Why it’s Okay to Change Careers in Your 20s

March 29, 2017
Why it's Okay to Change Careers in Your 20s | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog for millennials. job change, job seeking, career, quarter-life crisis, personal development.
Why it's Okay to Change Careers in Your 20s | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog for millennials. job change, job seeking, career, quarter-life crisis, personal development.

Do you ever find yourself staring mindlessly at the computer screen, counting down the minutes until you can clock out and go home for the day? Questioning why you chose your particular career in the first place? Daydreaming of all the possibilities of what could be? Can you relate to what I’m sayin’? Good, because I’m here to tell you it’s okay to change careers in your 20s.

Last year, I spontaneously quit my 9-5 day job in Los Angeles.

I didn’t really quit my 9-5 because I hated my job. But, I quit my job because I hated the city.

I could have found another job in a busy personal injury law office (outside of Los Angeles). And that’s what people normally do: find another job in the field they’ve been working in since graduation.

Well. I’m not normal. Plus, personal injury jobs were primarily located in cities. So I moved to the mountains and found myself an amazing gig at a “small town” ski resort in Vail, Colorado.

Some people found it surprising at first. What in the world is someone who previously worked in a hustle-and-bustle Los Angeles law office doing at a small ski resort in Colorado?

Pffft. Well. I’m living life.

And I’m not the only one making such sporadic life decisions, either. You might find it frightening. But really, it’s okay (and totally normal) to change careers in your twenties.

Your twenties are the perfect time to find yourself. How are you going to do that if you stay somewhere you’re unhappy? Trust me on this one: it’s okay to change careers in your 20s. Here’s why.

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You will become a more interesting person.

When you work in a variety of fields, you expose yourself to different experiences.

Trying new careers will give you something new and different to talk about with others. You will have more stories to tell and more ways to connect with people.

Instead of only working in one field your entire life, you’ll be able to tell stories about how you made your risky but exciting career change. Plus, you’ll be able to relate to others in multiple fields! For example, I can relate to others in the hospitality industry and basically anyone who talks about personal injury law.

I can also talk to others about the unusual, sporadic decision I made to quit my job at a bustlin’ Los Angeles law firm to work in the mountains of Colorado.

When you talk to others about your life decisions, they will look up to the courage you had to change careers in your 20s.

Don’t work to survive. Work to live.

You’ll be happier in the long run if you find something that fulfills you now. Imagine yourself five or ten years from now in the same, soul-sucking position. Or the same, god-awful city. Just working to survive and pay the bills. Absolutely unhappy with your day-to-day.

Why it's Okay to Change Careers in Your 20s | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog for millennials. job change, job seeking, career, quarter-life crisis, personal development.

Don’t work to survive. Work to live. Click To Tweet

It’s unfortunate to be in a position where you work solely so you can pay the bills. That cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck feels awful. At some points in our lives, many of us feel like it’s all we can do. But you can always find simple ways to make money online, like starting a blog as a side hustle.

Finding additional sources of income will empower you and give you confidence.

What’s most important is you find a job that gives you purpose and makes you happy. Think about it. You spend a majority of your waking hours at your day job. So shouldn’t you position yourself to work in a positive environment, rather than an environment where you feel like you’re just going there to pay the bills?

Maybe you’re like I am, and it’s not the career you mind. It’s the environment. Change things up a little bit by moving around. Experiment and take risks in order to find a place that makes you happy.

Your twenties are the best time to experiment and take risks.

Think about it: this is the best time for you to take risks. When you’re older, with a family, it might be harder for you to explore different careers. Or move to a different place. Plus, things such as work hours or salary will be much more important to you, which may limit your career options.

So use your twenties (the time of your life where you’re totally accustomed to living modestly rather than lavishly) to take risks. This is your opportunity to experiment and see what this world has to offer.

We live in a generation where different career paths are available. More and more so than in our parents’ generation. Think about it. Being a digital nomad wasn’t a career option a few decades ago, but now it’s a growing field for entrepreneurs to work from absolutely anywhere.

Even if you take a risk and sacrifice your salary at your soul-sucking job for an entry-level position elsewhere, what if it turns out you love this new field? At the very least, you will learn new valuable skills that will last you a lifetime.

You will learn new skills.

If you’re just biding your time at the same soul-sucking job, you might not be building your skillset.

But when you try something new, you get to apply your own skillset to that of a new job. New jobs provide you with the opportunity to grow.

This includes growing your skillset.

When I applied to my current position, I thought it would be the perfect combination of my past experience both in a legal setting and in a retail setting. While it definitely is the perfect combination, I’ve also been given great opportunities to grow including managing our hotel’s social media platforms and creating marketing flyers.

On top of building my skillset, this career change helps me develop my passions. I get two months off per year which has given me the opportunity to travel and realize the importance of traveling in your 20s. Um, yeah. #DreamJob much?

You will be able to develop your passions.

This is the time you ought to develop what you are passionate about.

Are you a natural at creating engagement and promoting via social media? Maybe you should channel that talent into a social media management position.

Do you love writing and/or traveling? Then you should at least consider starting a blog for extra money. If you need a little help writing, download the free app Grammarly. You can read more about improving your writing here.

Customer service makes you a perfect fit for the hospitality industry. And a charismatic, convincing personality will lead to success in sales.

Don't waste your twenties hating your 9-5. Click To Tweet

It is possible for you to channel your passions into something so much better, so don’t waste your twenties hating your 9-5.

You will present yourself with more opportunities.

If you stay at the same job you hate, or in the same city you dislike, the only opportunities that may come to you might not be what fulfills you.

Pursue happiness and apply for the job you truly want. Believe it or not, you can manifest your own very, very amazing destiny.

Believe it or not, you can manifest your own very, very amazing destiny. Click To Tweet

When you switch to a field you love, or a place you love, you’re building the foundation to a future you will absolutely love. Showing up to work with a positive attitude on the daily will stand out to others.

You will also get the opportunity to meet different leaders, shakers, and movers in an industry. Take this opportunity to learn from them and maybe it could pay off in the future.

The possibilities for you are endless. With your hard work and positive attitude, upward mobility will come.

You never know what you like until you do it.

Why it's Okay to Change Careers in Your 20s | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog for millennials. job change, job seeking, career, quarter-life crisis, personal development.

I’ll be honest. My Pacific-bred blood doesn’t seem to mesh very well with the bitter temperatures of winter in Vail. But, exploring this new opportunity has introduced me to amazing, passionate people who love the outdoors, and love to travel. Being surrounded by such adventurous explorers has helped me really develop my love for the same.

You will never know how much you like (or dislike) something until you try it. Don’t live your life avoiding risks. Why should you wait until later to try something new? What if, down the road, you ask yourself a series of “what ifs?”

How about if you lived your life wondering: what if I tried that new and exciting field?

What if I took a risk and moved to this other country, state, or city?

What if I started my own business?

Build the foundation for a successful future. Even if it means changing careers in your 20s. Click To Tweet

Don’t put yourself in the position to ask “what if?” This is the time; this is your time. Consider this your time to build the foundation for an amazing and successful future.

Don’t be afraid to change careers in your 20s.

You might feel discouraged to take a risk if you are unhappy in your current field, especially if you spent a number of years studying something specific in college. Don’t let others tell you you’re crazy for trying to pursue happiness in another career field.

As we all come to learn, the real world is much more different than being a student.

Don’t be scared to take the risk and try something new. But before you go quitting your job, make sure to do a number of things:

  • Update your resume.
  • Make sure your finances are in order.
  • Research career options based on your interests.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals for your future.

I picked up and moved to Colorado last year with literally no ideas as to what I would be doing next.

With that being said, it’s best to line up something new before you take such a huge risk. Either that or have at least three months of living expenses saved up in case you don’t find a new opportunity immediately.Why it's Okay to Change Careers in Your 20s | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog for millennials. job change, job seeking, career, quarter-life crisis, personal development.

You can even take out a small personal low-interest loan through SoFi if you need a little help while you make your transition. Smart ways to use the loan would be to invest (in a project like starting a blog), cover moving costs, or even take classes that will help you learn this very new and exciting field.

When you invest in a blog, you can create an income from affiliate marketing to help your living expenses as you search for something new. Even better, you control what you write about on your blog so it can truly help you discover what you are passionate about.

There is something out there totally designed for you. Think about it: how will you ever know what the heck it is if you don’t take risks and try new things?

Don’t wait until later in life to wonder “what if.” You have the rest of your life ahead of you, and now is the perfect time to try your hand at a number of things to see what career path was truly made for you.

What’s your dream job? Has anyone else made the career jump in their 20s?

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  • My dream job would be working for myself in some capcity. I did make a a career change. I went from news to PR because the news business was really draining me and my relationships with my family and friends. I had no free time and it started to crush my creativity. Moving to PR gave me the chance to expand on a different set of skills I have and the schedule gave me time to really think and reflect on where I want to go professionally. I don’t regret leaving news one bit.

    Burly + Puff

    • Hey Puff!

      Gosh, I’m so glad you made the change! A couple years ago I worked so many hours I neglected my own family and missed out on key life events I regret.

      It sounds like you made an amazing, amazing career change. We all really need that time to think about where we want to spend the next 30-40 years. I think it’s an amazing goal to work for yourself, and I hope that blogging helps you achieve that!

  • I LOVE this! We definitely aren’t our parent’s generation where we stayed in a job for 15-20 years and picked 1 career and stuck with it. But I love that about our generation. So happy you took that plunge to make yourself happier! Short-term, yes, it’s really scary, but long-term….you’re winning.

    • Katherine, yes! Everything has totally changed for our generation and it’s AMAZING! We can be so much more mobile and experiment a lot more. We are totally winning right now.

  • Thanks Krista. I had similar thoughts recently, if you don’t change your path now one may soon be too old for it…. and yes, it’s scary and maybe your income may decrease for a while but money is not everything. Have a good week!
    xx finja | http://www.effcaa.com

    • You’re SOOO right Finja, money is NOT everything! I took a small paycut making the transition to this new job, but to be honest I’m so much happier because of it. I hope you have a great week, too.

  • LOVE THIS! Right after college I decided to change what I wanted to do (I studied Human Biology and minored in Business) and totally went to the business marketing route. It’s been tough since I didn’t do any internships in college and that’s my competition. I’ve definitely felt regret but I always remind myself that it’s okay. You are young, have a willingness to learn and are hardworking. That’s one of the reasons I really started launching my blog to something more serious. To use it as a portfolio and learn about digital marketing and social media. But that’s a little about me. LOL.

    I’m really curious as why Vail, Colorado? I’ve heard wonderful things about the snow scene there.


  • Well done on taking such a big risk! There’s no point in staying somewhere you hate when you could be out exploring somewhere new. I hope one day I’m brave enough to take a chance on something so spontaneous!


  • mike

    I have had so many different jobs in my 20’s which has definitely allowed me to partake in some strange conversations. Some about treading on tires, how to get stains out of carpet, how background checks work, and cleaning out porta potties… It has most certainly helped me narrow down what I truly want to do! Great read!

  • Thanks for this post, Krista! I had been thinking about this a lot: I’ve had 4-5 jobs since I turned 21 (all out of college too), and I used to be embarrassed by it (family and friends saw it as flaky), but now I’m thankful. I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I’ve had, or even be who I am today, without those experiences.
    Hopefully I’ll be changing jobs here again soon, but this time writing for myself 🙂

  • I LOVE THIS KRISTA. Thanks for sharing this. I am about to graduate this May and am genuinely terrified of the “real world” because I have passions in things outside of my degree. Likewise, I think I’m also screed because of the fact that I’m at an internship that I absolutely HATE. It is very soul sucking and kind of like what the others mentioned it’s very draining of the creativity. Can you tell me a bit more why you didn’t like Los Angeles? I think we are very similar people and I would love your opinion on it. I’ve thought about moving there in a few years. You absolutely rock! I am loving your blog.

  • I recently left a job because I felt unhappy, like there’s no way I could grow as a career woman. I always see myself staring in front of the computer and thinking if that would be my job for the rest of my life. When I quit, I got scared. For a moment I thought I made a huge mistake but now, I’m more than happy. I’m able to leap to a different career, one that will help grow and one that I can see myself enjoying.

  • Amazing Krista! That is so awesome that you had the courage to quit your job and just completely move cities for something totally different. You’re so right on this whole topic! I feel like we are sometimes exposed to the rules’ of society, that once we graduate, we go work in that field and we stay there. And if we hate it, we try and find something that we like to justify not having to confront change.

    I got my Masters in Finance a year ago and I’ve ended up working in project admin. I’m in a temp job at the moment after being made redundant, but I realized I want to go back to either the construction or engineering industry – somewhere I never thought I would end up.

    But that’s also motivated me to start my own business at some point so I never have to rely on just one income. It’s funny how life takes us in completely opposite directions, but it’s all for a purpose 🙂
    Amanda x