A Reality-Infused Commencement Address

18 May

For the sake of clarity, this speech is directed to those folks graduating from college.  It’s better to get them freshly entering the real world while still malleable and innocent.  Ah…to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  Remember those days when we still thought there was good in the world and we could get ahead by simply working hard and being a good human being?  Well, so much for that…here are some points to ponder:

1 – It’s never too late to change your mind.  If you find yourself stuck in a dead-end job and you always secretly wanted to be a writer…well, start a blog.

2 – If you are female, no matter how hard you try…you will still probably earn .73 to every $1.00 of your male counterparts.  It’s just life, it sucks and it probably won’t improve for another 100 years or so.  Get used to it.

3 – Most people in the corporate world are out for themselves.  The sooner you come to terms with that fact, the better off you will be.   Always be on the lookout for those that want to steal your ideas, take credit for your hard work and then stab you in the back with a huge grin on their face. 

4 – You’ve got to pay your dues.  You won’t think so at first and a few of you will actually manage to jump into the fast lane, but the rest of you….be patient.   Crap flows downhill and you are on the bottom. 

5 – Showing up, being accountable and being consistent will go a lot farther than you think.  Work hard and try not to get caught up in the politics because it will most likely bite you in the a**.

6 – Enjoy every ounce of free stuff that you can get, because you will learn new respect for the word “free” from this point forward.

7 – If a job seems too good to be true…it most likely is.   Try not to discover this AFTER you’ve accepted the position.  Someone is usually lying somewhere.

8 – Golden Handcuffs are much more powerful than you think.  Do your best to never get cuffed and it will give you a lot more freedom to tell a Bad Boss to shove it.

9 – Never argue with an a-hole because you will never win.

10 – Play the lottery.  If you don’t play, you can’t win.

I know, a bit cynical, huh?   I’ve had years of reality-checks.  Happy effing graduation…hopefully you at least got some decent gifts.

Tomorrow – How to Stretch Your Newly Reduced Salary

18 Responses to “A Reality-Infused Commencement Address”

  1. shutterboo May 18, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    Excellent advice, LD. I volunteer with many collegians and they all seem to think they’ll graduate and get a stellar job starting out at $50K and 2 weeks vacation. I tell that’s really cute… and it only happens if you’re a chemical engineer. Reality is sadly disappointing – which is why it pays to be a realist… optimism gets you nowhere.

  2. duke1959 May 18, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    How very true! The really sad part is that so many young people have never been “hit in the face” by life yet. Then one day the world smacks them down and they freak out! One of the things that has always bothered me is that so many womens IQ seem for some to depend totally on whether she is percieved of being attractive. That is sad.

  3. Office1 May 18, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Best advice…definitely play the lottery…really…even if you don’t win, fantasizing about winning will entertain you when your bosses get you down.

  4. izziedarling May 18, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    Excellent as always, LD. With respect to Shutterboo’s comment above, my “graduate” did get the $50K and 3 months of vacation – because she is a teacher. If you have a solid relationship with reality – and can still be optimistic, that is a winning combo in my book. Which is not published or even written … you go first;)

    • perpetuallypeeved May 18, 2010 at 8:55 am #

      That was much better than the commencement address at my college. LOVE the new mood indicator BTW.

  5. bookjunkie May 18, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    Ah yes….I remember being young and bright eyed…..and then reality drenched me like a cold bucket of water. Great advice by the way!

  6. Amy May 18, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    If I could, I would go back and tell myself to take my college money and run! Spending four years in a big box just to spend the rest of my life in a smaller one, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    • shoutabyss May 18, 2010 at 9:40 am #

      Dang it. I had to learn all that stuff on my own. I broke free of the golden handcuffs but it was one of the hardest things I’d ever done and left me in tears. But I did it. The company paid very well and had excellent benefits but expected your soul 24/7 in return. Now I’m five years deep in a new company and feeling much, much worse. Oh well.

  7. Pop May 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Oh boo…if we had our hopes and dreams slowly but surely crushed, the next generation of corporate drones deserves the same, no? 😛

    I might also add:

    11 – your coworkers or bosses may commit unimaginable atrocities, such as clipping their toenails at their desk. You have been warned.

  8. Bitten by Reality May 18, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    Amen, sister! Stellar advice. 🙂

  9. Cori May 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Not cynical, just good sound advice! Besides, #10 was downright optimistic!! 😉

  10. Laughing hysterically May 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    Love, love, love the advice! I want to laugh out loud when college grads talk about their goals of making 50K and getting 2 weeks vacation starting out. Good luck I say with a smile. I don’t want to be the one to crush their spirit…..but reality is about to soon set in!

  11. Sank May 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Man, does the truth suck-
    To sum up:
    1) People suck.
    2) No such thing as a free lunch.
    3) V the TV show about aliens taking over and eating humanity, is a documentary.

    BTW, the Golden Handcuffs do have that nice velvety inside so they don’t chaff. TO bad.

  12. Kimi May 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    Love it! If you were the speaker for my commencement address, this definitely beats all. Great advice!

  13. alchiketi May 18, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    How do we get you to be the commencement speaker? i bet there’s an app for that!

  14. A Girl & Her Dot May 18, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    Soooo true! I don’t think it’s cynical…it’s realistic. I think when you leave college, that’s when you really learn how to survive in the real world. I left college thinking that by my mid twenties I would be well on my way in my career and be making a great salary. No one tells you that it doesn’t happen over night. With each job you gain more knowledge and experience. I think #1 is my favorite 🙂

  15. eviljohn11 May 18, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    So true!

  16. slightlyignorant May 19, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    Cynical is good. Especially as your cynical is actually very realistic. Too true and depressingly so. It’s good advice actually, even if it is bitter – and anyway, you’ve got lots of reasons to be bitter about your own job.

    As usual, I so enjoy your posts – I’m a total cynic at heart ^_^.

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