Advice to young people: very real urban legends

More than ten years ago the following 11 “rules” were circulating widely on the internet, attributed to Bill Gates.  Since then, it was found out that Bill Gates never said or wrote them and that the various versions – that he’d said them in a speech, or in an article – were urban legends.

They were intended, apparently, to address “how feel-good, politically correct teaching has created a full generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.”

Sadly, I can see little change in the attitudes of young people graduating from high schools and colleges today, over a decade later. So many thanks to whoever did write or say these rules, as I share them with you now. And apart from a few points that are out of date, like car phones, old-fashioned broadcast TV and “Friends” (Rule 10) … why has so little moved on since then?

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 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president with a car phone, until you earn both.

RULE 4
If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure.

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 your 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 own 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 shop and go to jobs.

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

More help – for young business writers:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

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