If you are under 30, then in theory the world is your oyster. However, if you were taking your first tentative steps in the job market as a 20 ish year old in 2008, just as the last Recession was kicking off, then you’ll know that it’s been a rough ride. You’ll now be nearer 30 than 20, so where is your career going? Up, down or round and around in circles?

That, however, doesn’t mean that you are any less keen to do well and advance your career, does it?

Getting the right job is, according to research from a leading job-board, the number one priority for the under 30s. They found that getting the job that sets your career in motion is more important for 35% of 18-30 year olds than getting married (7%), completing a degree (24%), owning your own home (12%) or starting a family (10%).

Good news though – Their research shows that under 30s are confident they can get their ideal job. In fact, 53% think they’ll have it nailed by their target age and almost one third (31%) of young men think they have already found it at 21 years old, compared to one in five women.

But has your career really given you what you want at age 21? Or is this the celebration of hope over what may prove to be a more worldly experience as you move through your 20s, perhaps (probably?) experiencing redundancy, bad bosses, mundane tasks and all the craziness of the working environment in today’s unpredictable political and economic world?

Interestingly, this research shows that, for the survey audience, getting a job is more important than completing higher education. This may be because it does have a fair amount of under £30k salary jobs, but for many, the correlation between a degree and increased chances of getting ‘a good job with good prospects’ is just not obvious.

There are, of course, the Richard Bransons and Alan Sugars who made it mostly based on their entrepreneurial drive but not everyone is either this driven or uniquely talented. For the vast majority, individual brilliance is not an option.

Instead, it is important to realise that a career isn’t something that happens to you. Inevitably, there will be events beyond your control. That’s when it’s useful to have some advice to help you pilot a course and steer you towards your goals. Of course, these goals also change and shift as you move along the career ladder. It is, in many ways, a continuing process as you evaluate your aspirations and your life and work balance changes, with families, promotions and, sadly, the occasional hard knock from redundancy, external factors or other circumstances.
So, let us celebrate the differences of how generations view their career, and all take time to consider and plan. Continuously re-assess your goals and ambitions, strive to be the best and seek advice when you need it.

Then, with a bit of luck, you’ll not just have your ideal job at 21, but also at 31 and beyond.

Author: Rob Moore – RJM Consulting
RJM Consulting services: Associate & Interim Projects | Career Coaching & Outplacement Support | Talent Acquisition & Recruitment | Business Growth | People and Team Development