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20 hilarious listing photos that show what not to do when putting your house on the market

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CT house

When Andy Donaldson was house hunting in London in 2013, he was amused by how many low-quality real estate photos he came across during his search.

"I shared a few [photos] with friends, accompanied with some sarcastic commentary of my own, and it took off," Donaldson told Business Insider. From there, he was inspired to start the Tumblr "Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos," which quickly grew a following.

"Within a few weeks the blog was getting around 1 million visits per week, [and followers] send me so many horrendous examples of their own I can hardly keep up," he said. 

Below, we've rounded up 20 of our favorite photos from Donaldson's site. While some are low-lit and unflattering, others are just creepy. Consider them examples of what not to do when you're trying to sell your home — a picture is worth a thousand words, after all. 

SEE ALSO: 5 easy ways to make your home look more expensive, according to 2 top real estate brokers in New York City

Some homeowners don't even clean their pool before listing their home for sale.

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Others are worse. Anyone need a mattress?

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Some don't even care to hide their collectibles, such as their dolls ...

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Magnus Carlsen has stormed back at the World Chess Championship

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Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin

NEW YORK — The 2016 World Chess Championship between title-holder Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Sergey Karjakin of Russia was shaping up to be a tense festival of long games that ended up as draws — until last week, when in Game 8 Carlsen overpressed with the white pieces and went down to defeat.

In Game 9, Carlsen needed a draw with black to stop the bleeding, but Karjakin conjured his best game, with a bishop sacrifice after a 20-minute deep think that recalled Bobby Fischer at his peak and sent a shock wave through the elite chess world. 

Would Carlsen, the two-time defending World Champion, the "Mozart of chess," go down two full points to the Russian challenger — a nearly insurmountable deficit in a 12-game match?

As it turned out, Karjakin's bold play looked more impressive than it actually was, once the lines were crunched by computer analysis. Carlsen, whose accuracy during this match has been questioned, found the right defensive combinations under serious time pressure and was able to draw the game. It was an epic save.

Carlsen Karjakin Game 9

Carlsen Karjakin Game 9

That set the stage for Game 10, with Carlsen wielding the white pieces. Needing the full point to tie, he used the Ruy Lopez opening, and Karjakin countered with the infamously drawish Berlin Defense. 

But a draw wasn't in the offing. Karjakin finally showed some cracks, missing a few crucial, subtle calculations that enabled Carlsen to achieve a modest advantage, converting it to a win by the 75th move.

The match is now tied 5-5, with two games remaining. Game 11 takes place on Saturday in lower Manhattan, at 2PM ET.

If the score is deadlocked after the 12 classical games are all in the books, the players will go to tiebreaks: four "rapid" games, with each player having 25 minutes on his clock, with a ten-second time increment added for each move. If this match is still after that, 5-minute "blitz" games will decide the outcome.

Thus far, Karjakin's bishop sac has been the most exciting moment in a WCC match that hasn't been much of a spectacle for opening theory or bold, attacking play. Fischer himself would have appreciated the bishop blowing open the defense of the back king on the f7 square — a weakness that the last American World Champion often targeted.

Endgame enthusiasts have enjoyed a treat, however, as the players have ground out numerous exhausting games that went beyond 40 moves. Will Games 11 and 12 be more of the same? Not if one of these two men wants to capture the title with a win in a classical contest.

SEE ALSO: Lightning strikes at the World Chess Championship as Magnus Carlsen loses Game 8

Join the conversation about this story »

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18 incredible gadgets under $50 that every kitchen should have

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breakfast

Holiday season is officially here, which means it's time to think about what gifts to buy for your friends and family. And gadgets for the kitchen can be great for anyone.

From new cooking devices to innovative utensil redesigns, there are loads of cool products that can spice up any stove, pantry, or dining room.

Here are a few affordable must-have tools for the home cooks in your life.

 

SEE ALSO: These 5 popular grocery items are getting cheaper

Tongs that double as a meat thermometer.

To make sure your steak or chicken is done, you either have to slice it open or stick a thermometer in the meat. But with Flame King's temperature tongs, you can easily check if your meat is ready while flipping it on the grill.

Buy it:$34.37



A pot that doubles as a strainer.

This Bialetti pot has a strainer built into the lid. Just lock the top onto the pot, and you can easily dump the water straight into the sink.

Buy it:$29.88



Chilling stones.

Made from granite, Sea Stone's rocks will keep your drinks cold without watering down your whiskey.

Buy them:$34.95



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Here's why the Rob Roy can be your go-to holiday cocktail

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Rob Roy

The holidays are a time for friends, family, getting together, and of course of bit of imbibing.

But what drink to mix? There's such a dizzying range of options.

You have plenty of options, but one of my personal favorites is the Rob Roy.

I'll tell you why. My father-in-law loves this drink and makes a wonderful, simple version. He had some amazing experiences as a young man, hanging around Greenwich Village in New York and listening to many of the greats of the Golden Age of jazz play live. Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, those giants. He also learned to tend bar and has kept his skills up for decades.

He makes a dandy Rob Roy, which is a cocktail that's been around for over a century. It's named for a rakish Scottish folk hero of the 1600-1700 period who was later immortalized in popular books and musicals. Effectively, it's a Manhattan made with scotch, rather than bourbon or rye.

To make it, you'll need some decent blended scotch. Cheap scotch won't be disguised by the cocktail, so invest in something like Dewar's or Johnnie Walker Red. Don't use single malt or high-end blended scotch, however.

Then get some sweet vermouth. I like Noilly Prat.

Finally, a lemon, lots of ice, and some short cocktail glasses.

Here we go.

THE JAZZMAN'S ROB ROY

1. Put enough ice cubes in a short cocktail glass to fill it halfway.

2. Cut a twist from the lemon (after you've washed it). Run the twist around the rim of the glass, then discard.

3. Fill the glass approximately two-thirds of the way with scotch. The cool thing about this version of the Rob Roy is that it's on the rocks, not "up," so you don't have to be precise about your measurements. However, the ratio is roughly 3:1 scotch-to-vermouth.

4. Add enough sweet vermouth to darken the drink a bit. This is the part of the cocktail that's up to taste. If you like scotch, use less vermouth. If you want to take some of the smoky edge off the scotch, use more vermouth. But don't just splash in some vermouth.

5. Gently stir the drink, for longer than you think you should. 

6. THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT PART! Stare at the drink for about a minute, doing nothing. You are allowing the drink to "water" — the ice is melting, and the cocktail's components are integrating. It is becoming a drink.

7. Add more ice, if necessary. The drink should jingle a bit from the ice when you move it around in your hand.

8. Add a lemon twist. This might sound like an afterthought, but it's essential. Because this Rob Roy lacks bitters, a classic ingredient, it needs something to add a bitter element, and the lemon skin does this brilliantly. 

The ultimate effect should be a Rob Roy that's light and refreshing, sort of like a quick jazz flute solo, or something from the soprano sax. Savor it while listening to a couple of numbers from the Bebop era. Toast your good fortune. Send the year off in style!

SEE ALSO: You can't go wrong with this perfect all-in-one Martini recipe

Join the conversation about this story »

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13 things to try before you're 30

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tough mudder

There's nothing inherently terrible about turning 30, for all its bad press. You can still be fun and adventurous and spontaneous.

So if you haven't accomplished everything on the list below by the time you hit the big 3-0, don't panic.

But let's be real: The older you get, the more likely it is that you'll have met The One, started a family, bought your own place, and moved into a management role at your company. Meaning there will be less opportunity to do things like run a Tough Mudder. Again, it won't be impossible — just harder.

To help you figure out how to best take advantage of your 20s, we checked out a bunchofQuorathreads and found some potentially life-changing experiences to put on your bucket list. 

Read on, get inspired, and most importantly, start checking things off.

1. Living in a big city

Quora user Dylin Redling says he moved to Manhattan when he was 24 and then to San Francisco when he was 26. "They were the two best moves I ever made," he says. "I highly recommend living in a city with a lot of diversity where you can meet people from all over the world."

If you've never made a move like that before, we've got you covered with these roundups of everything you need to know before moving to New York City and San Francisco.

2. Challenging yourself physically

"While you're young, train for and complete a marathon, a Tough Mudder, a triathlon, or something similar," Redling says. "It'll help you physically and mentally to push through boundaries and go for goals."

As Bernie Michalik writes on 99U, training for a marathon teaches you some key life lessons, like the importance of tracking your efforts and results as you’re working toward a goal.

These skills will help pave the way for your personal and professional success down the line.

3. Learning to meditate

Redling recommends starting a meditation practice as a way to manage stress. He writes:

"You're going to experience A LOT of stress over your lifetime, so it's best to learn how to effectively deal with it as soon as possible. One of, if not, the best ways is through meditation. Take a class, read a book, or do some research on the basics, and make it part of your life."

You might want to explore mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing on the intake and outtake of breath.

If you find that this type of meditation helps you stay calm and focused, it’s a practice you can use whenever and wherever.

4. Online dating

If you're in your 20s and single, there's little harm in creating a profile on OKCupid, Tinder, or any of the dating sites out there.

As Elarie Mashi writes, "There's nothing to lose if you try, [but] who knows what you might gain?" In other words, you might be momentarily embarrassed about logging on, but you could potentially find your soulmate.

Up your chances of finding that person by setting up your profile according to science. That means you shouldn't post revealing photos and you should describe both your own personality and what you're looking for in an ideal partner.

couple kissing

5. Falling in love

Becoming totally enamored with someone is intimidating — what if your feelings are unrequited? What if the relationship doesn’t work out in the long run?

Let yourself fall for them anyway.

"Any number of breakups or separations cannot take away the joy and the experience of being in love," writes Mragank Yadav. "It’s all worth it."

6. Failing

Yadav says it’s important that 20-somethings learn how to fail, and more importantly, how to get back up again: "Failing comes naturally. Rising up again is something that needs to be [inculcated]."

Take a tip from now super-successful figures, like Paul Allen and Oprah Winfrey, all of whom learned from multiple professional failures.

7. Traveling alone

Now's the time to pack up and head somewhere solo, especially if you don't yet have kids or a mortgage. 

"It will prove to be one of the most useful tool[s] in later stages of life to clear your mind, get away from stuff, or just to see the world for what it truly is," Yadav says.

Ready to go? We put together a list of the 30 best places to travel alone, including Costa Rica, where you can stroll through the Cloud Forest, and the Greek Isles, where you can idle on the beach.

8. Starting a business

George Everitt recommends devoting one year in your 20s to pursuing a business idea. "It will probably fail," he writes, "but you will learn so much more than if you had taken that time in a corporate job."

And don’t worry too much about roadblocks, like not having a business degree and not wanting to invest thousands of dollars. Danny Marguiles launched an online course without an MBA and with just $100. Later that year, he was earning $30,000 a month.

coding javascript

9. Learning to code

"Computers are here to stay," Everitt says, "and learning at least one programming language helps you understand so much about how the modern world works."

Pro tip: These eight in-demand programming languages are the ones to have on your resume in 2016. 

10. Starting a blog

Josh Fraser says writing is one of the most important and underrated life skills. You can hone that skill by starting a blog — about food, sports, relationships, or simply being a 20-something.

"As with most things," Fraser says, "the best way to improve is to just start doing it."

11. Learning a foreign language

"You get a really good edge in some countries of the world if you know the native languages," writes Sankalpa Patil. "I would suggest either of German, French, Japanese, Russian."

Whatever tongue you try to master, it could be easier than you think. Take a tip from Gabriel Wyner, who achieved fluency in four languages in a few years through the use of strategies like spaced repetition. Or, you could use the free Google Chrome extension that replicates the experience of language immersion by translating random words from whatever you're reading to the foreign language.

12. Rocking out at a concert by your favorite band

That's a tip from Emily Hunt. The tickets might be pricey, but certain artists might not be touring as often in years to come, so take advantage of their popularity now.

13. Taking a cooking class

Have you ever truly figured out how to cook?" asks Sachin Shubham.

As in, maybe you can feed yourself with spaghetti and omelets, but what would you serve at a fancy dinner party? Sign up for a course and learn at least one dish so you can impress guests with your culinary expertise.

SEE ALSO: 10 things you'll regret doing in your 20s

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: TONY ROBBINS: What you need to do in your 20s to be more successful in your 30s

The breakout star of Disney's 'Moana' was almost a totally different character

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heihei moana disney

Disney's "Moana" includes a colorful cast of characters, though a dumbwitted chicken stands out as maybe the most absurd animal sidekick we've seen from the animation studio.

Heihei follows Moana, a 16-year-old Pacific Island teen, on a journey across the ocean. It's unclear how Moana and her featherbrained friend became acquainted, though the pair are inseparable throughout the movie.

At this year's San Diego Comic-Con, a panel featuring the film's cast and creators revealed that Heihei (voiced by Alan Tudyk) started out as almost an entirely different character.

"Heihei the animal went through a bit of a character evolution," the movie's writer Jared Bush ("Zootopia," "Big Hero 6") said. "He started out as kind of a jerk. Heihei had a lot of attitude."

moana disney

The Comic-Con audience then watched a brief animation test (not from the movie) that showed Heihei trying to steal food away from the movie's other beloved animal sidekick, Pua. People sighed, feeling sorry for the pig.

"Over the course of many different screenings, [we learned] the character wasn't resonating," Bush said. "We started to change just one little thing about Heihei."

How did Disney decide to make Heihei more likeable?

heihei moana disney

They dropped his IQ.

Moments later, panelists showed a clip of Heihei as he appears in the movie — not-all-there. The audience giggled at a second animation test in which Heihei tries to eat a snack, but keeps missing the morsel and nose-diving into the floor. It was funny, if not ridiculous.

"Pua is the cutest Disney character, Heihei is the dumbest character," Bush continued.

"Moana" is in theaters now, so you can see Heihei's makeover for yourself.

SEE ALSO: The 15-year-old who is the voice of the newest Disney Princess says she's never met her famous costars

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Lin-Manuel Miranda and The Rock team up in the trailer for Disney's 'Moana'

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The top 9 most popular restaurants in New York City, according to Uber

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Vandal

If there's one thing Uber knows, it's where people are going.

Because of that, when it comes to judging New York's City most popular restaurants, the ride-hailing company is ignoring all of the "best of" lists and critics reviews and evaluating the restaurants strictly on the data it knows: the number of drop-offs at the restaurant.

The company recently unveiled its analysis of a year's worth of drop-offs in the city to see which restaurants had the most dropoffs from November 1, 2015 to October 1, 2016.

Here are the top 9 most popular restaurants in New York City, according to Uber's data:

SEE ALSO: This is what it's like to buy Snapchat's new Spectacles glasses

9. Nobu Fifty Seven

Cuisine: Japanese

Website:http://noburestaurants.com/fifty-seven/

Address: 40 W 57th St



8. ACME

Cuisine: American

Website:http://acmenyc.com/

Address: 9 Great Jones St

 



7. ABC Kitchen

Cuisine: American

Website:http://www.abckitchennyc.com/

Address: 35 E 18th St



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20 ways to fly like a pro

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How to fly like a pro 2016_3x4

Traveling to faraway places can be exhilarating, but getting there is often anything but exciting.

Even for the most seasoned of travelers, long-haul flights can be tough. Luckily there are some small things you can do to make a long flight seem a little less long.

Consider the 20 tips below to make yourself more comfortable on your next trip.

SEE ALSO: 12 sneaky ways online retailers get you to spend more

One study found that carb-rich foods such as spaghetti, whole grain bread, and oatmeal make it easier to cope with jet lag. According to the study, higher levels of insulin make it easier to transition from one sleep and eating schedule to another. Carb-rich foods help induce insulin secretion, which is why they may be helpful in preventing or minimizing jet lag.



Being hungry when you're on the ground is uncomfortable enough, but at least you can run out and grab a snack. Hunger on a plane means either caving and buying the outrageously expensive snacks on board, or sitting there and waiting until the next meal is served — if meals are being served.

Your best bet is to bring protein-rich snacks that will keep you feeling full longer. Think almonds, peanut butter and crackers, cheese, yogurt, or protein bars.



According to WebMD, it's harder to digest while in the air— so although it's OK to eat, filling up isn't the best idea. In fact, depending on how long your flight is, you might want to eat just before boarding and eat only snacks while on the plane. If you do eat on the plane, keep in mind that warm foods are better than cold foods since they're easier to digest.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Saying 2 words most of us overlook can save your tired relationship

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couple shadow holding hands

My family often makes fun of me for being overly effusive in restaurants:

Oh, thank you so much for bringing the bread — we really appreciate it! Water? I love water! Thank you for being so kind!

Though no one in my family has ever said it explicitly, I imagine part of the reason they find it so hilarious is that I hardly ever show them so much gratitude.

Not even for oh, say, bringing me into this world and putting a roof over my head for 18 years.

So I had a quiet "aha!" moment while reading Janice Kaplan's "The Gratitude Diaries," in which she chronicles her yearlong effort to show more appreciation in different areas of her life.

Before writing "The Gratitude Diaries," Kaplan, a journalist who was formerly the editor of Parade magazine, helped conduct a survey on Americans' gratitude habits.

Results showed that 97% of respondents said they would express gratitude to a server in a nice restaurant (guilty as charged). But how many women said they regularly thanked their husbands? Just 48%.

In the book, Kaplan writes that she gets it — we have way higher expectations for our partners than we do for waiters. Beyond that, she suspects we also get so used to our partner being there for us that we generally forget to appreciate it.

Simply making the effort to say "thank you" can breathe new life into a tired relationship.

janice kaplanWhen she visited the Business Insider offices in August, Kaplan told us:

"When you're in a relationship, particularly for a long time, you kind of stop noticing somebody. Psychologists call it habituation."

"You get used to somebody. You stop realizing why you wanted to be there in the first place."

During the first month of her gratitude experiment, Kaplan focused on appreciating her husband.

She'd thank him for driving them home from a party or fixing a leaky faucet — and he'd be confused, because he always does those things.

"I know you do," Kaplan would tell him. "But I appreciate it."

As Business Insider's Erin Brodwin has reported, psychologists have known for a while that couples who express gratitude toward each other are more likely to stay together. In fact, thanking your partner even once can bring you two closer months later.

That's possibly because a single act of gratitude sparks a cycle of gratitude and generosity: You thank your partner, so your partner feels appreciated and invests more in the relationship, which in turn makes you feel more grateful to them.

Perhaps the part of "The Gratitude Diaries" that struck me most was a scene Kaplan describes in which her husband, a doctor, is rushing off in the middle of the night to treat a sick patient.

Typically, Kaplan writes, she'd be frustrated and angry that her husband was leaving at that hour. But during her gratitude experiment, she pushed herself to find the reason to be grateful.

So she told him:

"I was just thinking about how lucky your patient is to have you. She must feel so much better knowing you're on the way. The world needs more doctors like you. Thank you for being so special."

To me, this scene reflects how showing gratitude to the people we're closest to can take more effort than thanking the barista at Starbucks. It requires seeing the person in a new light — or simply seeing them at all.

But that effort can pay big dividends. Kaplan writes that her small acts of gratitude appeared to change her overall marriage for the better.

In the book she mentions one professor of marriage and family therapy who told her that every day he emails his wife thanking her for something. It doesn't have to be anything huge — thanking her for running errands when he was busy is fine.

The point is to make gratitude a habit so that, eventually, you don't have to think about it — it's just the default lens through which you see your partner's everyday behaviors.

SEE ALSO: 15 relationship facts everybody should know before getting married

Join the conversation about this story »

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Why Chubbies, a short-shorts company that frat bros love, refuses to grow up completely

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Chubbies

With a tongue-in-cheek name like Chubbies, it would be hard for a company known for its short shorts to evolve into something too serious.

So it's a good thing that Chubbies isn't looking to do that. As the company expands its product offerings outside of short shorts, introduces additional sizing and options, and begins to sell more of the typical clothing you'd expect from a retailer, it's not losing sight of its mission: To have fun on the weekend.

"As we've grown we've really expanded what the weekend means, and [we're] really helping to define a more comprehensive experience for our guys beyond just throwing on a pair of shorts at 5 p.m. on a Friday," Rainer Castillo, Chubbies' cofounder and head of merchandising, told Business Insider.

Chubbies' mission is to translate that feeling to other times of the day, all days of the week, and every season of the year. The company looks at potential new products by judging their comfort, nostalgia factor, and whether they have the potential to "make the weekend better."

Chubbies

One way the company has found success recently is with their cheeky version of a fleece pullover, which they jokingly refer to as the equivalent of shorts for the winter (in that it's seasonal and offers a way to show off some personality). It's reversible with a Sherpa lining and comes in nostalgic patterns. At $124.50, it was the most expensive item ever offered on the Chubbies website, but it sold out in a matter of hours earlier this year. New models are on the way.

This type of branching out is essential, as shorts are a hard sell past September in most markets around the US.

The fleece pullover is part of Chubbies' aim to offer a broader array of experiences to more costumers. Its best-selling items are no longer the wild, out-there designs the brand trumpeted when it was founded in 2011. The famous short shorts now even come in two lengths: short (with a 5.5-inch inseam), and a less-short 7 inches. The shorts come in a variety of fabrics, including a soft sweatshirt-like material. A range of brushed cotton shirts are also on offer, with patterns you could certainly get away with at a casual office. A line of women's clothing is also coming next year.

"We can offer a really well-crafted mountain shirt [and] at the same time offer an American flag print overall, and still feel like we're positioned in a really unique place in the market," Castillo said.

Chubbies

Chubbies' diverse customer base is the reason it offers this range of product, according to Tom Montgomery, another Chubbies cofounder and the company's head of marketing. Montgomery also admits that, as the company has learned how to work with suppliers and source better materials, the clothing is becoming higher-quality, and "pigeonholing [the company with] a singular wild, out-there item is no longer necessary."

"There's such a diverse way to experience the weekend," Montgomery said. "You want to be able to participate with the brand all the time, not just on the Fourth of July." 

The company says that at checkout, final shopping cart totals have grown by 15% year-over-year. Chubbies declined to provide exact revenue statistics, but executives indicated they are pleased with the growth of the company.

But Chubbies' expansion doesn't mean the company will grow up completely and lose its irreverent attitude. The company may be selling its Winnebago-turned-bar — a tailgating destination full of kegerators and framed pictures of Tom Selleck — but the company's social media marketing remains as joke-filled as ever.

Suffice it to say, the costume-like items the company is known for aren't going away either. Right now, for example, you can purchase both men's and women's versions of Santa Claus-themed holiday shorts on their website.

SEE ALSO: Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas are selling 'dad shoes' — and it seems to be a brilliant move

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18 things you should accomplish before turning 30

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young professional woman

Go skinny dipping, stay up all night partying in a foreign city, climb a mountain — there are plenty of adventures you should check off your personal bucket list before turning the big 3-0.

But what about your professional to-do list?

We polled the experts and collected the milestones you'd be wise to hit early on in your career.

Here's what every intrepid professional should do before turning 30:

1. Get fired

"Getting fired early on can be a brutally tough life experience, but it can serve as a huge wake-up call for change if there was a performance issue," Michael Kerr, author of "The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank," told Business Insider.

Getting this out of the way in your 20s could also alert you to being on the wrong career path and teach you to develop the skills necessary to always have a viable backup plan, he said.

2. Quit a dud job

"Life's too short to stay in a job you hate, and your 20s are the time to take that kind of a risk," says Kate Swoboda, creator of the Courageous Coaching Training Program.

Swoboda suggests you swap your dead-end job for a salaried position that you like better or that you start working for yourself.

"And before you think that you can't work for yourself, remember: This is the digital age, and anyone with the right amount of heart, hustle, and patience can make a living online," she says.

3. Write a simple vision statement

"You've got to know where you want to go if you want to get there," Swoboda says.

Your vision statement needn't be a long manifesto, she says. You simply need to capture the "why" of what you do.

You can home in on your vision statement by answering: "How do I want to feel when I go into work each day?" "How does my work positively impact my life or the lives of others?" and "What feels satisfying about this line of work?"

4. Have strategies for managing stress

Living in a chronic state of stress and exhaustion can take its toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally, and if brought on by work it can lead to job burnout.

You won't make it far past 30 in your career if you don't pick up some strategies for managing stress.

5. Take ownership of your time

Proper time management is a skill you should have down by the time you hit 30, says Barry S. Saltzman, a business-strategy expert who is the CEO of Saltzman Enterprise Group.

You may get away with being all over the place as an intern, but it's not cute when you're leading the team and you can't get your own act together.

Time is money, Saltzman points out, and no company will be happy with needlessly wasted money: "Learning by 30 what makes you efficient is important to professional development, and beyond that, improved efficiency makes you look a lot better in the eyes of your superiors."

6. Craft an engaging elevator pitch

Once you understand your vision, you must figure out how you will explain it to others.

"Sharing that you're a copywriter or that you work in finance is fine and dandy, but it doesn't make you stand out or inspire people to want to ask you follow-up questions," says Michelle Ward, a creative career coach and coauthor of "The Declaration of You!"

Instead, when people inquire about what you do, answer with your "what," "who," and "how." Don't be afraid to mention what you're passionate about, the types of people you help, and what you do for them specifically, she says.

When Ward introduces herself, she tells people that she offers dream-career guidance for creative women. "That way, the person listening can connect with what I'm saying or introduce me to any creative women they know who are looking for dream-career guidance," she says.

7. Become an expert

"By the time 30 rolls around, you owe it to yourself to know what you can do," Saltzman says.

"From both a professional standpoint and a branding standpoint, being an expert in a particular field is more important than I can say."

His advice: Avoid being a jack-of-all-trades and put the effort in early to become extraordinary at something.

8. Learn to accept rejection gracefully

Rejection, no matter the pursuit it stems from, isn't fun, Quora user Christi Wentz writes, but it's a part of life.

"When that happens, acknowledge the loss, but move on," Wentz says. "Don't spend your energy or dignity insulting the person whose approval you once craved simply because they didn't give it to you. You will only make yourself bitter, and you will look like a fool."

9. Keep a 'win book'

This is a place where you store all the compliments you receive about your work and your wins and accomplishments, Ward says.

"By keeping it all in one place, you'll be able to articulate what you do well, how you add value, and what you accomplish," she says.

Your win book doesn't need to be tangible. Ward says she uses Evernote to copy and paste the niceties she gets over email.

Next time your work review rolls around or you need to write a cover letter, you can pull out the book for some inspiration.

10. Send an email to someone you admire

Whether the person you admire wrote your favorite book, changed the corporate culture in a company for the better, or has shown corporations how they can use their profit for good, Swoboda suggests you reach out and tell them why you appreciate what they're up to.

"Often, people hesitate to send a note like this because they assume that it won't be read, but you'd be surprised how often a leader in her field will appreciate the gesture and respond with a thank-you," she says.

11. Pitch and lead a passion project

Whether you dream of leading the annual corporate retreat or having a lunchtime book club, Ward suggests you ask yourself what would make your workday more enjoyable and meaningful. Then go for it.

Your workplace dream could even reflect your future career goals or transitions, she says, like offering to plan the holiday party if you want to try your hand at event planning.

If you're not sure your boss would go for it, she suggests putting everything together on your own time. "Remember that it still counts as experience for your résumé!"

12. Pay it forward

Your 20s are usually focused on getting ahead, Swoboda says, while your 30s are all about giving back.

"Instead of holding all your best ideas close to your chest so that you can privately pitch them to the boss, share them in a meeting," she suggests. When coworkers complain about a problem, ask, "How can I help?" And don't be afraid to acknowledge the work of others in front of higher-ups.

"Trust me when I say that it's what people will remember you for, and it's the best return on investment around for your career."

13. Become a master communicator

"Sadly, a lot of people don't take the time to improve their communication skills, and their career trajectory suffers because of it," Saltzman says.

By 30 you should be able to iterate ideas efficiently and accurately, and poor writing skills are simply inexcusable, he says. "Everything you say or write is representative of you as a person, so why settle for poor writing?"

14. Learn to network

You may hate it, but networking is essential to building and growing a successful career. Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between networking strategically and increased income.

To be an effective networker you need to step out of your comfort zone — and it also helps to avoid the common mistakes many people make.

15. Take control of your social-media presence

"Don't let your personal Facebook account speak to potential employers or clients for you," Ward says.

To make sure you're in control of how you're perceived online, she suggests setting up a blog and an About.me page and updating your LinkedIn profile.

16. Embrace conflict

"Conflict is everywhere, so there's no excuse not to learn to handle it," Saltzman says. "Where many shy away from different issues, embracing them and taking the time to solve them improves efficiency for everyone involved."

17. Volunteer

This may seem more appropriate for your personal bucket list, but volunteering can do wonders for your professional life, too. Donating your time can teach you a new skill, help add something special to your résumé, and you allow you to meet new connections with similar interests as you.

18. Keep learning

The fact that it has been a few years since you've set foot in a classroom doesn't mean you should stop learning.

And don't limit yourself to subjects that would have an obvious impact on your career. After dropping out of college, Steve Jobs still audited the occasional class, and one course he took on calligraphy was a huge influence on him and inspired "the wonderful typography" personal computers have today.

DON'T MISS: 27 signs you're burned out at work

SEE ALSO: 9 daily questions that could improve your life forever

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