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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If you want to nail that next job interview, follow these 8 expert job interview tips.

Everything’s on the line when you go in for a job interview in person. You’re under pressure whether to earn money to keep food on your family’s table or to go as far as you can with your first job. The initial job interview for the position is your chance to make a great first impression and solidify your likelihood for employment.

Whether you get a call back for a second interview, you get offered the job on the spot, or your follow-up calls are ignored is somewhat up to you.

Prepare for the interview far in advance.

1. Be aware of the purpose of the interview from your perspective. You’re looking for a job. Companies are looking for employees. You’re not going to be a good match for every opportunity out there, and that goes both ways. The interview is a chance for you to find out if a company is right for you.

If you desperately need a job, you may be willing to accept an opportunity that isn’t a good fit. Interviews are successful when no one is desperate, and the pressure is off to accept an offer. You should use the opportunity as a chance to evaluate the company you may be spending years of your life with and the people you’ll interact with every day.

Go to the interview with the attitude that you’re not going to settle.

2. Approach your interview like an audition. Your meeting is a test of your communication skills. Practice like you would for an audition. Ask your successful friends to role-play the interview.

Go on interviews for jobs you don’t intend to accept. This isn’t a waste of time; it’s excellent practice for meeting people and communicating about yourself, even if the details will be different for every interview.

3. Learn everything you can about your role and the people interviewing you. Do your research. You should enter the interview with a wealth of knowledge about the company.

The focus of this knowledge depends on the type of job you’re seeking and the level at which you expect to be hired, but be ready to communicate about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) you expect to encounter in your role.

4. Examine your public profile. Any company seriously considering a job candidate will do their own due diligence on you. Your reputation will need to survive a criminal background check as well as cursory social media investigation. This is where always maintaining a professional image online can help you.

The first step is controlling what you publish publicly online. Don’t be stupid by sharing with the world anything that you wouldn’t want seen in an article about you in the New York Times.

Next, you have to think about what your friends are posting about you. You have little control over what your friends do, and most reasonable employers recognize that social media isn’t necessarily a professional settings, but items shared by your friends can reflect poorly on you and your reputation.

Take care of this on the day of the interview.

Nail That Next Job Interview

5. Get sleep, arrive early, look the part. You should be at your best to make a positive first impression. Be relaxed and healthy, and a good night’s sleep before the interview can make a big difference.

Plan to arrive early for the interview. If you do arrive early, you will have a chance to look around and get comfortable with your surroundings. Planning to arrive early also gives you a buffer of time, and that will come in handy if a train or bus is running late or if there’s a traffic jam on the way to your appointment. Even when your lateness is due to something beyond your control, it reflects poorly on you.

Know ahead of time what you’re expected to wear while on the job, and choose an outfit a little nicer.

6. Project a positive attitude during the interview. For the purposes of the interview, you have a better chance of getting a job offer if your attitude matches what the hiring manager or your interviewer expects. There are a number of variables at play for these expectations, and there can be subtle or major differences based on sex.

Regardless of sex, confidence is the most appealing personality attribute during an interview. But confidence must be carefully controlled. Not everyone who is confident is doing a good job of presenting themselves, especially if that confidence is interpreted as superior or demeaning to others.

Express your confidence in a way that makes everyone in the room feel good about themselves.

Along with confidence, honesty and humility go far, especially when there’s a strong desire to prove yourself to be the best. You are human — be yourself.

7. Ask intelligent, relevant, and surprisingly bold questions. Inevitably, every interviewer provides the job applicant with an opportunity to ask questions. By this point in the interview, you’ve probably done a great job answering questions about your experience and expressing who you are while in the hot seat.

Have you sprinkled well thought-out questions as you go along? Doing so helps shift the focus around during the interview and allows you to find out more about the position and the company. Even still, it’s good to have a few questions in your back pocket for that one opportunity you know will come at the end of the interview. This isn’t the time to ask about vacation days or your 401(k) vesting schedule.

Assuming you’ve already asked all the relevant questions throughout the interview, the end is a good chance to show your bold side. Ask if the interviewer has any reservations or concerns about what you’ve said during the interview — or anything that might prevent the company from offering you the job. This does two things:

  • If the answer is no, you’re solidifying the interviewer’s interest in you by making them affirm it out loud.
  • If you did say something the interviewer didn’t like, you’ll get a chance to address the concern and clarify yourself. This can turn a “no” into a “yes.”

Don’t drop the ball after the interview.

8. Promptly follow-up with a thank you note. Some companies take longer to process applicants than others. The hiring process might be long. You don’t want to pester your potential manager, but you do want to make sure they are reminded of your interest.

A thank-you note within 24 hours of the interview, sent by email, is generally accepted to be a polite follow-up. Be sincere and thank your interviewer for the opportunity and their time. You may even want to use this as an opportunity to ask an additional question about the job, just to keep the communication going.

But don’t be alarmed if you don’t receive a reply. The lack of reply likely has nothing to do with you. There may be any number of other applicants, and the manager might be busy. You’ll hear from the company if and when they’re ready to move to the next stage of the hiring process.

Good luck with the interview. Regardless of the outcome, keep a positive attitude and don’t burn your bridges.

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Can you start a side gig? It’s not for everyone, but it could be a good solution for providing more freedom or money.

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 Tom Drake from Canadian Finance Blog. Tom, Miranda, and Harlan discuss the benefits of starting a side gig and how to make side gigs successful.

Is it about the money? Can you turn any old hobby into a business?

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

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