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Family or Marriage Finances & Money General

Rules You Won’t Learn in High School

My friend Jessica sent me this email last month and I’ve been holding onto it to post it. I’m sure at least a few of you have gotten it as well, but the lessons are very applicable:

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 $60,000 a year right out of high school and probably not college. You won’t be a vice-president with a Blackberry until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

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 thought you were. 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.

About the author

Clever Dude

10 Comments

  • @Camille As well intended it was for you to attribute “the List” to Mr. Gates, he did not write this. According to Snopes.com

    “This list is the work of Charles J. Sykes, author of the book Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, Or Add.”

    http://www.snopes.com/language/document/liferule.asp

    I will agree in hoping that teens “get” it, but I also hope that the lesson doesn’t end there.

  • Yeah…this stuff sounds like common sense, but it’s not. People just expect things to be given to them. Here’s another one.

    If you want something…you’ll have to work hard to get it.

  • This list is stupid.

    Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school and probably not college. You won’t be a vice-president with a Blackberry until you earn both.

    I started making 55k after highschool. I know a skill and know how to market myself.

    Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

    My Boss is nothing like my teachers were. He is crass and curses alot, and if you do not perform you will probably be without a job but he is fair and not out to make your life miserable, unlike the decrepit teachers of Miami Beach Senior High.

    Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity

    Yes it is. My grandparents lived in a different time. There was no internet, less opportunity, a World War. If you think the best job you can get out of highschool or during highschool is flipping burgers….i mean come on.

    Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

    Really? Tell that to my friend Jeff who is a freelancer. He makes around 80k and works for himself, usually out of coffee shops.

    This list was written by someone who has no knowledge of the current generation and the opportunities of the present day.

    This list is major fail.

  • @KRod

    1) You didn’t make 60k…you made 55k and YOU failed.
    2) My teachers were nice people with strict rules. My bosses were nice people who made rules up as they went, but had too much pride to accept they didn’t know what they were doing.
    3) Tell me 2-3 jobs that a high school student can get in the evenings after class that you can find in any semi-rural America. The point here is getting through to those kids who would rather sit home, watch TV and mooch off their parents rather than get a job, any job.
    4) Yeah, I know 5 bloggers who can do their work from a coffee shop, but that’s 5 people who worked hard to get to that point, didn’t do it right out of college (or are living with their parents if they did), and work 100x harder than those fools did on Friends.

    This list is still applicable to people of ANY generation. Just because some of us have figured out how to make money on the internet doesn’t mean just anyone can do it. The failure rate on blogs alone is incredible. For my site to be in its 3rd year is a rarity. There’s millions and millions of blogs out there, but only a tiny percentage actually stick around past 3 months.

    So, just because your friend of a friend of a friend knows a guy who made a million in a year off the web when he was 16 doesn’t mean the other 30 million+ high schoolers/college kids can or will do the same. The point of this is that you have to work. It won’t just appear at your doorstep.

  • Yeah I’ve seen this list before – its a great list and its a nice reminder to see it again. Life simply isn’t fair and you should simply learn to live with it. There will be ups and there will be downs and your life will be what you make of it. Thanks for posting it.

  • Unlike KRod, I like this list. I wrote something like this to my elder girls just after they graduated. Your list seems a lot more comprehensive. I am forwarding it to them to refresh their memories. (I know they will not just “get it”. It will take a little time.)

    Thanks

  • I especially like the point that life isn’t fair. My parents always taught me that. We just have to work hard and do our best, and worry about how we react to certain circumstances, because sometimes people don’t get what they deserve.

  • Thanks, for posting this list. By the way, this list was not authored by Bill Gates but by Charles J. Sykes, as listed by another commenter.

    I appreciate the response to KRod; as a teacher it is nearly impossible to convince a student that, unlike a few individuals in America who are extremely talented or “got a break”, working hard will have its rewards. They constantly believe that they will be the next 50 Cents, Kobe Bryants, Oprahs, Jonas Brothers, and the like, however, many do not turn in homework, are failing multiple classes, and despise hard work. KRod is not telling the “whole” truth but is attempting to punch holes in a list that is more relevant than any knowledge I could ever bestow upon a student. His friend who works at the coffee shop is INDEPENDENT. Today’s student is akin to a newborn – breastfeeding is preferred than hunting and gathering for your own knowledge. Any village idiot could interpret that rule as those who lounge around coffee shops, pool halls, bars, and clubs and rarely do any work. It is obvious that he must have been a troublemaker, or the like in his classes. As a student, who has been extremely bad and, conversely, very good, I appreciate the crass, aggravating, and sometimes, relentless efforts of many of my teachers who put in 12 hours a day so that I would succeed. I quit my corporate job to teach; yes, I could be making more money, but I ENJOY my job. Kudos to any individual who puts kids first (which means being honest and not “dumbing them down”) and themselves last.

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