So you just graduated. Now what?
If you just graduated high school, maybe you’re going to college, or maybe not. Maybe you want to work a couple of years and see what the world is like…maybe you have to work a couple of years because college is becoming something that’s simply not in today’s budget, and the thought of six figure unsecured debt at the age of 22 is not appealing to you. That’s understandable, and wise.
Just got out of college? Maybe you’re on the interview circuit, or… maybe your hard work, your specific marketable degree, and a little bit of self-manufactured luck, has landed you a job. Still, the question remains; now what?
It’s just two words, but a huge question and concept; Now what? I have empathy for you. How on God’s green Earth can you pick “What”, when anything is possible?
Fortunately for you, your parents are subscribers to a sort of semi-monthly blog page called, The Large Man Chronicles, and I write it. And I’m full of wisdom, experience, and lessons. AND…I’m generous with them.
Experience is the key word on my resume. I’m not the brightest dude in the world, and even though, technically, you could say I went to college for over 7 years, I’m not well educated in the formal sense. It was mostly just weekend visits, and a series of classes that were never completed. So yeah…let’s just focus on my experience.
Here’s my experience: I’ve been working, on and off since I was 16. I have had people beg me to work for them, and I have been fired. I have excelled at things, and I have sucked at things. I have broken laws, and defied “the system”, and I have been stripped of my freedoms. I have almost died. I have had several broken bones, even broke my face once. At some time or another, I’ve disappointed people who are close to me…and…I’ve had my heart broken by lovers and friends and family. I have also made those people beam with pride. I’ve helped people whom I’ve never met. I’ve missed cries for help that were right in front of me. I’ve traveled a little, and I’ve seen the very best and the very worst of people during the very best and the very worst of times. I’m 54 years old, and I have lived.
And, most importantly, I’m not your parent…so…
Based on these experiences, I have compiled a series of Life Rules, Things to Consider, and Truths, to help you navigate these tricky and treacherous waters as you launch your ship into “the real world”. These are listed in no particular order, just plucked from the lists where I think they might apply to you.
Truth # 1
There’s no such thing as the “real world”. The world is what you make it, and it constantly changes.
Truth # 1-1/2
NOTHING is fair. BUT, because nothing is fair…it’s ALL fair. There are rules that need following, and considerations to be made, but in the end, it’s ALL on you.
Thing to Consider # 23
You are entitled to nothing. Nobody owes you anything…actually, not even respect. You earn respect. Respect doesn’t come with a title, rank, or a degree; things like respect, courtesy, and kindness come to you as a result of your behaviors, actions, and reactions. Very simple thing to consider, you almost always get what you give.
Truth # 351
Pretty much all of life’s social mysteries can be answered in a Seinfeld episode, a Chris Rock stand-up routine, or the movies Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction.
Thing to Consider # 7
While the world and humanity in industrialized nations may be evolving, pierced eyebrows and oversized gauges still don’t play well in job interviews. Appearance isn’t everything, but unless you’re one of the best, (and if you’re reading this, well…) and your reputation precedes the interview, you need to look nice. If looking nice by someone else’s standards goes against your belief system, learn how to make it on your own, or learn how to say, “You want fries with that?”
Thing to Consider # 8
Pull your fucking pants up.
Truth # 3
Having money makes things easier. However, money will NOT make you happy, but poverty won’t either. If you are human, happiness comes from other places. This truth is critical to living a good life.
Life Lesson # 5 (With regard to, and to be applied to Truth # 3)
The biggest jerk I knew in high school became very wealthy. He was no longer a jerk after he became rich, he changed into an asshole. Based on my experience, the acquisition or accumulation of money seems to accentuate the core of the person. With money, one seems to become more of what they already are. The insecure person becomes paranoid, the jerk becomes an asshole, and the generous person becomes a “foundation named after them” kind of philanthropist. While there are always exceptions, this is almost always true.
Truth # 41
Now is the time to gamble on you. Your risks and your fallout are minimal. Most likely you’re not married, and you don’t have children. BUT…gamble on yourself with your own collateral – whatever that may be. Don’t leave your loved ones in a constant state of worry as a result of your gamble. Apply common sense where needed.
Addendum 1 for Truth #41:
While now truly is “the time”, it must also be noted that it is NEVER too late!
Thing to Consider # 2
Don’t be afraid to fuck up.
This is very different from being a “fuck up”. One who is a “fuck up” is a person who gets more than one DUI, or gets busted for weed time and again, or doesn’t show up for work because they had a bangin’ weekend at Dewey Beach, and just couldn’t make it back to town. Continued transgressions of the same ilk will make you appear to be a “fuck up”. A “fuck up” doesn’t pay their child support.
I’m saying, “fucking up” as in making a mistake; gambling on yourself, chasing a dream, reaching for the stars…and then crashing to the ground.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE…I’m passionate about this one. I know brilliant people with brilliant ideas who never raise their hand, never step up to the plate, and never go for it, for fear of failure. It is the saddest thing in the world to me. Every idea needs to evolve, almost every great thing started out sucking. Don’t be afraid to suck. Think about the finished product, not the first ingredient.
10 times over, I would rather work with a person who has a few mistakes on their resume than someone with a “perfect record”. A perfect record means one of two things to me:
2) No mistakes? No effort. You never really extended yourself.
I have no time for that. A good employer won’t either.
Life Lesson # 17
Take care of your teeth. Brush, floss, get a cleaning every 6 months; this is a LOT less expensive than corrective dental work.
Thing to Consider # 12
My generation, and the Monsanto Corporation, has created a shitty world of food for you and your generation. You need to straighten it out. Even though I personally had nothing to do with it, I’m really sorry.
Truth # 2
If you don’t find your passion, you won’t truly live. You can exist without passion; I think you can even be happy without it. I know many people who live very productive lives (by normal standards) who can’t tell you anything they’re passionate about. But…
…your symphony will be unfinished.
I know a dude who is a competitive rifleman, he shoots targets. That’s it…that’s what he does for fun. He also has a job, but it’s just a job. He has a special shooting outfit and everything. It’s the dumbest fucking thing I have ever heard of.
…it thrills this dude to points of exhilaration that I am constantly in awe of. It is his P A S S I O N! I don’t get it, but I don’t have to get it. When he reads this, he’s gonna say, “Dude, you just don’t get it…” He gets it – and that’s all that matters.
You need to do this too. (Not necessarily shooting, but something) We all need moments that stir our soul. A life without passion is just something to get through – Who needs that? Don’t just get through it! Feel it, dance with it, wiggle your toes in it, sing to it…let it sweat through your pores! If you can incorporate a passion with your vocation, you are truly living the dream.
Life Lesson # 11
Don’t be afraid to tell people you love them. You never know when it’s your last chance. Regret is mankind’s second worst emotion, so you need to avoid it whenever possible.
BUT…and this is a big “but”…If you tell someone you love them, treat them like you love them. Your words of love will comfort and coo them to sleep at night; but your acts of love are the blanket they will sleep under. If you fail with this, if your actions betray your words, eventually those words will mean nothing; and in time they won’t even be heard. This is always true.
Truth # 5
The truth is always the truth. You can run from it, but it’s faster than you are, and it will catch you. The sooner you learn not to fear the truth, to live in and with the truth, the happier your life will be.
Thing to Consider # 40
Arrogance is loud. Confidence is quiet.
Life Lesson # 6
Helping others makes you feel better. Sometimes your help will go unnoticed or unappreciated. Learn to let your charity be its own reward. You will sleep better, I promise.
Truth # 105
Participation trophies are bullshit.
Thing to Consider # 106
There is nothing wrong with a trophy wife.
Truth # 106
Trophy wives are the leading cause of expensive divorces.
Truth # 4
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS LUCK! You can get lucky, but you can’t count on it. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” This is as true as anything written on this page. Luck is the intersection of opportunity and preparedness…hard work is what gets you to that intersection.
Life Lesson # 66
Take advantage of any opportunity to learn; step outside your box and your comfort zone. If your major is engineering, take a creative writing class. If you’re an art history person, take a class in journalism, or animal husbandry…round yourself. It makes you more interesting…more human.
Grades are important, and in many cases, your GPA will get you an interview. But the human connection you make with the person you’ll be working for is what will get you the job. You will have a better chance of making a connection if you have a wider inventory of things you can talk about. This is almost always true.
Life Lesson # 1
In my second point on this page (Thing to Consider #23), I stated that you were “…entitled to nothing.” That’s only true in the material sense. In a kind of spiritual sense, and I think by virtue of the United States Constitution, or maybe the Monroe Doctrine…I’m not sure which one it is, but I know that some historically significant document states that our Creator says we are entitled to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Pursuit of Happiness…that’s nice. I like that. You are entitled to that, so go do it. Go forth and pursue some happiness, and NEVER stop.
* * *
That’s all I got for now. It took me 54 years to learn these things. You have them right now. You’re welcome.
Tell your mom & dad to let me know how you’re doing.
Be well, and I’m serious, fix that food thing…
The Large Man