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  • Writer's pictureKay Still

Infographic: Job Hunting in Your 20's vs. Your 30's

Updated: Feb 3, 2019

As much as I'd like to think I’m a “young” 32-year-old, I know in my heart there are things that have changed in my life since I crossed the threshold into my 30’s. I can no longer party it up until 3 a.m. and still be a productive human being the next day. A night in with my hubby, with a great glass of wine and a movie officially trumps any night out involving long lines, achy feet from heels and greasy food. Also, job hunting has become less of a passive means to get paycheck and more like a meticulously choreographed hunt, where one wrong move can be detrimental to my quality of life. (Dramatic? Ok… maybe a little.)

Not that I’m actively searching, but now that I’m in my 30’s I’ve found that the conversations about job hunting with my peers and friends has drastically changed over the last few years. It seems that conversations have shifted from talking about cool office views and free lunches to benefits and health care.

So, I decided to poll of some of my friends – both in their 20’s and 30’s – and have boiled down what I believe are some of the core factors millennials are looking for in a new job, based on their age.

Job hunting in your 20's vs. your 30's infographic

Post-Grad Hunting in Your 20’s

1. It’s all about the Benjamins!

Congrats! You’ve graduated from college – now what? Now it’s time to be a grown up and get a real job. And, no… filing papers at your uncle’s law firm again doesn’t count.

Getting a job in my 20’s was all about bringing in a steady paycheck. I would have loved for it to be massive but, to be honest, I was just glad to have a job in an industry that didn’t suck, and be able to afford an apartment in a neighborhood that was safe to walk around in at night. Also, having a little extra spending cash on the side wasn’t too bad, either!

Having some mula in the bank was important but I was willing to settle for some "wow" factors in the office. That brings me to my next point…

2. Environment Swag is Everything

Job hunting in your 20’s is also about having a little fun. Today, there are so many businesses out there that offer non-traditional benefits to grads looking for their first jobs. From free lunches and happy hours to nap rooms and bring-your-pup-to-work days, there’s no shortage of cool new perks out there.

While these fun incentives don’t have direct monetary contribution to your paycheck, they make for an awesome work environment and easier transition from the college world to work life.

3. The First Thing Smokin’

In your 20’s, it’s also hard to know everything that’s out there and all the opportunities that potentially lay before you. I, like many of my friends, hopped on the first full-time, benefit-offering opportunity I could. It gave me independence and time to figure out my next steps.

Like many other 20-somethings, I was eager to get a great job, prove myself and move up the ladder. I was convinced that I would stay at the first PR firm I worked for, for at least 5-8 years, work my way up the ranks, become a VP and then move to a corporate job. As you know… that’s not quite how things went down.

The hours were long, the work was tough, and the competition was stiff. My goal was to work hard, stand apart from the rest and crush every assignment that came my way – even if that meant pulling 10-12-hour days on the regular. At least we had happy hours, right...?

When the Honeymoon is Over in Your 30’s

1. It’s All about the Benefits Baby!

Now don’t get me wrong, there’d be a big. gaping. hole. in this entire blog if we didn’t address money in your 30’s. But let’s be honest… duh! Money is always going to play a role in your job hunt. In your 30’s, however, your paycheck isn’t the only enticing and bottom-line factor that peaks your interests anymore. So, for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on some of those other key factors, that matter to 30-something millennials – the entire value of your compensation package.

Benefits might actually sum up my entire 30’s job hunting experience. Well, not the entire thing but it’s playing a bigger role now more than ever. All of a sudden I care about things like health care, maternity leave, life insurance and my 401K with matching contributions.

I’ve settled into being an adult and am focused on the long-haul. What happens when I have a kid? What happens to my fiancé or family if something happens to me? All those random things that didn’t plague me in my 20’s suddenly started creeping in.

Today, I’ll take a great health care plan over a free lunch and beer cart any day. Period.

2. Namastay in Bed

These days, if a flexible work schedule and environment aren’t on the table, I just can’t do it. It’s 2019, corporate America! You must start allowing people the freedoms to come and go as they need to, and to work in their jammies from home! I get some of my best work done at 7 a.m., curled up on my couch with my laptop, a cup of tea and my snuggie. By 3 or 4 p.m. I’m burnt out. A traditional 9 to 5 and "butts in seats" kind of job, just isn't right for me.

Most of the people I know are hard workers, over-achievers and rock stars at what they do. Thirty-somethings are looking to be rewarded with a little autonomy to come and go when they need to!

3. Improve my Quality of Life

Now, this is one of those points that can easily go in either category but since it’s relevant to me now in my 30’s, I’m listing it here. I also found that in chats with my friends and colleagues this factor was important to everyone but became even more prevalent to workers in their 30’s. I’m talking, of course, about quality of life.

There are tons of things that can affect one’s quality of life from a job hunt perspective – work-life balance, salary, work environment and others are definitely in that mix. But what about those non-traditional things that bring us peace of mind when we least expect it? Companies that offer student loan/debt reimbursement, identity theft protection, legal planning, telehealth and daycare seem to be rising to the top for many 30-somethings. Our non-traditional benefits are less about food and fun and more about helping me get to a better place in life.

We're also taking our time and evaluating several companies and offers on the table, at a time. Life and priorities are starting to trump the need for a weekly paycheck and we're more focused on landing the right job for me and my family versus any job that can pay the bills.

So, what do you think? I’m sure there are dozens of things that differ for many of you. Tell me your thoughts in the comments below, IG or Twitter!

Until next time!

With Love, From Kay

Disclaimer: The post and statements above are based on anecdotal input from my personal acquaintances and network. It is not based on detailed research.

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