security majors and app developers.  Yet despite all of the technological and social changes of the past decade or (ahem) two, some wisdom can only be acquired through life experience.

This is the time of year when head honchos in business stand on podiums throughout the nation, delivering commencement speeches to thousands of eager graduates ready to conquer the working world.  So what would you want your younger self to know if you were graduating today?

“Get yourself a good suit – that fits perfectly. Look like you know what you’re doing and you are much more likely to be hired!” – Melissa at http://allthingschic.com

“Stay on your game.  Keep yourself educated and informed and let your knowledge make up for your lack of experience.  Contrary to what we believed at the time, we do NOT know it all at 22 years old.” – Fadra at www.allthingsfadra.com

“Do what you love! Don’t let anyone tell you that you won’t make money, can’t be happy, will never succeed.  Love what you are doing and eventually the rest will come.  It is going to take a lot of work, it will be hard, but no harder than starting from scratch after years of doing something that made you miserable. You can’t take back regrets. If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” – Lara at http://www.chickennuggetsofwisdom.com/

“Confidence is key! Be confident and proud of who you are (and the person you are becoming!)” – April at http://knockedupfabulous.wordpress.com/

“It may not feel like it right now, but everything does work out. At some point, you will look back at this time of uncertainty and chuckle.” – Lisa at http://smartspendingspot.com

“Never settle because it’s never too late!” – Tyesha at http://www.diaryofachicmommy.com/

“Make sure you are open to diverse opportunities. Your big break might not come in the neat little package that you’ve been prepped for in college.” – Brandi at http://www.mamaknowsitall.com/

My husband likes to say that we spend the majority of our lives sleeping and working, so get a good bed and love what you do for a living.

As for me, I would say to always trust your instincts. No matter how far a person climbs up the corporate ladder nobody is indispensable or irreplaceable, so build your self-esteem not by what you do for a living but by who you are as a human being.

What about you?  What would you want your younger self to know if you were graduating today?


  1. Those are all great tips. I would tell myself not to be afraid of failure. You can’t let your fears hold you back from your dreams.

  2. Great idea for a post — I loved hearing everyone’s advice! I think I would say, “Dream big!” I also like the advice to not be afraid of failure.

    • Thanks, Candace. What a great point to not be afraid of failure. One of my favorite quotes is by Wayne Gretzky who said that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

  3. Never stop learning. You’ll need to do it no matter what career you chose and it keeps you ready for a change should you need or want it.

  4. ‘no’ is not always a bad thing – allows you to pursue other doors that you normally would not –

    I may need to write a whole manual to my young self

  5. “Keep loving what you’re doing, it’s gonna pay off.”

  6. I decided to be a dancer and a teacher. Honestly, I would tell myself that it’s great to do what you love, in that respect you’ll have no regrets. But I would also tell myself that making money is not something to dismiss, and that you will want it later when you have a family. And I would have told myself that one’s passions are fine, but blend them with something where you can actually support yourself.

  7. I’ve thought about this a lot, actually. I ended up going into a field that I do not love, but was a safe bet for getting a job and having some security. Since then the economy collapsed and I’m not sure if it was worth it. On one hand, I’m so, so very fortunate to have a job, but I really wish I was doing something creative that I loved and had a real passion for. I need to figure out the answers before my son grows up and needs some advice!

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