Just ask me--I'll tell you even if you don't!Let me stop you right there, kids--I know what you're thinking. This is the worst time ever to be an adult, right? Ah, youth. You may be shocked to know that, back in the '70s, I thought the very same thing. We had our own little recession, you see, and were sure the world was coming to an end when the price of gasoline skyrocketed to nearly 70 cents a gallon. But thanks to smart planning, we "Boomers" are now gently settling into retirement, where we can spend the rest of our remaining years imparting the various lessons we've learned from our shockingly similar life experiences. Like the following:
One of the biggest problems with entering the adult world? Deciding just who you'll allow to hire you. No doubt, after graduating from college, your phone is ringing off the hook with job offers. While it may seem tempting to accept the first or even second request, always remember: The ball's in your court this time. Play hardball. If they really need you, they'll come crawling back. After all, there's nothing an employer appreciates more than an independent spirit, and someone fully aware of their self-worth. A weak-willed worker willing to do anything to keep their job won't last long at any company.
It's completely okay if you're not sure what to do right after college. Back in my day, we had a solution for this brand of indecisiveness: flipping burgers. In fact, I owe that summer gig down at the local burger stand for helping me figure out my life--and put a down payment on that first house! Those three months of food service gave me a real work ethic, not to mention a bit of pocket money. Just staying on a few more months, for example, helped me fund a 9-month backpacking tour of Europe, which really helped kick off my 35-year career in the world of advanced spreadsheet management. Try it for yourself--just don't let all of that extra money go to your head!
Of course, we all know the best part of college is how much money you save just by going. While I can't even estimate what I currently spend on wholesale shipments of steaks every month, back at my old alma mater, I'd scarf down a few hot dogs at the quad every day and would be good to go. And I certainly paid a whole lot less, renting a room the size of the many rooms in my house I now fill with things I no longer need, but don't have the heart to get rid of just yet. While it may be tempting to spend that nest egg on designer phone cases or fancy jeans, consider dropping at least 10,000 into an IRA or something with a similarly impressive interest rate. Granted, you may have to suffer through your twenties without a proper rumpus room, but sometimes, you have to make sacrifices. Not often, though.
"But wait," you might be heard to say. "I just started working!" Yes, while it's true we're all granted a good thirty years at the end of our lives to coast on our investment in social security, you don't want to suffer the same fate as some of the oldsters I've seen: Rotting away in their homes, only to emerge to take upwards of five vacations a year within the continental United States. Yeah, you won't see me going out like that. I started planning my own retirement at 19, and instead of farting around America, every year, you can find me on safari, hunting some of Africa's most endangered and least protected animals. You definitely want to go out knowing you made some impact on the world.
I gotta say, teaching you kids to value and respect one another really backfired on us. In our defense, at the time it seemed like a good idea--back in our day, we would push the weaker ones in a ditch and let the birds sort things out. I get that you're sore over us getting a "better" deal, but I resisted the urge to stray from my stable job of three-plus decades, and look at me now. With the way you kids spend nine months here, three months there, it's no wonder you can't get ahead in life! Try sticking with your first good job for at least 15 years, and if you're unhappy, just go out and get a better one. Oh yeah, and if any of us should need to be put in a care facility, can you make sure it's a good one? I mean, it'd be pretty easy to take our money, or put weird stuff in our food, but of course you wouldn't do that. Now please start working harder for once.
The Remains of Bidet (James Ivory, 1993)
We might find we have more in common than we think if we just stop fighting long enough to combine our bodies into a singular organism.
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