I know there are roughly a billion blogs out there on how to be a better adult — but I like to think this one is different. Mainly because it’s not a “how-to” guide. It’s just a list of stuff everybody should know, that isn’t necessarily common knowledge. A lot of it is relatively new to me, and I only stumbled upon the information by happenstance. So here is some happenstance for you, and I hope you walk away feeling a bit more prepped for “adulting” than you did before reading this.
- There is no such thing as a teacup pig — only a malnourished pig.
Just because you see something cute on the internet doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Pigs are supposed to get big. That little pig you see sitting in a teacup should eventually grow to several hundred pounds….assuming their owners aren’t starving them for the sake of some Instagram likes. I get that animals are different from humans, and I’m not going to push you to go vegan or whatever else. But just apply some humanity to your decision making around animals. Starving another living creature is bad. Don’t do it. Exploiting animals so you can have warm fuzzies is bad. Don’t do it. And in a similar vein, stop going to breeders! There are literally millions of homeless companion animals, so why on earth would you go out and intentionally force yet another animal pregnancy and birth? Adoption saves lives. Breeding destroys lives. Let’s be adults that save lives, not destroy them.
- Adding non-doctoral academic post-nominals (like MBA) to your name on LinkedIn is pretentious.
Dear recent master’s graduate,
You have every right to be proud of your academic achievements, but don’t let pride turn into pretension. In the US, more than 14% of adults have at least one master’s degree (or higher). That’s pretty ubiquitous, and while you may have worked really hard, it doesn’t make you special. Adding your degree to your name on LinkedIn indicates an inflated sense of self importance and a lack of self awareness. In a nutshell, it’s a major red flag for recruiters. There are specific sections on networking sites, social media, and resumes to list your degrees. Unless you have a terminal degree (PhD) or a credential related directly to your job (MD, CPA, etc.), just leave your degrees where they belong on LinkedIn and get your ego-boost elsewhere.
Lydia A. Pert, MOL-HRM, SHRM-SCP (see how obnoxious that is?!)
PS. Don’t tack your post-nominals on to holiday cards, event invites, or personal emails. Seriously, I got a Christmas card this year that said “Merry Christmas from John Doe-MBA, Jane, Jack, and Jill.” Names were obviously changed, but this actually happened. We get it, we get it. You got one of the most common graduate degrees in the country. Sit down.
- Giving your baby an outlandish name is not cute, clever, or edgy. It’s cruel.
I totally understand that parents don’t want their kid to share a name with dozens of other kids in their school, so it makes sense that folks are branching out and choosing less common names. However, a lot of parents are taking it way too far, and crossing the line into the realm of ridiculous. It’s becoming a huge trend in English speaking countries for white Millenial couples to make up baby names like “Wrenlow” or “Torvina.” Some studies have found that a significant percentage of parents give their babies bizarre names in order to get more engagement on social media. Big yikes. Imagine saddling an innocent human with a trash name for their entire life just so you can get some more likes on Instagram. I have a lot more to say on this topic, so feel free to read one of my older pieces on baby names. But the tl;dr of it is that outlandish baby names are cruel. The practice nothing to do with the little human coming into the world, and everything to do with narcissistic parents that have no regard for the fact their child will have to live with a dreadful name forever.
- Fast fashion lines like Shein use child laborers and trafficking victims.
This one should be pretty obvious: Don’t. Buy. Things. Made. By. Slaves. Got it? Are we on the same page? Good. I don’t expect every single person to know every single unethical company out there, but dangit people, is it really that hard to do a quick Google search before purchasing from a new-to-you company? I understand that economic times are tough and everybody is looking to save a buck, so fast fashion seems like a good solution if you need a blazer for work or a new bedspread. But most of the stuff you are purchasing is a want, not a need, and if you can’t throw down a few more dollars to buy a comparable product that’s, you know, not made by slave or child labor, maybe you just shouldn’t buy that thing. Oh, and the fast fashion stuff doesn’t even look good. So just don’t. Good? Good.
- You don’t need a bigger house, you just need to get rid of more stuff.
I think a lot of us 90s kids grew up with the “more is more” interior design mentality. If you think back to your childhood home, you probably remember it being warm, cozy, welcoming, and very, very full. Curio cabinets loaded with knickknacks. China cabinets filled with fancy gold-trimmed plates that you never actually used. Vases of artificial flowers and crochet doilies and candelabras on the table and so many quilts and floral pillows on the couch that you could barely fit in a seat. It all feels very nostalgic, but it’s not necessary, and certainly not practical for a modern life. When someone says “our house is too small, we need to move,” 99% of the time I walk into their house and it’s a throwback to the 90s, with every single nook and cranny packed with the most unnecessary things. It’s rarely a house-size issue, it’s almost always a stuff issue. Take a hard look at everything you have in your house, and how you’re using the space. Do you really need an entire room dedicated to online gaming? Do you have guests over enough to justify two guest bedrooms? Can your den be repurposed since you have a separate formal living room? When you think of it that way, you’ll probably realize you have plenty of space, you’re just using that space poorly or loading it down with too much stuff.
- PTO is part of your total compensation. Don’t be afraid to use it.
I’ve been working in HR for a while now at a company that offers “unlimited, self-managed PTO.” Of course, there are parameters around that PTO to make sure it’s not being abused, but aside from those parameters the sky really is the limit. And yet, one of the most common things I hear from team members is that they feel guilty taking time off. I’m here to say to you: use your PTO! Total compensation includes all forms of pay and benefits, from your paycheck to your health insurance to your PTO. Do you feel guilty cashing your paycheck? Are you hesitant to go to the doctor? I certainly hope not! That’s part of your compensation, and so is PTO. If you’re not using PTO, it’s the equivalent of not cashing a paycheck. You’re leaving money on the table. If you work at an unlimited PTO company and are wondering “how much is too much,” I think it’s safe to say you need to go on vacation. The people most concerned about it are the people who aren’t taking enough time.
- The best skincare in your 30s is sunblock and moisturizer in your 20s.
We all know it’s really hard (and impossible in a lot of cases) to reverse skin damage. Once a new line or crease appears, chances are it’s there to stay. Prevention is key, and prevention starts yesterday. You want to look great in your 30s? Start good habits in your 20s. Already in your 30s? No worries! Start investing now for your 40s. Protect your skin from sunburns, keep your face and neck moisturized, stay hydrated, and avoid smoking and tanning and anything that will dry you out or fry your skin. I’ve thankfully never been to tannings booths and have always been good about sunblock, so overall my skin is looking good. However, I totally skipped my neck when it came to moisturizing (and I have a bad habit of looking down at my phone or computer). Now I have some neck lines that aren’t going to budge any time soon, but I’m definitely not going to let them get worse! It’s impossible to stay perfectly smooth and wrinkle free forever. Age will eventually catch up with us all, and because of genetics it might happen earlier to others despite their best efforts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be kind to your skin today and try to prevent issues tomorrow.