More Signs of the Apocalypse
No time is better for giving out advice than the annual commencement season. In my experience in dealing with new college grads, I have found that no one listens to any advice but it doesn’t stop anyone from dishing it out. Many had their own opinions about Oprah’s address to the Stanford class of 2008. Everyone offers a lot of advice on how to deal with the environment, world peace and elimination of genocide. My advice is much less ambitious. It is more applied and easier to implement than curing our addiction to foreign oil. As a 22 year-old graduate, I was clueless but hopeful. I find most college grads today are still clueless but hopeful. That can be a very good combination as long as the hopeful component sticks and nothing can kill “hopeful” more than problems that seem too big for a young person to fix. So here is my advice to the Class of ’08. Just three bullets, easy to read, sort of easy to implement and delivered with the hope of an easy transition into the real world.
Don’t Live with your Parents
A new study just revealed that six of ten graduates in the Class of ’08 went home after commencement. As in, after four years of independence, all night parties, and unmentionable intimacies, college grads are moving home to be with Mom, Dad and the little brothers and sisters. Yikes! Tune in to the old “Seinfeld” episodes when George moves home. Don’t do it. You won’t like it and your parents won’t like it and it will lead to questions like, “What are you going to do now? And “Where are you going? And, “What time will you be home?” You will easily get addled into hanging around with high school buddies, visiting your old coaches and watching “Lost” reruns. Move on, or at least have a plan as to when you will move out again.
Pay Attention – People Notice
Just like how your classmates noticed when you showed up wearing green pants with a pink belt with blue alligators on it; or how they noticed when you showed up with blue hair and combat boots; people “out there” will notice the small things about you too. Table manners, wardrobe, who you hang out with, your Facebook page and all those things your parents told you that matter will continue to define you. “It is what it is”, as they say and people will always notice and define you by the little things. If you think people don’t notice, tune in to any segment of “The Office”. Who Pam is dating, who leaves early, a stain on the tie, what people talk about, who is new, who has a weird trench coat, comments in poor taste…people notice.There are a million blogs, web sites, guides and “Dummies” books about how to do anything that won’t get you into trouble. Do research and pay attention to what matters. People notice.
Get A Job
I know it’s a tough economy but there are jobs. There are always jobs. Get off the computer and get a job. Or, get on the computer and get a job. I like www.indeed.com. All the job hunting websites can work but you probably still need to get off your butt and go meet people. Think of it like fishing, the more bait you have in the water, the more likely to catch some fish. A job gets you out in traffic and will give you the chance to learn a few things like how to fill out a W-2 form and the cost of health benefits and that you have to show up. Your first job may not be perfect but it will give you some momentum and may lead to the one you really want. The first job will get you out of the house too. (See bullet number one.)
No doubt, there is a lot of other advice that is being delivered. What you hear, if anything, may be something different. If you are stuck, pay attention to these three bullets and they can get you started. Trust me on this one.