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5. Doing an Exceptional 75 Percent


You've dutifully discovered your strengths. You've, wonderfully, found a job that caters 75 percent to said strengths. As for your weaknesses, well, psshh, someone else can surely deal with that 25 percent of your job. Dealing with invoices can go to a numbers-minded intern, right? Communicating with the overseas office, where they perversely insist on email while you do so much better on the phone? Someone else will surely pick up your slack, n'est-ce pas? And then eventually you'd be promoted to the next-up position, which would 100 percent cater to your strengths. The problem is, people actually notice and, without realizing it, you're getting a reputation for being a 75-percenter. And let's face it, who wants to promote a 75-percenter?

6. Hate-Watching The Bachelor


One thing I have gleaned from Twitter is that many people watch a program on Monday nights called The Bachelor, which is apparently populated by characters that inspire no small degree of frustration. Unless you actually enjoy feeling that frustration, may I suggest, dear watchers, choosing a show that creates a feeling of happiness rather than disdain?

7. Shrugging More Than Speaking


Unless you are 13 years old, shrugging is not an answer. Do you want to go to the happy hour with all your coworkers or not? Did you really think the latest Superman movie was a little boring or not? How short do you want the hairdresser to cut your bangs? You have an opinion on these things. You have a right to that opinion. Stand up straight, make eye contact and respond in a grown-up sentence. And for the record, “sure” is just a texted shrug.

8. Forgetting to Take a Coffee Break


Burnout is, for many of us, practically our resting state. But if you're staring at the screen, trying to get those last (million) things done before you stop even though your brain is fried, consider the old-fashioned concept of taking a break. We mean the kind of break where you actually stand up and move away from the computer, walk around, or go to the gym,or take a—gasp—nap. Coming to work when you're sick, staying past dinner, blinking exhaustedly at the spreadsheet for more hours than anyone—these things don't impress your coworkers and boss as much as doing the best work possible. Which you can't do if you're totally burnt out.

9. Making Shy Eyes at Singles Mixers


Here's what's almost enough: Getting yourself to the NPR-sponsored speed-dating mixer thing that is full of smart, good-looking, like-minded, creative singles; wearing the most perfectly flattering outfit of all time; having just enough house chardonnay to feel relaxed but not lugubrious. But if you don't actually talk to the man in the corduroy blazer who is clearly meant to be the father of your children? Well, that's the difference between almost enough and the house with the white picket fence you and that guy buy together.

Amy Shearn is the author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn: A Novel

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