Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Jim Eshleman

‘Life isn’t fair’ and other rules to live by

Simply Biased
I ran across this book the other day and, after reading it, I thought some statements in it needed to be shared. While it has been attributed to Microsoft’s CEO Bill Gates, it’s from the 1996 book by Charles J. Sykes, Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, Or Add.
Having been in positions of management since the late 1980s, it’s amazing what I’ve witnessed over the years and I swear these young people are getting worse.
Here are just a few examples of what I experienced.
I had one young man tell me that his mother said, “You have to give him a break twice a day because state law requires it.”
I informed him that his mother had no clue what she was talking about – and then I told him to tell her this as I fired him right on the spot.
Another one that just left my head shaking was when a young employee told me having her mop the photo lab floor was beneath her.
Well, I gave her another option: either mop the lab floor and both the bathroom floors, or don’t let the door hit you on the butt on your way out.
Here is what she didn’t realize until that comment: I was going to mop the bathroom floors. Just because I was the boss doesn’t mean there weren’t times when I mopped floors, took out trash, shoveled snow or did whatever it took to get the job done.
What needs to be remembered is no one starts out at the top.
When I was a dishwasher at the old Purple Cow restaurant in Hardin, back in the 1970s, I was at the bottom of the minimum wage food chain. So I was the one mopping floors, taking out trash and doing all the grunt work at the end of the shift. 
I’ve had jobs I hated, but I just did it. 
It’s called paying your dues and your bills.
Here are the rules outlined in the book:
Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teenager uses the phrase “It’s not fair” 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.
Rule No. 2: The real world won’t care about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it’s not fair (see Rule No. 1).
Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won’t make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap label. 
Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait ’til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you feel about it.
Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren’t embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.
Rule No. 6: It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of “It’s my life,” and “You’re not the boss of me,” and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it’s on your dime. Don’t whine about it or you’ll sound like a Baby Boomer.
Rule No. 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom. 
Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn’t. In some schools, they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone’s feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life (see Rules No. 1, 2 and 4).
Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters and you don’t get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don’t get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we’re at it, very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization (see Rules No. 1 and 2).
Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.
Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.
It’s something to think about.