*Editor’s Note: It’s college graduation season and that means there’s a fresh new crop of post-grads ready to enter the real world. As such, I turned to our latest guest columnist to give the young pups some advice. We’ll affectionally call him Old Guy because well, this dude is old as fuck. I’m not gonna blow up his spot and put a number to it, but let’s just say he’s already moved in with his girlfriend and has a wedding to go to every single weekend this summer. So at least 28.
One more thing, before you read any further, subscribe to the blog. This will send you an email when there’s a new post. It’s that little follow button on the bottom right hand corner of the home page. There’s a picture below if you’re stupid. Self promotion over – let’s get into it.
New Post for New Post Grads – How to Survive the Real World
Hello. Nice to meet you, I’m The Old Guy.
You might be asking why this guest blog came before Part 2 of the Fast Food Secret Menu Guide. Well, The Content King came to me and requested that I impart some wisdom on America’s youth, with it being graduation season and all. Are you going to question the King’s content decisions? I didn’t think so.
I’m not here to be funny or cute (although I am a solid 7), I’m here to give you some advice on surviving the real world. I did college really, really well but there hasn’t been a better time in my life than the past [number close to but less than 10] years since I left college. Here are a few of my pointers on how I got by. Feel free to follow them, or don’t, I really don’t care what you do. And nobody else cares what you do. That’s one of the best parts of being an adult!
Disclaimer: I’m not here to give you guidance on things like interviewing for jobs, structuring a mortgage, or how to start a family. If you’re reading this for 401k advice, you should 401killyourself. Sorry, that was ugly of me. Trying to delete.
Welcome to the Work, Retire, and Die phases of your life. Let’s get to it.
- Focus On What You Value
I put this at number one on my list because it is by far the most important to me. The rest of the list will not be in order of importance, only this one.
Hey college grads:
Yep, that’s the real world coming in hot for ya. The first thing you’ll realize is that you have absolutely NOTHING planned for you. There are no classes to schedule, no papers to write, no Dining Hall to go to, and no rules. It’s scary out there but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Rather than being told what to do, you get to prioritize things on your own. Some people value work, some people value money, some value family, some value travel, some religion, you get the point. Decide what’s important to you. For me, I have always put friends and family first. This helps me guide a lot of the decisions I make in my life, as valuing friends and family has allowed me to build a moral compass that is largely guided on how it will impact those people I surround myself with.
Some people may value something different and that’s okay. Some of my closest friends value work above all. They’ll prioritize conference calls and meetings over planned dinners or events. A lot of people might look at that and question how they could do such a thing… It’s a waste of time to worry about that. That’s their priority. You’re an adult now and not everyone has the same goal of getting around a 3.5 GPA while still having fun. Everyone is focused on reaching different milestones.
So, find your focus and make sure you live every single day valuing that focus.
- Live Beyond Your Means
Most advice you’re going to read on the internet and receive from older people is to start saving ASAP. That’s boring as hell. You know what’s not boring as hell? Spending all the money you’re making for the first couple of years you’re out of college. Now, don’t take this the wrong way. You should definitely not rack up thousands of dollars of credit card debt. Thank God I’m smart enough to say that, so now you can’t sue me for giving you bad advice. You don’t have any real responsibility or major expenses besides rent, so enjoy it while you can.
What I mean by living beyond your means is that it’s perfectly normal to be hesitant to go out to that dinner, chip in for bottle service at that club, or head down the shore for the weekend. My advice is: eat that dinner, pop those bottles, and pack your bags. It may not have been in the monthly budget but everyone besides our finance friends (who can’t come down the shore anyway because they have to work) is in the same boat. The memories you’ll have from those trips, dinners, and nights are what tighten bonds. While it may put a bruise on your checking account for the time being, we here at WRD are confident you’ll figure it out eventually.
When you’re my age, you’ll appreciate the memories more than having a couple hundred extra bucks in your savings account.
- Be Honest
This is corny. This is tumblr levels of corny. Being honest seems simple at face value but it’s a real pain in the ass to actually be honest. Every 22 year old is reading this right now saying, “I tell the truth all the time!”
- No you don’t, be honest with yourself.
- Honesty isn’t just telling the truth.
Honesty comes in many shapes and sizes. The simplest form of honesty is telling the truth. In social and corporate circles alike, nobody can stand a liar. If you’re running late, just text your friend “Hey, gonna be 5 minutes late.” It’s not hard and makes your friend’s life a lot easier. On the same note, if you’re not interested in doing something, DON’T DO IT. Say to your friend, “Nah, I’m not into that.” And they’ll find someone else to go with.
Everyone understands telling the truth but there’s also being honest with yourself, which is extremely important in the real world. Nothing is going to be handed to you now so don’t set yourself up for failure. If something is too much to take on, tell your boss. They’d rather add a second resource than miss a deadline. If you’re getting fat, eat a salad and go for a jog. It’s easier to maintain fitness than to get back into shape and the younger you are, the easier it is to be fit. If you’re not going to get something that you want, don’t look at the small positives and think everything will turn out your way. Remember, Plan B isn’t just an OTC drug sold at Duane Reade.
- Fuck Things Up
Despite the fact you think you’re a big boy/girl/other with a big boy/girl/other job, you’re not. Remember how you looked at seniors when you were a freshman and thought, “Wow they’re so old!”? Wait til you’re 5 years out of college and look at seniors. You are all children and children are stupid and children destroy shit. Look at the WRD interns* right now:
But guess what? We love them and understand that they’re going to mess things up. Football guys refer to these as teachable moments. Unless you do something beyond comprehension, you’ll learn from what you did and be able to improve upon it next time. You’re going to accidentally mess up some really important things. One time I charged a client’s personal credit card $5,000 ($4,950 if we’re being exact) without even letting them know I’d be doing so. Did they call and flip out? Yes. Did they still give my company the money? Yes. Did I get fired? Not for that. There was a lesson there to be had and I appreciated that.
In your social life, you’re going to do even dumber things than you do at work. It’ll suck at the time but you’ll get through it. And for my grand finale I’ll wrap all of these rules together: when you fuck up a friendship or relationship, be honest with yourself about what you want out of it, be honest with the person you’re dealing with, remember what you value and how this situations impacts that, and then go out to dinner in Little Italy and order as many bottles of red wine that fit on your table.
Well, folks, thanks for having me here at Work, Retire, Die. You may have read all of the advice above and realized it’s terrible advice OR you might follow it and turn out just like me. Either way, enjoy yourself out there.
I love you.
*No child labor was exploited for the making of this blog.
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