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10 Misconceptions About Your 20s That Are Making You Miserable

10 Misconceptions About Your 20s That Are Making You Miserable

Your 20s are a confusing time. There is a lot of uncertainty, as well as a lot of hope and excitement for the future. Unfortunately, misconceptions often cause unnecessary stress for people in their 20s.

Instead of berating yourself for what you have yet to accomplish, read these 10 misconceptions and erase limiting expectations you have placed on yourself.

1. You’re Supposed to Earn a Particular Salary

While it varies for each individual, most people have a general idea of what a ‘successful’ salary is for a twentysomething. The problem is, this misconception can discourage twentysomethings who are happy in their line of work, but are not very wealthy. It can also push twentysomethings to aim for the highest-paying careers, even when those positions are totally unsuitable for many of them.

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2. You’re Supposed to Own a Home

Owning a home is a very specific goal- unlike the goal to be happy, which can apply to everyone. When family members, friends, or colleagues push twentysomethings into pursuing the goal of home-ownership, they’re creating more confusion in the already jumbled mind of a twentysomething. You may be happy renting an apartment, traveling for a period of time, owning a home, or something else. What matters is that you are choosing it for your own reasons.

3. You’re Not Supposed to Have Any Baggage

Let’s face it – your twenties are just a decade after your teens. Many people in their twenties are still dealing with and learning from mistakes made in high school and college. It’s unreasonable that twentysomethings should be expected to be completely proficient adults, free of any bad habits or immature tendencies left over from earlier years. These issues take time to understand and heal from. Oftentimes, that healing process happens throughout your 20s.

4. You’re Supposed to Have a Huge Network

A lot of twentysomethings feel abnormal when they compare their friendship circles with those of others around them, or those of people in the media. But the truth about twentysomething friendships is that they’re not nearly as neat and tidy as we like to pretend. You may have lost or grown apart from friends, and maybe you haven’t replaced them yet. You may have long-distance friends you rarely see, or friends in different age groups. Basically, our social lives should not be judged on the basis of unrealistic expectations.

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5. You’re Supposed to be Married

Watching your friends get hitched is a common anxiety-inducing experience for twentysomethings. It gives the impression that you have a romantic time limit, and that if your friends are pairing off, you must be abnormal for not doing so as well. But few people in their 20s thoroughly know themselves and understand what kind of partner they need. Thus for many twentysomethings, it can be a sign of wisdom that they have not yet become engaged.

6. You’re Supposed to be Single

On the flip side of the coin, you may have a gaggle of single friends telling you that it’s far too early to marry or have children. Again, this can be a misconception. The ability to maintain a healthy marriage and raise a family depends entirely on a couple’s maturity level – not their age. A variety of different personality types exist, and so it’s misleading to assume all twentysomethings will benefit more from being single than being in a committed relationship.

7. You’re Not Supposed to be Afraid

A lot of aspects of twentysomething life are straight-up scary – choosing careers, choosing relationships, choosing where you’d like to live, etc. All of these life-altering decisions, on top of day-to-day stresses, would understandably create fear for anyone. But it is an unfortunate misconception that fear is seen as something that is not supposed to occur. We use fear to guide ourselves away from unsafe choices, and we also use it to recognize self-defeating beliefs. If you’re both excited and afraid about an upcoming decision, train your brain to let go of negative expectations.

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8. You Should Be in Great Shape

As a twentysomething, you may be barraged with ideas about how young people are supposed to look, and the expectation that you are supposed to be in perfect physical shape. What’s worse is that there is also a misconception that this perfect body shape should come naturally. In reality, you can be in poor health at any age if you fail to support and take care of yourself. Twentysomethings need to remind themselves that their diet and workout routines don’t have to be flawless. They just need to be supportive. Once you support your body, it will naturally change and improve to support you.

9. You’re Supposed to Have a Particular Degree

One of the most discouraging and misleading beliefs is that you need a certain kind of education to get anywhere in life. People debate whether college degrees really matter, with some claiming advanced degrees are necessary. Some say a Bachelors is needed, and others claim you must get accepted at a particular university to succeed. However, in fact, none of these are innately true. Twentysomethings from varying educational backgrounds have succeeded in a range of industries. By believing that your education level will limit your options forever, you’re quitting before you have even begun.

10. You’re Supposed to “Have it All Figured Out”

Your 20s are the first decade of your life that you are officially considered an adult. But the thing so many fail to realize is that transitioning from being a teenager to an adult is not like an on-off switch. It’s a gradual transition with ups, downs, and periods of confusion. The idea that you have to ‘have it all figured out’ isn’t only a myth for twentysomethings, but for adults of any age. Those in their 80s still don’t have everything figured out, so why should you pressure yourself to achieve that in your 20s?

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Featured photo credit: stokpic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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