What No One Tells You About Your Career When You’re 22

By Katie Burke, MBA 2009 | HubSpot

I don’t know about you, but I rarely feel like I’m 22. I do, however, work with a lot of 22-year-olds who are smart, interesting, dynamic, and absurdly high-energy.

While it depresses me they don’t understand my Saved by the Bell references, their ideas and achievements are truly remarkable.

And approximately once a week, I get a request from one of them to talk about “careers” — a topic that they know they should care or think about, but don’t know what to actually do with.

Below is a compilation of the career guidance I’ll usually give them. (And even if you’re not 22, the advice can still apply.)

1) Solve for growth. 

Early in your working life, you’re defined by the company you keep, so choose wisely. It’s very easy to pick the company with the biggest name or the biggest paycheck, but I recommend following our Co-Founder Dharmesh Shah’s advice: Solve for growth.

How does the company you’re working for (or considering joining) prioritize growth, both personally and professionally? How does the team you’ll be working for plan to grow in the coming year, and what do the prospects look like for growth for the broader company?

Far too many people pick companies based on their current reputation rather than their possible growth, but you get far more career credit for being the fifth employee at LinkedIn after its explosive growth than you do for being the 5000th employee at Radio Shack before it stops growing entirely.

2) Don’t fire back on feedback

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