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8 Undeniable Reasons Your 40s Are Your Golden Decade

8 Undeniable Reasons Your 40s Are Your Golden Decade

Full disclosure: I just turned 30 last month. But I am something of an old soul, and am definitely starting to feel more “myself” the older I get. While your twenties are a time in which to truly discover yourself, your thirties are a time to establish yourself in the hopes that, when you turn forty, you have a solid foundation and can start to feel as if you’re finally in control of your life. Once you hit the fourth decade of your life, you can be happy knowing that:

1. People finally see you as an adult

I got called “sir” last week, but it was by a teenager. When I’m 40, I hope to have established myself enough that people older than me will stop seeing me as a young buck, and start taking me a bit more seriously. When you’re in your 20s and 30s, veterans of your industry will often proverbially thumb their noses at you whenever you express your ideas or opinions, believing you to be “too young to know what you’re talking about.” There’s something about turning 40 that makes this argument obsolete, regardless of whether or not you do actually know what you’re talking about.

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2. You don’t need to be current

Even at 30, I absolutely love coming across a headline on Facebook reporting that two celebrities are dating, and I have no idea who either of them are. I think current clothing trends are ridiculous, and I have no intention of seeing most of the current summer blockbusters in theaters right now. As you hit 40, you realize all that garbage is stuff you cared about because you had nothing else to care about. Now, you have a wife, two kids, and a mortgage to pay. When you were 20, that didn’t sound too appealing. But at 40, you wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Especially not for a pair of skinny jeans.

3. You actually own things

Your car was paid off years ago. You can actually afford to put additions onto your home. You own lawn furniture, let alone living room furniture. You can go to the store and buy a big screen TV without it meaning you’ll be eating Ramen noodles for a month. You’re comfortable enough financially to not freak out every time your wife says “Let’s go to Target!” You might not have that private jet you thought you’d have by this time in your life, but at least you can afford to pay more than the minimum on your credit card bills.

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4. You don’t have a fear of missing out

FOMO, as the kids are calling it these days, doesn’t overcome you anymore. You don’t see Friday nights as an automatic party night, and you don’t even really care when your birthday comes up anymore for that matter. When your friends get together and you can’t make it because of life’s responsibilities, you don’t spend the rest of the weekend wishing you had gone. When they recall all the crazy stuff you missed, instead of thinking “Man, I should have been there,” you think “I guess I had to be there.” When you hit 40, you know you’ve had your time to party, and missing out on one night isn’t that big a deal.

5. People don’t judge you, and it doesn’t matter if they do

You’re not in high school anymore. People aren’t going to judge you for what you wear, or how you act. And if they do, you either take it in stride, or give them the what for. You also don’t care when people make fun of you for saying “what for.” Because what others think isn’t important anymore, you can feel comfortable going to the convenience store in sweats and a t-shirt, or not having a good hair day. You have way too much else on your plate to worry about the big red pimple on your nose (unfortunately, those don’t go away – but your attitude toward them sure does change).

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6. You’ve surrounded yourself with true friends

Again, high school is over. The friends you have at 40 are true-blue pals who will be with you through thick and thin. They’re not just around for the party, but will also help you out when you’re in need. Not only that, but your friends’ family have become your family, and vice versa. Your kids play together and your spouses get along great. You might not see each other as often as you like, but when you do get a chance to get together, it feels like you haven’t missed a beat.

7. You enjoy things you used to think were boring

At one point in the comedy Old School, Will Ferrell’s character mentions “a pretty nice little Saturday” in which he and his wife will be going to Home Depot, and maybe – if they’re lucky – Bed Bath & Beyond. There are either two extreme schools of thought on this: People who think this is a terrible way to spend a Saturday, and people who think this is an awesome way to spend a Saturday. Chances are, if you’re in the latter group, you’re most likely over 40. If you’re any younger than that, you’ll most likely have to pretend not to have enjoyed your time shopping for bath salts and fragrances when you’re with your buddies. After 40, no one will think twice when you say you can’t go fishing because you’re looking for new siding for the house.

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8. You’re still young

Being 40 shouldn’t mean half your life has passed you by. It means you still have an entire lifetime left to live. You might not be as quick as you were when you were a teenager, and you might not be able to stay up all hours of the night on a weekday like you did in college, but there’s still so much to do on this Earth. Your forties are a perfect time to do all of the things you’ve always wanted to do. I’m not saying go all “mid-life crisis” on your family, but you should definitely plan the vacation you’ve always dreamed of, or learn a skill you’ve always wanted to try. Just because life has gotten busy doesn’t mean you should be too busy to live life. Make the most of it!

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm1.staticflickr.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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