The Graduating Class of 2005: Lend Me Your Ears

Hark! The bitter old graduate sings! Well, she actually gripes, but hey, it was her years of erudition that taught her how. For those of you college students graduating this year, let me give you a word of advice – go back to school.

“Go back to school,” you say. “Are you crazy? Have you lost your marbles? We have made it to the end. We have pulled all-nighters. We have taken Mid-terms drunk and stoned. We have survived on Raman Noodles and Red Bull. We have persevered. We are ready for the real world. For our Volkswagen Jettas and our Allen Edmonds and our 401ks.”

I know. I know. I thought those things too. And then I got out into the real world and I realized that I wasn’t at all prepared for it. Why? Because there was no course in college that taught you what the “working-world” was like. So here’s my crash course.

1) Your degree (unless your are a CPA or an MD) means squat. No one cares that you know about “organizational learning” as it relates to General Motors or the mating pattern of Swallows. What matters is your ability to kiss ass. Again, you may have thought that game was over in high school, but let me tell you, obsequiousness is good for your career.

2) No one cares what you think. Period. Ironic, right? For the last four years you were taught to think on your feet, to express yourself, to grow intellectually. You were given rewards for your opinion. In the real world, no one cares, especially your boss. And sometimes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Espeically when your boss doesn’t have any.

3) Don’t expect more than minimum wage. It s a trend among college graduates to believe that they deserve to be more than someone’s assistant or an intern. Not true.

4) More than likely you will hate your first job. You will feel unchallenged and underpaid and more than likely you will be both. But it gets better. What they don’t tell you in college is that your 20s are the grunt work years. You’re a freshman all over again, only the school is the real world.

By your 30s, you gain access to Varsity sports and afternoon naps, and by your 40s, if your brownnosing pays off, you should have a nice little career where afternoon naps might again be acceptable as well as coming in hungover.

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