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The 12 Most Important Lessons to Learn Before Your 30s

The 12 Most Important Lessons to Learn Before Your 30s

I look back at my life and I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to my teenage years – too much awkwardness. My 20’s sure were a lot of fun and then, as I approached 30, I got nervous. I wondered what I was doing with my life and what I’d actually accomplished during college, other than being a three-year running beer pong champion. But now that I’m in my 30s, I have to say this is great. I’m loving it!

Rather than focusing on what hasn’t happened focus on what has! These are lessons that everyone should learn before entering their 30s. By learning these lessons you’ll set yourself up for some fabulous years in your 30’s.

1. Know Your Way Around the Kitchen

Ramen and takeout were fine for your college days, but you don’t want to be doing this every night anymore. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask a friend who has mastered the art of creating delicious eats in the kitchen to give you a few tips. Or you can get a few of your best pals together and take a cooking class. If you’d rather learn right from your own kitchen, or if there aren’t any classes available in your area, consider taking an online cooking class instead.

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2. Have a Better Understanding About Permanence

It seems like the number of people with tattoos nowadays is far surpassing those without ink. If you are considering getting a tattoo, be sure it’s something you are prepared to live with forever. If you decide it’s what you want, make sure you give thought to the placement of your new ink. Getting one that isn’t easily covered by business attire may hinder future job opportunities.

3. Be Knowledgeable About Insurance Coverage

Nothing sounds more adult than insurance, right? You don’t have to be an expert on the subject, but it’s important for you to familiarize yourself with what kinds of insurance you might need throughout your life. If you’re renting, you’ll need renters insurance and then it will change to home insurance when you take that step. Other types of insurance that are important are health, life, and possibly auto, if you have a car. It may be overwhelming at first, but there are insurance experts who can help you compare and learn about the different policies.

4. Know How to Speak Your Mind

It may not have been easy to speak up when you were in a lecture hall in college, but you’re past that now. Before reaching the third decade in your life, you should be able to speak up in meetings. Sure, it may be scary and people may disagree with what you have to say, but it’s important to develop your own voice and believe in what you have to say.

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5. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Quit comparing yourself to those around you. It means nothing if you aren’t in the same place professionally or personally as someone the same age – or younger – than you. We are all walking individual paths, and our journeys cannot possibly look the same. Be confident in the path your life is taking and, if you want to change something, take action to do so.

6. Learn to Love Yourself

I know this is easier said than done. I remember wondering if I’d ever learn to love my thighs and, to be honest, I’m still working on that. But I certainly am learning how to embrace my quirks and flaws and I hope you can do the same. Once you do, you’ll see how those things make you who you are who you are is pretty great. It’s the uniqueness that makes people interesting and, as cheesy as it may sound, there’s no one else out there like you. Enjoy that individuality in yourself and be proud of it. That positive energy will certainly radiate from you and make people have that same love and admiration for you.

7. When it Comes to Alcohol, Everything in Moderation

In your 20’s, this rule certainly doesn’t seem to apply, but now you’ve wised up a bit and know it should. Alcohol is like salt – it adds to a good meal, but it’s not wise (or good for your body) to add it to everything. Your ability to party all night and still arrive at work the next morning is less impressive than it was at 22.

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8. Have a Handle on Your Finances

Don’t panic. I’m not saying you should have an abundance of money, but you should know how to create and stick to a budget. I also hope you know how to balance your checkbook and, hopefully, pay off your credit card on time so you aren’t spending your hard earned money on late fees and interest. There are lots of apps you can use to help you manage your finances straight from your smartphone. Download a few and get started, if you haven’t already.

9. Know How to Do Things For Yourself

You don’t always need to call the repairman. There are many small household tasks you can accomplish yourself for a fraction of the cost. Thanks to YouTube, you can find how-to videos to guide you through most home repairs. Many home improvement stores hold free seminars on how to do simple repair tasks as well. Not only will you save yourself some cash, you’ll gain the satisfaction of having accomplished something you didn’t think you could do.

10. Start to Eat Healthy

This one goes back to our first point. If you’re cooking at home more, you’re more likely to eat healthier. Having a healthy and well-balanced diet will pay off for you in the long run. But we certainly don’t mean you can’t indulge in a cupcake now and then. In fact, we encourage it, because hey – you’ve got to live life, too.

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11. Speak Another Language

So, if you’re almost 30 and haven’t done this one, don’t panic. Just know that now’s the time to start. You can expand your vocabulary at a local community college or by using one of the many online language tools. Not only will this give you a good reason to travel to a new place to put your new skill to use, but it will make you more marketable in the workplace.

12. Take Risks with Your Heart

It may get broken, but you may also find worlds of wonder that you never imagined possible. Putting yourself out there in love can bring you the one you spend your life with or it can bring you great stories to tell down the road. Either way, the risk is worth it. In the end, success is rarely counted by the money we have in the bank but by the riches of our hearts.

If you’re approaching your 30th birthday, I wish you happy birthday and welcome you to this great time in our lives. And, if you’re in your 30’s, what other life lesson advice do you have to add to my list?

Featured photo credit: Birthday Party via istockphoto.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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