3 Things I’d Tell My 22-Year Old Self

Our recent trip to Mexico was intended to celebrate our engagement — but as it so happened, it also marked another anniversary: my 2-year work-iversary at my current day job as well as my 5.5 year milestone working in the marketing field.

When I realized how long it’s been I had to sit back and marvel. How far I’ve come since my starting days and how badly I wish I knew the things I know now, then. But that’s not how life works and in a roundabout way, I’m thankful for every twist and turn I’ve gone through in this time.

Having said that, if I could go back and tell my 22-year old self three pieces of advice, here’s what I’d tell her:

  1. Getting Ahead Doesn’t Mean Burning Yourself Out: We’re taught that getting ahead means working long hours. That if you’re tired, you just need to drink another coffee. That cutting your vacation time short to check emails or missing a dinner with friends to get ahead of your work is not only encouraged, it’s the only way to advance. I still slip up on this from time to time but falling victim to those situations, ignoring your health and “being the hero” doesn’t get you ahead in the long run. It ultimately burns you out and leaves you on the sidelines. I’m happy to say I’m now at a workplace that values emotional and physical well-being, and stresses work-life balance — but unfortunately it wasn’t always that way.
  2. Trust Your Instinct: Women’s intuition, sixth sense, gut check — call it what you want, but don’t ignore it. I did, and I regretted it the moment the decision was made. I was unemployed and got a job offer from a recruiting firm. I did my research, made my pros and cons list, and even toured the company. I got a bad vibe from everything but I so desperately needed a job that I ignored my gut and took it. It ended up being a huge mistake and I bailed out 7 months in. Now there’s definitely lots I learned during that time, both professionally and personally, but ultimately realized that my instinct had been right all along. If you have a nagging feeling that something isn’t right or your gut is telling you something is off, trust it — it almost always is right.
  3. Be an Honest Problem Solver: Have you ever played that improv game of “Yes, and”? Well this lesson is quite similar. I’m an honest person — I always have been and I always will be. Sometimes I’m a bit too honest however, and I tell it like it is. In my first job I quickly found out that while it can be appreciated in many situations, it also quickly turns you into a Debbie Downer. Luckily, I had an amazing boss turned mentor, who guided me through an unexpectedly awful situation, and who gently taught me that while honesty was appreciated, having a solution to the problem was even better. That lesson has stuck with me ever since, and my problem-solving attitude to all situations is entirely attributed to her. That doesn’t mean I’m not honest anymore — far from it in fact — but with honesty now comes multiple fixes, scenarios and outcomes.

Over five years later my boss and I have inevitably since parted ways professionally, but I’m lucky to now have her as my mentor. I’m entirely grateful to her, and have leaned on her immensely over the years. This is why I’m so excited about Bumble Bizz, a new networking vertical in the Bumble app. I know personally that one connection can make all the difference. That’s why I’m going to be swiping to mentor someone myself now, and to hopefully make an impact in their life.

What do you think? Who’s your #OneConnection that’s impacted your career? Let me know in the Comments below.

This post was sponsored by Bumble Bizz, a new networking vertical in the Bumble app, available on iOS on Monday, October 2, 2017, and live on Android on Wednesday, October 18, 2017. On Bumble Bizz, you’ll be able to swipe and match with others based on location. Bumble Bizz instantly connects you with potential mentors, industry leaders, brands — and maybe your next business partner.

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1 Comment

  1. November 15, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    I’ve been so curious about Bumble Bizz!! Definitely going to check it out. Great post, Ana. I agree with you on avoiding burn-out. I’ve been working in software sales for nearly 6 years now and it’s only in the last two, since starting a new job, that I’ve found a healthier balance and given myself the time I need to recharge without guilt.

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