15 career milestones to reach by age 30

The tribulations of your 20s behind you now, you can harvest the professional fruits of those arduous labors. Just don’t think the days of working weekends are over and done.

Ever wonder what it’s like to be 80 years old?

Oliver Sacks, a neurology professor at NYU, shares the truth about life as an octogenarian in a piece for The New York Times called “The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding).” In the column, Sacks writes:

“I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.”

Isn’t that beautiful?

An 80th birthday is cause for celebration, but along the way other milestones matter, too. For instance, the big 3-0.

By the time we say goodbye to our 20s, what should we have experienced in our careers?

1. At least one intern has addressed you as “Mr.” or “Ms.”

2. Seven words: moved from your parents’ house for good.

3. Handled every schedule imaginable—days, nights, weekends, weekend nights, holidays, holiday nights…you get the idea.

4. Written so many cover letters that you could pen an autobiography of failed job applications.

5. Had such a terrible boss that you questioned the very idea of working to earn a living.

6. Realized that your college major—once a pivotal career decision—really didn’t matter all that much.

7. Slaved away in your office on a picture-perfect Sunday because, well, the work’s just gotta get done.

8. After several years in the professional ranks, your resume no longer has traces of college clubs and achievements.

9. Battle tested, you don’t even flinch when the client says: “This isn’t what I wanted. You’ll have to do it again.”

10. Maintained a 401(k) and contributed funds to the point that you can actually see it working.

11. Defused a stressful office situation by saying, “In my experience , here’s what we should do.”

12. Landed a nice raise and proceeded to buy something you would never get otherwise.

13. Elected to take an advanced education course (or pick up a new skill) because of the value it added to your career.

14. After bouncing from job to job, you finally see the value of a stable situation with long-term potential.

15. Been there and done that long enough to understand who you are and the type of work that gets you out of bed in the morning. If your 20s were the decade to get knocked around, then may you spend the next 10 years cashing in on the education.

Danny Rubin is a PR professional for Rubin Communications Group in Virginia Beach. He also manages News To Live By, a blog for millennials that highlights the career advice and leadership lessons hidden in the day’s top stories. You can follow him at @dannyhrubin and @NewsToLiveBy. A version of this article first appeared on News To Live By.

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