All lessons of behavior should have been learned early because they all happened in high school – that harsh reality that divides childhood from the rest of life. Foremost among those lessons is: You will always get caught.
Cut gym class? You will get caught by the Principal looking out the window.
Cheat on an exam? You will copy from the wrong source.
Siphon some of Dad’s liquor out of the bottles and put in that soda bottle? He keeps track of the liquid levels in the bottle.
Sneak in after curfew? Mom will be at the front door.
Buy some hallucinogenic substance or paraphernalia? The police will have their crack down on that very day and you will be arrested.
Have a house party while Mom and Dad are out of town? The party will get out of hand and the police will be called or the house will burn down.
Create a fake id? The bouncer will call your Mom.
Plagiarize on that Catcher in the Rye paper? The teacher uses the same source for research.
Show up at the school dance a little tipsy? You will be randomly chosen for the breathalyzer.
Cheat on your boyfriend or girlfriend? You will bump into that one person who will tell the entire world.
This is a long list but the outcome is always the same. As each of my own children entered their teenage years I reminded them of the basic truth – You will always get caught. Each has eventually found out on their own every time they were caught. That lesson from high school is -If you do a bad thing, you will get caught so be prepared to pay the consequences or better yet, don’t do the bad thing. Most of us learn that the latter strategy is more comfortable in the long run.
All of these lessons apply also to the world of work and the cubicles in which we toil. Falsify the hours on your timesheet? You will get caught. Steal office supplies? You will get caught. Harass one of your fellow workers? You will be caught. Cheat on your expense report? You will get caught. Tell a racist or sexist joke that you think no one can hear? You will get caught. Getting caught in the workforce is the equivalent of getting fired. In fact, it is not the equivalent, you will get fired. So don’t do it. You will get caught.
As I think about it, there are some other lessons that we learn from the world of teenagers and high school… Always let someone know where you are – someone is always looking for you.Leaving a message doesn’t equal permission – calling to say the project is not working doesn’t make it right.Be home when you say you will – always trueKnow what is absolutely non-negotiable, like hookers and give me the car keys.If you’re in big trouble don’t negotiate – just take the punishment.
Okay, all you high school students and newbies to the work force, I hope you listened. Eliot, I should have written this a while ago for you. Sorry.