When I turned 18, I landed my first job at KPMG. I was an accounting cadet. My salary was $35,000. I remember looking at my first fortnightly pay check and feeling so excited because the money was all mine. Nine Hundy in the bank!
The day after my second pay check, my mum said "Now it's time to start paying your own phone bill and petrol costs". After the initial nodding of the head thinking how grown up I felt, it slowly started to dawn on me that after paying those, my salary was basically halved. It was devastating.
It's been 13 years, 5 jobs, 4 businesses, 2 houses, 6 cars (3 of which broke down), and 2 kids since that day and I have learnt A LOT of grown-uppy things over that time. Here are 10 things I wish I knew:
1. No-one actually cares about your Uni/Tafe/ATAR marks
Except for the fun Universities' admission boards, there is no-one who bothers with your marks. Employers want to make sure that: you have a secondary education, you have (or are working through) a tertiary education, your experience and your personality. If I was to put those things in order of importance, it would be personality, experience, tertiary education and last of all, secondary education.
I'm not saying to not study, but I am saying to stop thinking that your marks will determine the rest of your life. They don't. I am, however, a big advocate of finishing what you start. If you start a degree, finish it. If you start an online course, finish it. If you start a Tafe certificate, finish it. Because more than marks, the discipline you show by completing it, says a lot about you.
2. Have buckets of money
Not literally. What I mean is, create separate bank accounts (buckets) for different expenses. For example, you need: a normal bank account (where your pay goes), a long-term savings account (which you don't don't touch), a holiday or hobby account, a bills account and an entertainment account.
Seems like a lot of buckets. But it takes about 10 minutes to set up and about 20 minutes a week of management.
How it works: When you get paid, put 20% into your long-term bucket, 20% into your holiday (or other hobby) bucket, 20%-30% into your bills bucket and 20% into your entertainment bucket (Eating out, drinks, clothes etc). Keep the rest in your normal bank account.
Right now, I have about 18 buckets. But it keeps me organised and I never feel low on cash.
ALWAYS put money in your long term savings bucket - because investing in yourself in the long term is probably the best self-care you'll ever do.
3. Be the BEST employee
Let's be honest. I wasn't a great employee, so I'm sorry to dish out hypocritical advice. BUT, in my case, I always knew I wanted to start my own business so I was using jobs to learn everything I could before jumping into my own ship.
In saying that, I have interviewed over 30 people and I've had about 14 employees in the last 4 years and here are the best traits of good employees:
- They take notes on EVERYTHING. If I have a meeting with them, there is a pen at the ready!
- They do research before asking simple questions
- They do more than expected. This does NOT mean working more hours. This means that if they see something that they can improve, even if it's not in their job description, they'll bring it up and action it
- They show initiative by learning how to do tasks themselves using Google, YouTube, free online courses and podcasts
- They jump in and give anything a go
4. Make mental health/self-care a priority
This means different things to different people, but the basic principle is to try and stay happy. My biggest tips here are:
- Say no to things that make you anxious or sad or overwhelmed
- Choose friends wisely. Remember that people come and go from your life for different reasons. Keep people around that push you higher.
- Do what makes you happy and do them often! Reading, TV, meditation, running, cooking, trying new restaurants, calling your mum. Don't leave all the fun stuff for the weekend - try and space it out over the week so that you're not relying on the weekend (when plans get cancelled or you overspend your budget)
5. Everyone is on their own journey.
If you don't want kids and a house by 30, then do you, girl. If you want to have 10 kids and be a CEO, do that. But never, ever, ever push your ideas on others. Listen, accept and embrace what everyone is doing and then do what YOU want to do. But whatever you decide to do, do it well, and try not to let the pressure of others steer you the wrong way.
So, they're my adulthood tips! If you ever need to ask me a question, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Off to put the kids in bed and then do my happy thing called Netflix,