November 28, 2023

Turning 30: Why You Should Invest in Yourself During this Decade

By: Leah Nalepa

After turning 30 this fall, I have reflected on my past accomplishments, future goals, and tactics and strategies to develop myself personally and professionally. The more I thought about it, the more I realized there aren’t as many so-called professional development opportunities during the “in-between” years –as I define it–those who span the gap between 20-years-old and 40-years-old. Despite that, there are several important reasons why your thirties are an excellent time to go the extra mile to seek development opportunities, even if they don’t seem readily available (hint: they are, you just need to find them). 

It’s Easy to Plateau 

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to get caught up in the routine of a stable job and a familiar skill set. However, the significance of continuous professional development, especially in your thirties, cannot be overstated. Becoming too comfortable can lead to stagnation, if not regression. This pivotal decade marks a period where personal and career growth intertwine, presenting a unique opportunity for individuals to invest in themselves for long-term success way beyond the time they are deemed young professionals. It’s a crucial time to look at building skills to earn top dollar, save for retirement, work on the body you always dreamed of having, becoming the parent you always wanted, or deepening your spiritual life.  Looking back, you’ll never have regretted putting time into getting better in any or every are of your life. 

A New Decade Creates a Shift in Perspective

As I not-so-jokingly say, I’ve moved from my tumultuous twenties to my thriving thirties. The thirties can often bring a newfound sense of self-awareness and confidence. By this point, there is less concern for what others think, some years of professional and personal experience has led to increased self-assurance in decision making, and usually we have a deeper understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. This self-awareness becomes a powerful foundation and catalyst for seeking further development.

Remaining Adaptable in a Changing Work Environment

The professional landscape is evolving at an extraordinary rate. Technology advances, new methodologies, and changing market demands make adaptability a key asset. We don’t have to look far to see the unprecedented changes to work that resulted from the pandemic shutdowns. In the not-so-distant future, many of us are at risk of being replaced by a computer, so strengthening our skills, building new ones, and leaning into our humanity is critical. Seeking professional development in your thirties allows you to stay ahead in an ever-changing job market. It’s a chance to acquire new skills, adapt to new technologies, and embrace different work procedures.

Focus on Career Advancement and Longevity

Thirties are often a critical period for career advancement. Investing in professional development at this stage can significantly impact your career trajectory. It opens doors to new opportunities, promotions, and increased responsibilities. Maybe that dream job isn’t so far away. The skills and knowledge acquired in this phase pave the way for long-term career sustainability.

Keep Pace with Industry Trends

In a rapidly evolving world, staying updated with industry trends is vital. Seeking personal and professional development opportunities in your thirties enables you to stay current, ensuring that your skills remain relevant and in-demand. Whether it’s attending workshops, enrolling in courses, listening to podcasts, reading books, or pursuing certifications, these efforts ensure you’re up to speed with the latest industry standards.

Enhanced Job Satisfaction

Feeling stagnant in your career can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction and, more detrimentally, silent quitting. Expanding our mind, deepening our skills, and finding new ways to do things can reignite our passion and motivation at work. It opens doors to explore different aspects of your field, potentially leading to a more fulfilling and engaging career. 

Networking With a Purpose

Networking isn’t just about getting to know people. There’s purpose behind the relationships with like-minded individuals. In your thirties, this networking can lead to collaborations, partnerships, or mentorship opportunities. Diversifying your network can be immensely beneficial for future career prospects and personal growth.

Personal Fulfillment and Growth

Investing in development strategies isn’t just about career advancement; it’s also about personal growth. Acquiring new skills or knowledge can be fulfilling and boost self-confidence. Whether it’s learning a language, mastering a new technology, finding ways to better organize your household, or developing leadership skills, the personal satisfaction derived from this growth is immeasurable.


Your thirties present an ideal window of opportunity for personal and professional development. It’s a time where you’ve gained enough experience to understand your strengths and areas of improvement, while still having a long career ahead to apply these new skills. Embrace the chance to invest in yourself; it’s not just a step towards career progression, but a significant stride towards a more fulfilling and successful future. New challenges and opportunities await on the other side of your comfort zone.