Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tough Love

An open letter to graduating seniors from The Real World:
As you will be joining me shortly, I wanted to give you a little friendly advice because things are very different here.
Hang on to your laptops, cameras, cellphones, PDAs, sunglasses, books, pens, jewelry and everything else you value.  If you lose them when you get here, you are unlikely to have them returned.  Forget the nice emails where you ask for them back.  By the time you send those, your belongings will already have been sold to the highest bidder.
Plan to park legally.  I really don’t care what your excuse is.  If you are parked where you aren’t supposed to be, I will ticket you.  And you will be paying the ticket.  Don’t think I care if you are driving someone else’s car or using someone else’s sticker.  I will simply bill them.  And they will need to pay.  And I won’t give up until I get the money.
Late is late.  If you need to meet a deadline, plan on having the door shut in your face if you don’t.  Again, save your excuses, I really don’t care.  There are plenty of people ahead of you in line who cared enough to meet the deadline and those are the ones that are going to get the good stuff. Whatever it happens to be.  Don’t bring a note from home because I don’t care about that either.
Don’t expect me to pick up after you.  If you don’t bring your dishes back to the dining hall, there will be no more and you will do without.  If you don’t pick up your trash, expect to sit in it.  If you don’t do your laundry, you will be wearing dirty clothes.  If you damage your surroundings, you will pay to get them fixed.
Rules are rules.  If you break them, we are not going to sit around and talk about how it makes you feel.  I will fine you, arrest you or penalize you depending on where I happen to sit on the day you cross the line.  And the rules do apply to you.  You are not special.  I don’t care if you overslept, you just need an extra day or your dog ate it.  Chances are you are not going to talk your way out of it.
Things are not going to be decided by committee.  They will be decided by people older and wiser who have more experience than you.  You will need to live by those decisions.  Deal with it.
Unless you are independently wealthy (and maybe even then), you are going to start at the bottom and pay a whole lotta dues.  You aren’t going to play the lead.  I don’t really care how special you were in school.  Things tend to start over here.
Respect everyone around you.  YOU are the newcomer and it will be your job to adjust, not everyone else’s.  You are a speck as far as I’m concerned and while it is important to have an opinion, remember that it is your opinion, not the opinion.  You aren’t right about everything.  You may not even be right about anything.  Trust me on this one.
So plan on growing up over the summer and thinking long and hard about how you will behave when you cross into my territory.  I am going to play hardball.  If you respect me and how I do business, you and I will get along just fine.  However, if you think I owe you something, you are in for a world of hurt.  Decide fast because as I said, I really don’t care what your excuse is.