Grow up! Your 7-step guide to be­ing an adult

‘Adult­ing’ can be daunt­ing but Katie Strick is here to share some wis­dom from the vet­er­ans

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - ADVICE -

There are some things school does not teach you — how to ask for a pay rise, what to look for on a house view­ing, how much to spend on a wed­ding present. Then — ta-dah! — you’re an adult, and sud­denly, some­how, you’re ex­pected to know (and won­der how ev­ery­one else seems to).

Evening Stan­dard jour­nal­ist Lucy Tobin and Emer­ald Street ed­i­tor Kat Poole want to change this. Their new book, Be­ing An Adult: The Ul­ti­mate Guide to Mov­ing Out, Get­ting A Job and Get­ting Your Act To­gether, is a man­ual for nav­i­gat­ing mod­ern life: a self-help guide for mil­len­ni­als ac­cord­ing to ‘proper’ adults, in­clud­ing a plumber, a doc­tor and a per­sonal fi­nance ex­pert. It’s a prac­ti­cal guide in­ter­spersed with per­sonal anec­dotes.

The au­thors both re­mem­ber the mo­ment they re­alised they were no longer a child. For Tobin, it was learn­ing a school friend was preg­nant “on pur­pose”, while for Poole the re­al­i­ties hit when her dad be­came ill. Now they’ve com­piled the hottest knowhow into one sim­ple tome. From emer­gency DIY tips to dress­ing for the of­fice, it’s the adult stuff you need to know.


Cook­ing can be daunt­ing, so the book draws up some handy lists. Al­ways have rose­mary, thyme, tar­ragon and mixed herbs in stock and make sure there’s a stock of wine at home for kitchen night­mares. There are use­ful recipes for dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions too: a Bolog­nese sauce, a speedy stir-fry for two or a roast chicken recipe for im­press­ing the fam­ily.


There are five easy steps to feel­ing bet­ter in a month, says the book’s res­i­dent doc­tor, GP Dr Dan Bern­stein. Cut down on booze, ditch the cig­a­rettes, sleep bet­ter, do at least 20 min­utes of ex­er­cise a day and try to un­wind — even if this means turn­ing down party in­vi­ta­tions. He de­bunks some com­mon myths. Wear­ing a vest won’t stop you catch­ing a cold, squeez­ing spots won’t re­sult in scars, and you don’t need to tilt your head back to stop a nose­bleed — just squeeze. If you need to call in sick, pick up the phone (so if you’re go­ing to pull a sickie, you will have to prac­tise that mu­cus-filled voice).


Fix­ing leaks, build­ing shelves, re­triev­ing lost jew­ellery from the plug­hole — Tobin and Poole have all the sexy house­hold jobs cov­ered, plus a list of all the tasks you shouldn’t at­tempt your­self, like fix­ing a gas leak and re­mov­ing as­bestos. To sort squeaky floor­boards, shake tal­cum pow­der through the cracks; to un­block a sink, use an un­wound coat hanger; to pro­tect your­self from car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing, fit an alarm in the same room as your boiler.


Nail­ing job in­ter­views and ex­am­in­ing con­tracts are im­por­tant, but so is of­fice chat, and com­pil­ing a work wardrobe. The book out­lines the ba­sics of ask­ing for a pay rise — know why you’re ask­ing, list the rea­sons, prac­tice ask­ing and cru­cially, find the right time (ahead of the an­nual pay re­view and be­fore any new team mem­bers start). There’s a sec­tion on start­ing your own busi­ness for the mod­ern-day free­lancer.


This is one of the worst parts of be­ing an adult, par­tic­u­larly ‘that drawer’. To stay on top of it, Tobin and Poole sug­gest tack­ling it once a week and set­ting out lists for what you can re­cy­cle pronto, ver­sus what you should keep for ever, aka tax doc­u­ments and job con­tracts. They rec­om­mend the Ever­note app for to-do lists, Loy­alive for loy­alty points, IFTTT for re­mem­ber­ing your um­brella and Good Bud­get for bill re­minders.


Tobin and Poole don’t ne­glect the emo­tional side. They call this part the ‘Ci­tymap­per for your per­sonal life’ and it cov­ers from what to say to some­one go­ing through a break-up to break­ing up with some­one your­self (choose a park or a cof­fee shop, and be cer­tain). For wed­dings, get on the gift list be­fore all that’s left is an ex­pen­sive milk jug, and base your spend­ing on how much you earn — £20 to £60 is fine. Jobs, news, sport and out­fits are good con­ver­sa­tion starters, and if you’re end­ing one, keep it po­lite.


What is a credit rat­ing? The book ex­plains this, along with sum­maries on tax, life in­sur­ance and stu­dent loans. For sav­ing, “set up a stand­ing or­der into an ac­count that comes out on the day you get paid”, and there’s a whole sec­tion on “be­com­ing a fi­nan­cial cou­ple”, from shar­ing a Net­flix ac­count to mov­ing in to­gether. In­come dis­par­i­ties are a good test of friend­ships — “the good ones [stick] around”, and on birth­days, give friends vouch­ers to baby-sit or cook.

TAK­ING CON­TROL: be­ing an adult isn’t easy

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