Wednesday, September 8, 2010

11 Life Rules For Teenagers (And Some Adults)

Last night I read: "11 rules your kids did not and will not learn in school" from a speech by Bill Gates. I liked it so much, I am going to incorporate it into our curriculum and thought I'd reproduce it here as follows:
  1. Life is not fair - get used to it.
  2. The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
  3. You will not make $60,000 a year right out of High School. You won't be a Vice-President with a car phone until you earn both.
  4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.
  5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
  6. If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
  7. Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
  8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
  9. Life is not divided into semesters . You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
  10. Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
  11. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
The following are our updated interpretation of the "11 Life Rules" from The Sabot School of Etiquette:
  1. Life is not fair. Acknowledge this fact, and move on.
  2. The professional working world does not care about your self-esteem. You will be expected to perform and produce at work every day regardless of your self-esteem or health.
  3. Chances are you will not make $150,000.00 per year EVER with only a High School degree. Acquiring a marketable skill in today's professional working world is paramount before you will ever earn a vice-presidency, have three cell phones, or a designer car.
  4. If you think your teacher is tough, just wait until you get a boss. The boss is not your friend and does not have your best interest at heart. The boss thinks you want his/her job. The boss can be jealous of you, especially if you are a competent and hard worker. The boss has all the power.
  5. Flipping burgers or mucking out horse stalls is not beneath your dignity. Your Great-Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping and mucking: they called it opportunity and an honest day of work.
  6. If you make mistakes, and make no mistake about it, you will make mistakes, DO NOT whine about it at work or to your friends or family. NO ONE out of school or over the age of about 21 wants to hear about all of your problems. They have their own problems. Learn from your mistakes. Try not to make the same mistakes twice. Change your behavior to change the outcome.
  7. Before you came along, your parents were young, just like you are now. You may think they are boring and clueless, however, they have been responsible for your food, room & board, doctor bills, social activities, laundry AND they have been listening to your guff for more than a decade. So, before you worry about saving the planet from the wrath of generations before you, first try cleaning out your closet in your own room.
  8. Your school may give every member of the sports team a trophy and give you a second and a third chance at passing an exam, but this practice has nothing to do with life outside of school. You may glide through school not paying much attention to anything and this is fine for school, but once out of school, there is no gliding through life. You cannot glide through paying the rent or mortgage, your job, your marriage, or raising children. In the real world, there are few second chances at anything (for example: first impressions, job interviews, first dates, deadlines, etc.).
  9. Life is not school. You do not get summers off from life to go "find yourself." Do that on your own precious time off IF you get any time off. Better still to have found yourself while still in school.
  10. Television and movies are NOT real life. There is no Red Carpet, (and even if you do end up on a Red Carpet, no one will take your picture).* In real life, people have to leave the coffee shop and go back to work.
  11. Leaders always make others feel special. It ends up being a VERY small world. Be nice to everyone, and especially nerds. You may most likely end up working for one or married to one. Also, you can always tell where someone has been and where someone is going by how they treat the waiter, the taxi driver, their stock broker and their margin clerk, the clerk at the courthouse, the clerk at the retail store and the cashier at the fast food place. Just ask Martha Stewart. **

* While working for a designer in New York, I found myself exiting a limousine, and walking a red carpet in a Haute Couture designer dress, but it never occurred to me the carpet was a "Red Carpet" as my presence was work related. Years later, thinking about it, I remembered the carpet was indeed red, the photographers were waiting but no one took my picture.

** According to quite a few sources in New York, Martha Stewart was rude and mean to EVERYONE. So, when she allegedly broke the law, the powers at be and the underlings around her delighted themselves in making an example out of her. They told what she did, convicted her and sent her to jail.