Starting a new job? Keep it simple.

Starting a new job is exciting – for both you and your new boss. Being hired means you were the best candidate for the job, but very rarely do those salary-worthy-qualities show up on the first day. Transitioning into a new role takes time. Although most companies offer a learning curve, your boss probably wishes you were the perfect employee on the very first day.

Of course, that’s not totally realistic. How can you be great at something you don’t fully understand? How can you contribute to a team when you’re not comfortable yet? Like I said, unrealistic. In order to be the model employee that was hired, sometimes you just have to fake it until you make it – especially in the eyes of your boss.

Here are four things you should know about starting a new job:

Hiring a new employee costs a crap-ton of money.

Before you even receive a paycheck your new company has spent a lot of money to find, interview, hire and train you. They saw something special in your resume. Prove them right by performing above and beyond expectations.

Very often new employees are shy on their first day, but being a wallflower isn’t going to help you climb the career ladder. Your employer invested a lot of money in you and it’s a good idea to make it worth their while. Contribute ideas, take notes, ask follow-up questions and do your best to fit in – but don’t suck up.

Your boss is not your personal confidant, no matter how nice they are.

So often you meet your boss during orientation and at meetings. You may even catch a glance of them in the hallway, but very rarely will they stick by your side during the entire on-boarding process.

A lot of companies have adopted the buddy system which assigns a senior level (but not management level) employee as a mentor for new hires.  The buddy system is more time and cost efficient because an employee earns less than a manager and the senior employee most likely know the ins and outs of your daily duties better than the boss in the corner office.

But even if you’re one of the lucky few with constant and daily interaction with your boss, don’t get too cozy. No matter how nice, warm, welcoming and inviting they are, they’re still your boss. They don’t want to hear about all of your weekend shenanigans and drunken debauchery. Save that for your real friends. You know, the people who don’t pay you.

Be on time — for everything

Being on time doesn’t only apply to starting the workday. It means being on time (or a little bit early) for everything from meetings to conference calls. The best thing to do is spend some time getting familiar with the office to ensure you know where you’re going and make sure you can get where you’re supposed to be on time. The last thing you want to do is be the new person and walk into a meeting room after the boss has already started talking. That’s embarrassing, even for a seasoned employee.

It’s O.K. to ask questions.

Being a know-it-all on your first day isn’t expected. It’s O.K. to ask questions when starting a new job. Remember that it’s always better to ask a question rather than make an error. With that said you have to take initiative and be proactive to try and figure things out on your own. Don’t take the easy way out and just ask questions for every little thing because that can get old and annoying really quickly.

Starting a new job is a fresh start for you to make a name for yourself within the company. Make a good first impression by being on time, take the time to learn and always give 110% on the job. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way up to the corner office with the nice view.

But you have to make it through the first day.

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Is a pajama-uniform a viable option for you?

We hear a lot about the joys of working from home. It’s supposed to be the way we work now. I love working from home; it’s how I make my own living. However, just because

However, just because it works for me, and it works well for others, doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Working from home isn’t always a viable option.

Before you get hung up on the idea that working from home is the path to career happiness, here are some things to keep in mind:

Do you really want to be stuck in the house — alone — all day?

One of the biggest challenges facing many solopreneurs is isolation. If you’re a social person, it might not make sense to sit in a home office all day. If you enjoy working with others, and being on a team, there’s nothing wrong with having a more traditional job.

If you want to work for yourself, but dread the thought of no social interaction, compromise with the help of a co-working space. At least a couple times a week you can get out and work in an environment with others.

My social interaction comes from the causes I’m involved with. It gets me out of the house and helps me avoid the downward spiral into talking to myself.

Can you avoid distractions?

What else is going on at home? When I was married, it was a nightmare trying to get anything done on days when my then-husband was around. At first, I thought it would be fun for us both to be working from home, but it quickly became evident that the distractions were real.

Look around. Are you too tempted to watch TV or surf the Internet. When there’s no one to catch you, it can be hard to stay focused. Before you decide that you are perfect for the pajama-uniform lifestyle, take an honest look at yourself. Are you really going to stick to it when you have to?

Whether you are trying to start your own business, or whether you are just trying to convince your boss to let you telecommute twice a week, you need to make sure you can block out the distractions and do the things.

Do you have the right equipment?

Working from home requires the right equipment and access to the Internet. The great thing about freelancing is that the startup costs are really, really low. I just need a computer and Internet access. Depending on what you hope to accomplish by working from home, you need to make sure you have the right equipment.

If you can’t access work remotely, or if you can’t get the setup you need for a reliable work environment, it might not be a viable option for you right now.

Before you quit your real job

I hope never to have a real job again. But that doesn’t mean that you should just abandon your source of income to pursue the dream of working from home. Give the side hustle a try first. Do a little extra work at home in your spare time. Save up so that you have something to live on if you need it when you quit your job.

Leaving the traditional workforce to work from home as a solopreneur or entrepreneur takes planning and effort. I did it backward, leaving the workforce to get my graduate degree and then never going back to the 9-to-5. Instead, I started a business while living on my then-husband’s student loans. Not the smartest approach, although it worked for us at the time.

If you are in a job now, and you are supporting yourself, simply walking away without a safety net might not be an option. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never work from home or quit. But it does mean that you are probably better off making a plan first.

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Thought everyone left immaturity in grade school like you? No, some people are bullies even as “adults.” Overcome it.

You would think that by the time you’re a mature, successful adult, dealing with bullies is no longer a concern. Unfortunately, some people peak in high school and never really evolve beyond that mentality.

Adult bullying is an inevitability we all face at some point. You’re no longer worried about being pantsed in the cafeteria or facing ridicule for being the new kid in school. Now the bullying is much more subversive — you’re caught in the middle of petty power plays, fighting to earn credit for your own hard work, and perhaps even the subject of nasty rumors meant to defame your otherwise excellent reputation.

Anyone who’s ever dealt with a bully — whether in adolescence or adulthood — knows that simply taking the high road rarely results in justice. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to stoop to a bully’s level to defeat them.

Here’s how to deal with an adult bully and keep your dignity intact.

Remain neutral. I’ve known a lot of bullies in my day. Fortunately, I’ve been able to avoid becoming their victims by playing the role of Switzerland.

Often, adult bullying begins with fake friendship. They lure you in with deep, personal conversations, make you feel comfortable, then use the information you share — presumably in confidence — against you when the opportune moment arises. One Wednesday you’re all wearing pink, the next, you’re tricking each other into getting fat off high-calorie nutrition bars.

The secret is to be a great listener, but never actually engage in bullying rhetoric. Let the bully tell you everything that’s got them peeved, but keep your own mouth shut. Smile. Nod. Walk away. Repeat.

Keep your cool. Bullies are fueled by the superiority they feel when putting others down. But if you don’t give them the satisfaction of that feeling, their powers fizzle pretty quickly.

Refrain from reacting emotionally when a bully makes a joke at your expense or belittles you in front of your peers. When in doubt, ignore them; it’s not only effective, but pretty damn funny when you pretend like the biggest asshole in the room doesn’t exist. Don’t believe me? Just try it.

And if you’re fortunate enough to be blessed with a sharp sense of humor, even better. Feel free to send a few quips their way. If you have others laughing back at them, they’ll be quick to move on in pursuit of a weaker target.

Don’t tattle. As much as your company probably tries to convince you otherwise, your HR department does not exist to protect you — it’s there to protect the company.

If you’re dealing with bullying in the workplace, any information you share with HR regarding personal issues with another employee will likely be relayed right back to the guilty party. And trust me, the last thing you need is a group meeting to “talk things out,” which will undoubtedly add fuel to the fire.

A very big HOWEVER: If the harassment is extreme enough to impact your performance or mental health, you should definitely not let it go. Rather, document your interactions and conversations (be sure to save all those salty emails) and build a case against your bully. Come prepared to present your claim of a hostile work environment — your HR representative will hopefully be quick to solve the problem (i.e. fire their ass).

Never compromise your values. I’m a firm believer that all shitty people are eventually forced to face their own shittiness. Never pretend to be less intelligent, committed, or compassionate in order to placate a bully.

At the end of the day, your reputation is everything. Don’t jeopardize yours because it seems easier than dealing with an adversary. It may take some time, but people will eventually see a bully for who they really are.

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No, “they” aren’t about to find you out.

Do you feel like a fraud? Is it sometimes hard for you to internalize your accomplishments? There’s a name for that feeling. It’s called Impostor Syndrome.

There are times that we all feel inadequate. However, you might be taking a step farther, and feeling like “they” are eventually going to “figure you out.” Perhaps you feel like, despite your accomplishments, you’re still faking everyone out. This feeling might be holding you back in life and in your career.

Today we look at some of the characteristics that might make you prone to Impostor Syndrome, as well as consider some ways that you can move beyond it.

Concepts

  • What is Impostor Syndrome, and who is likely to have it?
  • Ways Impostor Syndrome can affect your ability to succeed.
  • Does struggling with something make you an impostor?
  • Strategies for getting around Impostor Syndrome.
  • Problems with fluffy motivation techniques and many self-help products.
  • How to begin owning your inner awesome.

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Resources

Harvard Business ReviewPersonality traits associated with Impostor Syndrome
TelegraphProblems with self-help books
Model View CultureAn interesting look at the darker side of Impostor Syndrome

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An unpaid internship doesn’t have to be a total waste.

In recent years, controversy has surrounded unpaid internships for college students.

Many of us are told that an unpaid internship is the way to go, depending on chosen profession. You’re supposed to learn skills, make useful contacts, and generally prepare for the “real” world of work.

Unfortunately, not all internships are worth the trouble. Some of them end up being less of a stepping stone to your first job and more of a waste of valuable time and energy.

And to add insult to injury, many internships wind up costing you extra, since you still have to pay for the college credits you are earning for the internship.

This doesn’t mean that any internship is a bad idea. But it does mean you need to be careful about how you choose your internships.

Can you get a paid internship?

The best way to make sure your internship is worth it is to get paid.

Landing a paid internship can be tough, though. In many cases, a paid internship is dependent on your chosen major. If you major in humanities or social sciences, there is a good chance your internship will be gratis.

On the other hand, there are majors where it’s easier to find a paid internship. Budding accountants can usually find paid internships, as well as those going into STEM fields.

Consider you options. Sometimes, it makes sense to just get a summer job in a field somewhat related to your major. If it’s a choice between a job that you know will give you some experience and skills — plus pay you — and an internship that is dubious in its value and doesn’t pay you, the job might be the better choice.

Increase the value of an unpaid internships.

Sometimes you’re just stuck. It blows, but you might have to suck it up and take the unpaid internship. If this is your reality, here are a few things you can do to increase the value:

Focus on universal skills: Look for ways to learn from your internship and develop skills that can be universally useful. No one is going to hire you for your sick photocopying ability, but you can learn how to communicate with others and be a team player.

Also, look for other ways to learn skills while at your crappy unpaid internship. You can focus on leadership and problem solving while you are at your internship.

Ask for more responsibility: It doesn’t hurt to ask for more responsibility. If you feel like you can handle more, ask for more. And remember: the Deparment of Labor has actual criteria for whether or not your internship actually qualifies. This includes providing training that is educational, the benefit is for the intern, and the intern works under staff (not displacing workers). There are other requirements as well.

If you don’t feel like you are getting educational training and work trading for your benefit, ask for more responsibility and duties so that you can learn something.

Develop contacts: When I completed my unpaid internship, the most valuable thing I got were great contacts. My supervisors provided great letters of recommendation to me. I was also introduced to some great people who helped me with my career later on. That networking was very valuable to me. Even though I was able to work in my field and get some solid experience, it was building my career network that really helped me move to the next level.

Don’t get hung up on the internship.

You don’t have to get hung up on an internship, though. There are plenty of other good ways to develop skills and contacts and gain useful experience.

From working a summer job to focusing on your own business, there are other options. Carefully consider whether or not your internship will really be worth it. Don’t force it if you don’t see that there will be value.

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How do you balance earning a degree with starting your own business when both require massive time and effort?

Every week, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! on Blab. Subscribe and join us for the next event, and share your questions about or suggestions for future discussions!

Adulting.tv LIVE! welcomes special guest Eva Baker from Teens Got Cents and The Teenpreneur Conference. Eva and Miranda discuss Eva’s decision to scale back on school to ramp up her business.

How do you balance the time you need to spend on education and earning a degree with the desire to build your own business?

Watch the video above, or listen to just the audio by using the player below.

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Can you survive a nomadic lifestyle? You can live globally if you make some changes to your life.

Every week, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! on Blab. Subscribe and join us for the next event, and share your questions about or suggestions for future discussions!

Adulting.tv LIVE! welcomes special guest Hui-Chin Chen from Money Matters for Globetrotters and Pavlov Financial Planning. Hui-Chin, Miranda, and Harlan discuss the benefits and drawbacks of creating a lifestyle where you can and do work from anywhere in the world.

Is the nomadic life for you? What does it take to visit a variety of countries for extended periods of time?

Watch the video above, or listen to just the audio by using the player below.

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