Graduation time is here. In fact, the very first class of students I ever taught are graduating college this year. When I was their age, I was teaching them the important facts of fifth grade. The other day I got a sentimental post on Facebook from one of those students letting me know what a great year fifth grade was for him. He never brought up how he remembered the books we read or how great I was at teaching decimals. Instead, he remembered how I called his mom once, and that I was friendly to the kids and some of the activities we did that had nothing to do with education. (Which I’m pretty sure was my teaching method that year.) And so, this student inspired me to give some worldly advice, to those graduates out there, about to ‘change the world’ as I set to at 22.
First of all, if you saved your college text books, you are an idiot. You will never ever use them in the real world. Every company, school or small business has their own way of doing things. Even if your professors and mentors taught you the most up to date, efficient way to do something, you new employers and co workers don’t want to know about it.
In return, if someone gives you a suggestion that you don’t like, don’t reject it. Say thank you, then simply don’t use it. Don’t tell them you are not using it. And make sure to thank them for the advice again. Even better, ask a question about the advice they gave you that you aren’t using.
Rule number two. When no one likes any of your ideas, don’t let them know you are using them. It is just not a good way to make allies; which you will need at your job. Work is like high school, except the pretty girls aren’t necessarily the ones who control how things run. Find out who rules the roost and become friends with that person. Also, join all the ‘old people’ clubs and events your office has at least for the first year or two. (I once worked at a place where they did a kitchen towel exchange.)
On the same note, stay away from the ‘creepy office swinger’. Even if you don’t mess around, you will get a bad rep from associating with them. You will be classified as a home wrecker. There are a few in every building.
When you are filling out your W4 claim “Zero”. I know, when you read the words, it looks like you should claim one, but just claim Zero, you will get a bigger return back in April. And besides, you probably will be so excited with the paycheck that you will over spend anyway. You will thank me at tax time.
When you go to happy hour only have one drink. Do not get drunk. Or buzzed. Or any kind of intoxicated where you might say or do something offensive. This is not college. Adults are supposed to drink responsibly.
Don’t talk about your sorority or fraternity. You will look stupid. No one cares about that after you graduate. No one.
Follow the rules at work, but don’t turn in to a cookie cutter worker. Have your own ideas, and don’t be afraid to ‘do the right thing.’
Don’t put your lunch in the fridge. At every office, there is a person who eats other people’s food. Just put an ice pack in your container and set it at your desk. Also, don’t eat or drink anything from the fridge…it belongs to someone.
Don’t “Friend” office people on Facebook. Seriously. You never know who has “loose lips” and could rat out one of your crazy pics or silly status posts. And never write about work. Duh.
Remember not to take life too seriously. Work is never more important than your family, or your happiness. Good luck and have fun.
*Disclaimer I did not follow any of these rules at my first job, or second, or third. (Except claiming Zero, and the Facebook thing because it didn’t exist.) In hindsight, I should listen to myself more often. I guess that’s what Five Second Rules is all about.