I’ve attended 3 graduation parties for various high school and college kids in my family.   In doing so, I get to listen to their voices.  And I want to support their dreams.  Yet, sometimes I bite my tongue.   So, it’s no surprise that as an owner of a small business, this piece strongly resonated with me. It rings with such truth and brings a few smiles.

These rules were put forth by Charles Sykes in his book “Dumbing Down America.”  They have been falsely attributed to Bill Gates in chain emails passed through the Internet.  Most often they appear with 11 rules, leaving off three that the original author had written.  Here is the full list:

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem.  The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school.  You won’t be a vice-president with an expense account until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.  Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping – they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 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 you talk about how cool you are.  So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your room.

Rule 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.

Rule 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.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life.  In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shot to go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you’ll end up working for one!

Rule 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you’re out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That’s what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for “expressing yourself” with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven’t seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You’re welcome.

Got that off my chest.  Now back to work. : )

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