By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
11 Rules for Life
Placeholder Image
I recently wrote about my May trip to America's heartland. But an unfinished piece of business is relating the contents of a poster I found posted on the wall of a Jimmy John's sandwich shop.

The poster, entitled, "Food for Thought" is most appropriate today given the hard economic times we're in. I took a photo of it to save the sage words of wisdom to a pampered and coddled generation. I didn't want to retype it all so I googled it and discovered that the contents are on line and have been falsely attributed to Bill Gates. It's actually an excerpt from the book "Dumbing Down our Kids" by educator Charles Sykes. It is a list of 11 things you did not learn in school and directed at high school and college grads.

After having attended at least two graduations recently and hearing the "the world is safe now because we've arrived" speeches, I'd like to reprint this for a dose of reality.

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 $40,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with car phone, until you earn both.

RULE 4 - If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

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 are. 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.

I might add that the small sandwich shop where I read the sign in was in the same block as the Herndon-Lincoln law offices - the same block where Abraham Lincoln conducted business of legal matters in Springfield, Ill. If anyone, Lincoln was a man who knew the value of hard work and forging ahead despite terrific odds against him. His life was one that inspires us today.

How do you feel? Let Jeff know at