How can you choose between the benefits of long term experience and short term wealth?
If you’re a recent graduate looking for a first foothold on the career ladder, you may benefit by remembering the tortoise and the hare and taking things one steady step at a time. Create a strong foundation of skills, put those skills to use, build practical experience, and then market your experience and skills to present and future employers as you move forward. As you enter the professional world, you may find yourself tempted to pursue jobs and opportunities outside of your field that offer relatively high pay but limited long term value. If you have to choose, consider passing on these jobs in favor of those that offer slightly lower pay in exchange for more valuable experience .
Skill Building: Avoiding the Golden Handcuffs
In the long run, your career  should be driven and shaped by what you want to do and the kind of person you’d like to become. Your personal goals should navigate and control your destiny, not the decisions of others, and not the pursuit of short term wealth. If you let money dictate your path from one position to the next, you may find yourself reaching mid-life in a career you never expected, pursued, or wanted. And you may feel trapped or locked out of your intended destination by fear of a lower salary, a lack of relevant skill accumulation, or simple attachment to your habits and current lifestyle.
Instead, start now and learn what you need to learn to get yourself where you need to be. Don’t work for free (and think twice about accepting unpaid internships), but don’t be driven down the wrong path and away from opportunities to build the skills that can help you fulfill your long-term plans. No job is ever a life sentence, and it’s never too late to make a change. But the longer you let money stand between you and your actual goals, the harder that change becomes.
If you’ve ever been tempted to decide between short term wealth and long term goals, which did you ultimately choose? And what happened to you as a result? Tell your story and leave your best career advice in our comment section below.