Should you be more experienced by 26 ?

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Joined: 2 Aug 2018
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,134
Location: Kent, UK

02 May 2024, 2:40 pm

I didn't leave sixth form until I was 18 and I didn't go straight into a job and instead went to college to study a BTEC Diploma in art and design for two years. I didn't really know how to use money until I was 20. I did voluntary work at a couple of charity shops before I left them to go to University to do a taster art course at 22 but left after just 3 months there due to the stress of trying to catch up with coursework as I was expected to do a lot more work at home and not just in class as I was falling behind. I started working in a paid job at 26 which I have been in ever since and feel pleased that I've been working and earning during all that time.

I seem to feel that working has changed my mindset and that it makes you feel good that you are contributing to society and earning your OWN money and makes me feel sometimes as if I ''should'' have gone into paid work earlier than at 26 as though I should have 5 or 10 more years experience of work before that age. I keep thinking that my voluntary experience wasn't ''work'' and I wasn't earning at the time although there was a point I remember where they nearly offered me an opportunity to do a role where I'd be paid for it but for some reason because I didn't have some details they needed from me at the time in order for me to do so, they told me I couldn't do that paid role so they kept me there as volunteer there instead until I left for university.


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Joined: 27 Apr 2024
Age: 37
Gender: Female
Posts: 372
Location: UK

03 May 2024, 1:15 pm

I had my first paid job in a supermarket when I was 16 but I don’t think it was a useful experience for me. I was so anxious in the job (poor social skills, undiagnosed autism) that I started drinking alcohol quite heavily in order to deal with it. The only reason I got a job was because I felt I “should” have a job, other people my age had summer jobs so I got one to fit in, not because I actually wanted to.

I reckon people develop at different rates and it takes some people longer to be ready for the workplace. I did much better at work after university which allowed me to find a more appropriate job for my skill set and grow my life and social skills a bit more first.

I did a bit of voluntary work at university and I found it was very helpful and a nice gentle introduction into working (not so serious and pressured as a full job)