4 important career lessons for millennials

Whether you’re a recent college graduate or just a few years out, we could all benefit from some career advice.

Here are a few ideas to consider, now that you’re in the working world.

Be open to new experiences, but actively work toward the life you want

In a survey with SurveyMonkey earlier this year, Ladders found that millennials aren’t completely unlike any other generation— just like other age groups, they want more work-life balance and flexibility at work.

But keeping that in mind, while your first jobs may not fulfill every wish, do what leadership expert and author Simon Sinek has told us to do, and be patient, but work toward finding a career that fulfills you.

Do your research on other types of positions to start planning for what you want. Go out on a limb and attend that networking event. You never know who you might meet.

Save for retirement ASAP — so you can jump on the compound-interest train

The sooner you start, the more time you have to save for retirement.

Josh Jalinski, president of Jalinski Advisory Group and host of the Financial Quarterback radio show in New Jersey, told U.S. News & World Report that it’s important to let millennials know that they’ll just have one “compound growth curve” during their lives, and explained further.

“With compound interest, their dollars will double over time, meaning the earlier you begin saving, the more ‘free’ money you will earn,” Jalinski told the publication. “If you wait until you’re older to get serious about retirement, you have already lost many years of compound interest potential.”

Plus, don’t forget to take advantage of benefits you have through your employer that apply to you — even if it means setting up an extra meeting (or two) with your HR representative to talk things through.

Don’t be nervous to eventually ask for a raise if you’ve spent a lot of time doing good work, learning from new perspectives, and improving your performance, and taking on greater responsibility.

Make time for a life outside of work

No, work shouldn’t be your everything.

So don’t lose yourself in the grind — make time for outside hobbies as well as friends you may not have seen in a while.

If you feel like your job sucks the life out of you every day and then spits you out on the long commute home, think about it: Is it worth putting your mental and/or physical health in jeopardy? Consider talking to someone if necessary.

Know if and when it’s time to leave

Don’t forget that you don’t have to stay at a position that fails to inspire you or help achieve your long-term goals. If you’ve given the job a chance and worked hard, but think your boss is not invested in your development or well-being whatsoever, and the job isn’t adding to your list of skills, it might be time to go.

It ultimately comes down to knowing what signs to look for.