Written by Paige Dawson
This should not be this hard. Wow. I know nothing. How am I going to survive as an adult?
These were essentially the thoughts I had at work when tasked with figuring out the correct postage for a package. I looked it up online, reviewed a website, looked it up again, and used the postage pricing calculator on the United States Postal Service (USPS) website (pretty nifty tool, in case you’re wondering) to get as close as I could to accurate. Then I realized that I wasn’t even sure how much a standard stamp costs. (By “standard” I mean The Forever Stamp, which we discuss below.)
In my defense it was an oddly-shaped envelope, but no wonder the older generations think us Millennials are hopeless.
If you’re a fellow Millennial, or for some other reason you missed out on learning the simple things that help you succeed in the working world, I’ve chosen four tasks you might want to brush up on.
If you’re already a master of the mundane, consider sharing with your children, or their children, or someone else’s child. Be the hero they didn’t know they needed. But, “qualified adults,” please remember this is a judgement-free zone and enjoy a good laugh on me.
Cursive isn’t really emphasized in school anymore, and we don’t handwrite much because we work so often on computers, tablets, and phones. However, good penmanship not only makes your handwritten messages legible, but it’s more professional than chicken-scratch. So when you have to write thank you notes, address envelopes, or take notes in a meeting, they’ll be clean and easy to read – for yourself or the horror: if you have to give your notes to someone else to decipher and use.
And it seems in our MPD office that handwritten notes and cursive are almost prerequisite. Our founder Paige even makes it her personal mission to pen five notes weekly and has done this for years. She also advocates this practice with our clients as a lost art form and amazing client development and relationship building tool.
If you’re serious about improving your penmanship or learning cursive, look online for various practice sheets.
Check out this article (pun not intended) providing instructions on how to fill out a check and balance your checkbook, and ways to avoid fraudulent activity. Here are some highlights from the article:
And as a fairly recent employee in the workforce, it’s a bit jarring to see the deduction list each paystub. As a Millennial, I’d encourage you to ask your HR lead, parents, or a mentor to walk you through what all these acronyms mean and what value they have to you.
This Crash Course YouTube video is your “Taxes 101”:
Additionally, Forbes lays out for us what the different IRS tax forms mean (Tip: This video also talks about student loans and how they work with taxes):
And, here’s a link from the IRS about their different tax forms.
Now, we can’t end this topic about checks and taxes without mentioning that Millennials (heck, everyone) should start saving some of each paycheck and taking advantage of any employer matches offered. Hard to achieve on a starting salary for many of us, but the rewards mount up greatly over the years.
So, there you have it—four simple skills that go a long way in the professional world. If you’re an intern or new hire, some of these things may actually set you apart from your competition…or at the very least save you a little bit of embarrassment at the office.
For more tips on workplace skills and conduct, check out Paige’s blog giving advice to interns on how to have a successful internship.
What are other mundane tasks should we add to our repertoire?