Time to make important decisions

Should You Wait Until Your 30s to Choose a Career?

Here’s a good argument for waiting to figure out which career you want to pursue or what, exactly, you want to do with your life.

Scientists now say your brain is still developing well into your 30s, according to The Wall Street Journal. That means it might make sense to wait until then to make big life decisions, right?

The Journal reports:

Recent research into how the brain develops suggests that people are better equipped to make major life decisions in their late 20s than earlier in the decade. The brain, once thought to be fully grown after puberty, is still evolving into its adult shape well into a person’s third decade, pruning away unused connections and strengthening those that remain, scientists say.

Yet many of us make life-altering decisions like who to marry or which career path to commit to in our 20s or even our teens. And at that point in our lives, our brains aren’t yet optimal, the neuroscientist who made this discovery, Jay Giedd, told the Journal. One of his quotes is a real doozy: “It’s a good thing that the 20s are becoming a time for self-discovery.” (Click here to read the full WSJ story.)

But if you wait until your late 20s or early 30s to choose a career or commit to a spouse, where does that leave you in your early-to-mid-20s? Is this just an excuse to avoid dedicating yourself to a career or person?

Is it better to make some sort of decision in your 20s, even if you end up changing course later? Or would you advise putting off big life decisions as long as possible?

What do you think?


  1. I definitely see, and speak from my own experience of, the twenties’ years being a progression and a bit of ‘discovery’ and, often, there comes a point where women have evolved and want/need other things… The thirties seems to be the time of laying firmer, more considered foundations.

  2. I think your twenties are for travelling the world and discovering who you are and seeing the bigger picture of what’s out there, from here I think you can make a better informed decision about your career and the type of life you want to live.

  3. I know from my own experience I didn’t really have a clue what I was going to do with my life in my 20s. Making solid decisions about career can wait. As for committing to a spouse / having kids, I’m not sure I’d want to wait TOO long. I don’t think I’d want to be running around doing my not-quite-grown kids laundry at 55. :-)

  4. Seems a bit strange to be talking about career in such absolutes… so many people change careers many times throughout their lives. I don’t think it has to be so black and white. I’ve discovered that all of the different things I’ve tried have given me really useful information about what I want even if they’re not The One.

    • yeah it’s a lot like dating – each bad “relationship” (with a job) teaches you things about yourself, things you need and want and don’t like, and helps you figure out your eventual best job. i’ve thought about it that way for a while. because i’m not willing to settle for a crappy “relationship” with my job any more than i was willing to settle for a bad romantic relationship

  5. Pingback: Should Career Decisions Wait Until We’re 30? | The Savvy Intern by YouTern

  6. Joe

    It’s a trade-off. On one hand, I probably squandered my best chance of becoming a novelist in my twenties… I spent 6 years technical writing, and believe me – after enough time growing older and older as an office drone, you don’t even get the same thrill from exploring your passions.

    On the other hand, I pulled a Shawshank Redemption – I crawled through a river of [censored] and came out clean on the other side. In other words, I saved a fortune and put myself through flight school.

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