Opinion

Basic Things You Should Know Before You Hit Adulthood

I recently ran across an article on Facebook, one of those “So Many Things You Should Know How to Do Before You’re an Adult” articles. That struck a chord with me as – hey, I work with adult learners, I’ve managed in retail, I know things people struggle with because I see it on a daily basis. I’ve decided to spread some good cheer in this arena as some of these things are things I wish I would have known from days long forgotten.

  • How to Write a Professional Resume – Surprisingly, they don’t teach resume writing in high school. They don’t even really teach it on most college campuses. I feel like it’s pretty basic. You need a resume to be taken seriously. Most jobs that you will want to apply for after college will require at minimum a resume, cover letter, and 3 references. Why are we not teaching this stuff in school? I have decided I will share another post later on how to actually write business articles (resumes, letters, etc…).Image result for Elle Woods Resume
  • How to Write a Cover Letter – I think that a lot of people, especially millennial types believe that a cover letter is “old school”. I see a lot of adult learners who believe that if they can’t get the job by filling out an application and dazzling the interviewer (or let’s face it, 16 year old kid behind the cash wrap) with their personality, then it’s not the job for them and it’s the company’s loss. Horrible way of thinking. Cover letters are not often mentioned in job descriptions as they are expectedRelated image
  • Importance of a Thank You Note – This goes for job interviews or receiving of a gift or help in any way. It is very poor manners to just expect people to give you a gift at Christmas or to help you out because they’re family or your BFF. It’s also incredibly rude to think that an interviewer should be honored by your presence at an interview. Do yourself a favor and break out some good quality stationary and write a personal letter of gratitude.You might be surprised by how far it will take you.Image result for thank you letter gif
  • How to Interview Properly – I could speak for hours on how to interview and what’s expected (I promise, I will write a whole “How To” on this topic alone). When I get adults in my class, I’m surprised at the amount of them who think wearing jeans, a shirt, and flipflops are appropriate interview attire. I’m also alarmed at the amount of them who state that they never had to interview for a position, started off by telling the interviewer their life story (family drama included), or fell into answering questions that are actually not legal for an interviewer to ask as they revealed answers that are protected by Equal Opportunity Laws. Insert Face-palm Here.Image result for cece facepalm gif
  • Keep Detail Records of Past Employment – If I could give myself some amazing sound advice when I was 16, it’d be to keep a detailed list of employers along with addresses and phone numbers, supervisors names, dates worked, job duties and pay as it’s asked on every single job application you will ever fill out in your entire life. These are simple items that most job seekers can’t recall. Image result for past employers gif
  • Difference between Then/Than, Where/Were/Wear/We’re, To/Too/Two, Their/There/They’re, Your/You’re– Or anything else that could fall into this category. For some unknown reason, people expect Word or whatever processor they’re using to change these words to the correct form if it’s wrong. Guess what folks? The computer won’t change it because it’s detected that the word is spelled correctly and if you don’t know the difference between those red, blue, and green swiggly lines then you might find yourself in a sticky situation. Not knowing the difference shows you didn’t pay attention in English and not changing the mistake shows that you need to work on your editing skills.
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  • How to Write Checks – I was helping an employee of mine years ago ring up a transaction at the store we worked in when I saw her staring at the customer’s check. I asked her what the problem was and she responded that she didn’t know what information to input as she didn’t know what the computer was asking for because she had never written a check. This girl was 18-19 years old and a freshman in college. We also were not her first employer. I helped her find the info and I told her to hold the check for a minute once we dismissed the customer. I had to point out the different areas of the check, explain what was suppose to go there, and how to endorse it. Needless to say I was really thrown by having to explain that to someone who was 18 years old and had worked in retail before. I felt as if the system failed her. I asked her how she was going to pay her bills, pay vendors, pay employees one day. With a credit card she said… aaaannnd I’m done.Image result for writing checks gif
  • How to Pay Bills – This shouldn’t be that difficult with all of the options that are out there these days: pay cash, write a check, pay online, have it automatically deducted everything month. Some places don’t allow for you to pay online or deduct it from your checking account (my local city fees and trash collection make you jump through 5 flaming hoops to be granted permission to do so and then will still charge you a big fee for every transaction) this is where learning how to write a check comes in handy. Related image
  • Dangers of Social Media – I’m not just talking stranger danger here. I mean learning to keep your social media pages neat, clean, appropriate, and how to use the damn privacy settings. I can’t look at the news without reading about someone who has been fired due to something they wrote on social media. Know the basics – employers can look at your social media to aid in hiring decisions, most use 3rd party companies to scan through like a credit check and anything posted within the last 7 years will be included on said report, they can’t use anything protected by equal opportunity to aid in their hiring decisions, they can use photos of you being drunk, in itty-bitty bikinis, racially charged posts, political opinions (yes political postings are not protected by the first amendment, sorry), your personal drama or anything else that they believe conflicts with their culture against you. Oh, even if you have your profiles set to private, it’s still on the internet so once it’s posted, it’s free game (make sure your friends don’t have anything to gain by screenshotting your pages). Image result for dragrace gif
  • How to Sew – If a button pops off your favorite shirt, are you really going to trash it? No! At least you shouldn’t if you know how to fix it. Don’t take it to a tailor or beg your mom to do it, learn how to yourself and save time, money, and energy.Image result for sewing gif
  • How to Do Laundry – Again, my OCD could make for a whole post, but I’ll try to keep it short. If you live on your own, you will run out of clean clothes at some point and no one wants to be friends with the smelly kid. Learn your specific washing machine settings. Know to separate your clothes: whites on hot, darks on cold, your undies should be washed separately and those little mesh bags for your bras are a God send if you’re going to throw them into the washer and not hand wash them. Know that you shouldn’t be using fabric softener on your towels because it will mat them down and make them rough – you can save your rough towels by washing them in vinegar and hot water to remove fabric softener residue. Not everything can go into the dryer! Cotton will shrink in a high temp dryer so invest in a clothes rack to hang clothes to dry that are too delicate for your dryer.Image result for sheldon laundry gif
  • How to Sweep/Mop/Dust – Again, I was shocked when a younger employee of mine did not know how to mop a floor as Mommy or Daddy always did it for her. Dust your furniture before you sweep (please for the love of your furniture do not spray cleaner and then walk away, it will eat your finish off). Sweep all of that dust you just knocked into the floor off the floor. Then mop: traditional mop and bucket, Swiffer Spray and Mop, Steam Mop… whatever you have.Image result for schmidt cleaning gif
  • Importance of Your Credit and How to Run Your Credit Report – When you’re young, you don’t care about your credit because it’s seemingly meaningless. I get it. However, as an independent adult your credit will determine a mortgage loan, car loan, and possible employment outlook. Foreclosures, bankruptcies, repossessions, delinquent medical bills, late payments on bills and credit cards will all affect your credit score. Consumers have the right to receive a free annual copy of their credit report: http://www.equifax.com, http://www.experian.com, http://www.transunion.com, http://www.annualcreditreport.com, or Credit Karma. You can challenge things that may show up (like a family member used your social to open a credit card or put a utility in your name). It’s scary, but it happens more than people think.Image result for credit gif
  • Know How to Make Food That Doesn’t Come From a Microwavable Package – You need to know how to boil water at the very least. Learn to make pasta properly, eggs a few different ways, and not to burn your toast and you’ll be on your way. Oh, and please, for your health, know that you can’t serve chicken “medium rare” or any way other than cooked all the way through. Are you trying to give yourself salmonella poisoning?Image result for cooking gif
  • There’s a Warm Drawer on Your Oven – Ok, so this is taking the internet by surprise, but that drawer that you probably have your cookie sheets in under your oven, it actually has a purpose. It’s a Warm Drawer. It will keep your food warm until you’re ready to serve – will come in handy if you’re cooking a couple things that require 2 different oven temperatures. However, it’s not going to heat cold food. If you have a gas oven, you will probably know that drawer can make the things you’re storing in there incredibly hot, especially if they’re metal. Image result for oven warmer drawer gif
  • Importance of Recycling – People my age aren’t too big into recycling I have discovered. There’s nothing sexy about trash, I know this. However, I feel like a piece of trash if I toss something I know can be recycled. I was pissed when my local recycling company decided they were no longer accepting glass or plastics that were a number 3 or higher. They did decide that they weren’t going to make people continue to separate their recyclables into categories as a way to try to boost the amount of people who recycle. I will see red if I come home to find beer cans, food cans, milk containers in my trash, ask my fiance. I’m not asking people to purchase composting toilets, but let me put it this way: the less plastic or recyclable trash that goes into the trash, the less will end up in our water supplies which is poisoning ourselves, the less will end up in the ocean killing off beautiful animals and making your seafood taste disgusting. Image result for brie bella compost toilet gif
  •  Learn to Use a Computer – HR professionals will say that they’re tired of seeing people list computer skills like typing and Microsoft Office products on resumes because it’s common knowledge. Is it really? I have older adults who come through my program who have never touched a computer before because they’ve always worked in hard labor positions. I also see younger generations using their phone or tablet only and not knowing how to do things on a computer because they’ve only used their phone and it’s really just to check Facebook. Typing is a valuable transferable skill. Learn to do so with more than just two thumbs.Image result for computer gif
  • Learn to Write Without Text Speak – The next person who turns in an essay to me using “u” instead of writing out “you” should be horsewhipped. My fiance’s English teacher in high school predicted that texting would be the death of the English language and I believe she’s right. There is no room in the professional world for lazy writers. If you seriously can not respond to an email or write a report that does not contain things such as “lol” “j/k” “u” “b”, ok I can’t write anymore of that nonsense out, you will not make it in your career. While we’re at it, don’t use text speak while you’re actually talking! Don’t look at me after you’ve said something horrible and respond with “JK!” Image result for text speak gif
  • Know How to Work a Car – This means know how to change a flat tire, check and change your oil, and jump a car. Picture it, you’re out late driving home from work or a friend’s house and suddenly your tire blows. Hopefully you have AAA and you can call someone to change your tire for you, but you’re probably going to be waiting for at least an hour if they can even respond. In my state, they’re looking at de-funding Courtesy Patrol. It’d be quicker for you to do it yourself and get the hell home, don’t ya think?Image result for changing a tire gif
  • Know Your Social by Heart – Almost every application I see asks for your social. You need it at the doctor’s office, when applying for a credit card, opening up a bank account, and times you honestly think you wouldn’t need it. It’s strongly urged that you never carry your social on you unless you truly need to (like the employer needs a copy for your hired file). If you keep your social and driver’s license in the same wallet and you happen to lose that wallet, any stranger on the street would have everything they need in order to steal your identity. Keep it at home and put those 9 digits to memory.Image result for stating your social security number gif
  • How to Read and Write Cursive – A lot of schools have taken this out of their academic teachings, but I believe a parent should be teaching it at home if the education system isn’t going to do it for them. Your children will not know how to read historical documents or be able to sign their names to a contract, check, or employment application without this knowledge. Image result for reading cursive gif
  • How to Calculate Your Pay – There’s a business in my office building who was over paying their employees. The human error was caught in an audit and therefore employee paychecks were cut to correct the error. Can you imagine the hell that brought into my building? People cussed their bosses out and threw toddler temper tantrums down the hallway and past my office so I got to experience it in it’s full glory. Here’s the thing, if these employees knew how to calculate their pay and know roughly how much to deduct for taxes, they could have brought it to their employer’s attention much earlier and it wouldn’t have been a huge shock when the error was corrected. Image result for paycheck gif
  • How to File Taxes – It’s one of the privileges of being an adult. There’s a saying that goes, “I don’t have to do anything other than live, die, and pay taxes”. Oh how true it is. You can Google just about anything these days and how to file your taxes and which forms you need to be concerned with should be something you Google or YouTube. There are sites where you can file your taxes for free or discounted rates instead of paying those kids who had a week’s worth of training a small fortune to do it for you. Image result for paycheck gif
  • Why You Should Resign With Class – I love teaching how to resign appropriately because when this topic gets mentioned, there’s always at least one in every group I get who tells me how they quit because someone did them wrong or spoke to them “disrespectfully”. I’m here to tell you right meow that no one cares. When an interviewer asks you why you left your previous job and you start to tell them a little story about how you weren’t the favorite and you were picked on and spoke to rudely so you flipped your boss off and told them to take this job and shove it, who do you think looks bad? It’s not your former employer, they’re not even there to defend themselves. You just look like you’re going to be drama and difficult to work with. If you hate your job that much, do some off the clock job searching and once you’ve secured a new position, put in your two weeks notice and make sure you work those two weeks with grace and dignity, it’ll only look better on you and you might come out with an awesome letter of recommendation to use later.Image result for quitting your job gif
  • How to Forgive – I know, you’re not Jesus and you don’t have Alzheimer’s so therefore you don’t forgive and forget. I wish my older self would have told my younger self to forgive others, not because they deserve it (let’s be real, some people really don’t deserve forgiveness), but because you do. It will wear you out to carry that much hate in your heart for someone who isn’t worth the Charmin Extra Soft they wipe their ass with. They don’t care enough to apologize, and often times don’t think they have anything to apologize for *Hello every Ex I’ve ever Had* so you learn to accept that that’s who that person is and how they choose to operate. Fine, forgive them and move on – with them not in your life. Cut your losses and go.  Related image
  • Own a Tool Kit – Own it and know how to use it. At the very least, know the difference between a Philip’s head and flat head screwdriver. You can tighten that loose screw yourself, you can hang that picture or those curtains yourself. Fun fact, when you spend $500 on a new dining room table for Pier 1 Imports, you’ll have to screw the legs on yourself…unless you want to pay $150 for someone to deliver it, put it together, and haul the trash away. Image result for tools gif
  • Discover Your Telephone Voice – We have become so use to texting or emailing people that we have forgotten how to speak to people on the telephone. Also, as an adult, nothing turns someone off more than the fact that your mom is making your appointment for you.  I once witnessed a 45 year old male at an appointment with another agency and he completely ignored the person he had the meeting with as he was busy playing on his phone, but his mother was in tow to have the conversation for him. I told the worker he should have told the mother to pop her titty out her son’s mouth and have a seat in the car because he was a grown ass man and could talk to another adult about adult things by himself. I also had a boss when I was in high school who still lived at home and his mother would call the store and ask us to tell him that she made his hair appointment for him. You’re over the age of 18, you can make your own doctor’s appointments, hair appointments, and order your own Chinese without the help of a parent. Image result for telephone gif
  • Learn CPR/First Aid – 70% of emergencies happen at home and not in public where there’s a chance of a nurse or doctor shopping or having lunch or having a defibrillator in the building. Most people don’t want to be CPR certified because they’re scared that they will be sued if they see an emergency and don’t respond or if they do respond and they further injure the person. It’s not a thing, unless you live in Vermont. Most cases, you’re the only one there who knows that you’re certified so really it just becomes a case of personal ethics – can you live with yourself knowing that someone may have died and you could have helped them?Related image
  • Dressing Appropriately – You’re wearing your PJs because it was a quick trip to the store and you weren’t going to be gone long, right? You walked into class with sweatpants and the shirt you slept it because it’s just class and you’re just happy to be able to be up and get to class with your hangover, right? No… no no no.. NO! You never know who you’re going to run into when you’re out. You could run into no one, but as life has taught us, you will run into everyone you know when you’re wearing leggings, a strappy tank top, boots that are actually house slippers, and your hair that’s been styled by an egg beater. It could be your child’s teacher, the future love of your life, or a future employer. Stop dressing like a toddler or like you just left the tennis court or gym to run your errands. While we’re at it, leggings are not appropriate as pants. I know this Lularoe trend is happening and I’m not knocking it, but if your shirt does not cover your ass or your kitty cat, then you might want to switch to jeans. The other people out in public should not be subjected to your visible panty line, ass crack, camel toe or wrongly placed graphic print on your leggings. Image result for appropriate clothing gif
  • How to Detect Lies – This one is fun because most people lie through their teeth. I will never understand people who lie for no reason. I had someone tell me that they had a jeep at their parents house in another county. Ok, fine, you own a Jeep, to my knowledge you don’t even currently have a license – just to have their sibling bust them out – not only is the jeep the siblings, but the person has never had a driver’s license before in their life. Who does this crap? If you study communications or psychology you will probably learn how to detect a lie with subtle body language. When a person is lying to you, their eyes will normally look up and to the right. Why you may ask? The right side of your brain is your creative side, the left side is the logical side. If they look to the left, they’re trying to recall fact, if they look to the right, they’re trying to come up with more bull to feed you. Beware of people who can lie to you while looking you straight in the eye – that means they’re toxic.Image result for lie gif
  • How to Listen – The greater communicate is the one who talks less and listens more. A video went viral of a professor trying to teach a class about racism and she went off on a student who was told to listen, but instead sat there with her hand raised. The professor made a great point that the student wasn’t listening as when you have your hand raised your inner self is going over whatever it is that you want to ask or say and you’re only  actively listening for your name to be called. I know I’d get a lot more done at work if people listened to understand and didn’t listen to respond.Image result for listen gif
  • How to Defend Yourself – I am guilty of this one. I live in West Virginia and have never shot a gun, to be honest, I’m terrified that I would accidentally shoot myself. I even live in a conceal carry state and still, have never shot a gun. I’ve watched enough SVU to know to scratch the hell out of my attacker to get some DNA under my fingernails, but it shouldn’t get to that point. Basic self defense should just be something you make sure you have. You should know not to drink your drink if you’ve left it unattended I don’t care how nice that person you were talking to seems. You should know not to be on the phone while walking in a parking garage because while you think someone one try to attack you because you’re on the phone and that person can be a witness, it’s not going to deter them and you’ve made yourself an easy target because you’re not paying attention to your surroundings. Also, never go running or jogging while wearing headphones. So many runners go missing and end up dead and the thing they all have in common is they were listening to music. While it may power you through your workout, you’re not able to hear someone come up behind your or a car losing control beside you. Image result for AHS gif
  • Learn a New Language – Most of us take the required foreign language courses in high school just to be able to graduate. Speaking a second language fluently may be able to put an edge on yourself in a competitive work world. Yes, Spanish would come in handy in a lot of southern and western states, but what about French? What about American Sign Language? Food for thought.Image result for language gif
  • Learn to be a Host – Growing up, my mother would tell my friends where the food or drinks were and tell them to help themselves, she didn’t wait on me so she wasn’t going to wait on them. I understand that, but when you’re hosting other adults or families, attitudes seem to be a little different. You want to take coats, offer beverages, make them comfortable. When you show respect to your guests, they’ll respect you… and your home.Image result for welcome to our home gif
  • Stop Apologizing – People apologize for everything, so much so that “I’m Sorry” has seemingly lost it’s meaning. Does this sound familiar to anyone else, “I’m Sick” “Oh, I’m sorry..”, “My pet raccoon died today” “I’m so sorry!”, “Someone broke into my car and stole all of my pennies” “I’m sorry!” Are we really sorry for these things? No, we’re not. Let’s be honest, unless we gave them that plague like cold, killed their pet, or committed that B&E, then no, we’re not sorry. That’s also not what someone in that position wants to hear. Instead, add something to the conversation: “Oh, there’s a horrible cold going around. How about you go home and not share it with the rest of us and feel better.” “I hate to hear that your pet died, is there anything I can do for you?” “Bunch of damn good for nothing thieves! Why the pennies!? I hope you called the cops and your insurance agent.” Image result for apologizing  gif
  • Know When to Apologize – Just like not apologizing for something you have nothing to do with, you should know when to apologize. You bumped into someone’s car while backing out at the store. You spilled wine on your friend’s white blouse you borrowed and just so happened to be wearing during the spill. You broke a glass at your mother in laws. You ate the last cookie instead of offering to split it. You slept with someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend. Yeah, you should apologize for these things. Image result for apologizing  gif
  • Ask for Help – Subtle modesty does not become most people. If you don’t understand how to do something at work and what’s being taught to you by a professor, please ASK FOR HELP. Don’t preface either by saying, “I know I’m annoying you with all of my questions” or “I hope you don’t get mad that I’m asking” first of all, at work or school it’s someone’s job to make sure that you know what’s being taught and that you understand how to do your job properly – they’re paid to answer your questions so unless they want that paycheck to no longer exist, they will happily answer your questions. I would rather someone ask me 100 questions and fully understand how to do something than act like they understood, mess up, and I have to find a way to try to fix it. If you’re down on your luck and you’ve lost your job, your home, your family or anything else like that – it’s ok to ask for help. There are so many organizations that are available to help you get on your feet and assist you, but you won’t know that until you ask.Image result for ask for help gif
  • How to Give/Receive a Compliment – These go hand in hand. I feel like women especially have a hard time receiving a compliment because we feel like we have to one up each other. “I like your shirt” “Oh, thanks! I really like those shoes. Are they new?” “No, I just found them in my closet, but let’s talk about your hair. It’s perfect!” It’s a nasty little game of who can get the last compliment in and the one who gets the last one in, wins. Why do we do this? Do not give a compliment to receive a compliment. You should only put out a compliment if you are being sincere. If someone compliments you, say “thank you”, don’t feel compelled to have to give one back. “You like my hair? Thanks. My friend Sally has her own shop on D Street. I can give you her number if you would like.” Not hard ladies. Image result for compliment gif
  • How to Respond to Criticism – I see this being one of the most valuable skills we can develop, but you have to start early… young.. real young.. I read a quote from Patrick Murphy which stated, “uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. Let your kids get use to someone being tough of them. It’s life. Get over it.” This is the day where participation trophies reign supreme. Teachers are afraid to criticize a child for poor performance because they’re terrified of having a room full of pissed off parents wondering why the teacher doesn’t like little Johnny. People think Abby Lee Miller is a monster because she criticizes children and their performance, work ethic, and professionalism. I may not agree with her screaming, but kids should get use to the fact they’re not perfect little angels who do no wrong and there’s always room for improvement. Being able to sit there, listen to the criticism (regardless of whether or not you believe it’s true), and applying the changes your supervisor or instructors want to see is not a bad thing. It will not always be your way and you have to be open to change.Image result for abby lee miller gif
  • How to Tie a Tie – Clip on ties will not do in the professional world. They are easy to spot and can send the message that you’re laid back, don’t take yourself or your job seriously enough to learn to tie a freaking tie, or that you don’t respect the situation that calls for a tie: prom, formals, induction ceremonies, graduation, interviews, work, funerals… I believe there’s a lot of life situations that require tying a damn tie. Watching a 5 minute YouTube tutorial video won’t kill you. Image result for suit and tie gif
  • Knowing Your Bra Size – Laugh all you want, but ladies who wear the battle scars of an improperly fitted bra know that’s no laughing matter. There’s actually at least 8 health effects, some dangerous, from wearing the wrong sized bra: breast pain, back pain, sagging breast, shoulder and neck pain, blockage of the lymph nodes, it can ruin your posture, may trigger breast cancer, and can cause skin abrasions. Again, tons of tutorials and a little simple math can prevent this if you’re too shy or embarrassed to go to a department store and be measured. Image result for dolly parton gif
  • How to Shake Someone’s Hand – I’ve had people ask if they really have to shake someone’s hand at an interview. The answer is yes, why wouldn’t you? Germaphobic? Don’t know where their hand’s been? Well they don’t know where your hand has been either. It’s trust that you washed your hand before meeting them. If you’re that worried about germs, avoid touching your face during the interview or while talking with this person you’ve just introduced yourself to and carry some hand sanitizer to use when you’re finished speaking to them – or excuse yourself to the restroom afterwards to wash your hands. Most importantly, master a firm handshake – not a sweaty limp fish shake or that manicure shake where you grab someone by the nails and shake. Image result for handshake gif
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