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Bill Bergeman


10 Worthwhile Reasons To Have a Job When You're Young

If you haven't already seen it, check out @randomroger's latest article about the FIRE movement. If you're thinking about doing this or working toward it now, it's a must-read and will give you something to ponder.


I think the reason FIRE and other such retire-early methods, which have been around for some time, have become increasingly popular in recent years is simply due to the greater awareness of them thanks to blogs (I'm thinking Mr. Money Mustache, in particular) and later social media and YouTube spreading the message. Combine these new communication channels with the economic downturn of the late 2000s, as Roger notes in his article, and you have a recipe for people who think working a job is a ticket to nowhere. Of course, more fuel was poured on that fire during COVID.

I've worked a variety of jobs over the years from great to not-so-great, and regardless of what I thought of them, I learned a great deal. I honed skills, I added new skills, I made friends, I networked, I developed humility and learned I'm not the center of the universe, and I grew as a human being - all while being financially secure and living a comfortable life. It's a positive trade-off for everyone, and I think benefits society as a whole to have young, energetic people supporting businesses by way of a job.

However, I think for many people working a job at 40+ starts to become less desirable. As we age, we want to own our own time (not that we don't when we're younger, but the desire increases over time), we want to explore projects of our own creation, and in some cases, we want to build some sort of legacy - whether that's through a business, art, or raising a family. We hear that clock ticking a little louder and we increasingly realize time is of the essence.

In my case, I took many of the skills I learned over the years and parlayed them into several businesses, most recently a successful e-commerce brand. I'm not convinced I could have done it all had I jumped in at 20 or 25 without the requisite experience and had similar success. But at present, I'm in my mid-40s and I grew up during a different time. There was no world wide web. Kids are growing up in a far different environment now, so I don't know. Maybe with the proliferation of knowledge available online today it is easier to launch a successful business in your 20s without much work experience.

That said, here are some reasons I think it is worthwhile to work a job when you're young.

    1. Meet like-minded people of a similar age to befriend.

    2. Learn crucial life skills that can be applied to a variety of areas in life.

    3. Be financially secure while pursuing projects of interest outside of work.

    4. Learn the basics of running a business - accounting, marketing, sales, logistics, and so on - that could be used to later create your own business.

    5. It's an excellent environment to study and practice good leadership.

    6. Learn what aspects of work you like and dislike, and where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

    7. Gain critical time management skills.

    8. Figure out how to stay organized and on task even when you don't feel like it.

    9. Learn to play well with others no matter their demeanor.

    10. Use the time outside of work and the financial backing from it to work on side businesses.

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