Life Lessons You Won’t Learn In High School Or College- How The Real World Will Sneak Up On You
As we quickly approach graduation season, many parents and students will begin to reflect on their life. If you’re about to graduate High School, congrats. If you’re about to graduate college, congrats. Now the next step will begin. Questions will begin to emerge such as… whether you should continue your education, whether you should begin working, or whether or not you made the right decisions. What are some life lessons that teachers didn’t teach you along the way? What life lessons did parents fail to tell their kids? I’d like to share a few I’ve learned along the way.
In The Real World You Can’t Be Late
Sure, in high school you could stroll into class late and get a little slap on the wrist. What was the worse that happened? You’d end up getting sent to I.S.S. or get a simple detention. After those 45 minutes went by, you went on your way. Chances are you continued to be late and it really didn’t matter.
In the real world try being late to your job and see what happens. Walk into a meeting that begun 15 minutes before you entered and watch a swarm on managers and co-workers begin judging you. If you’re late to often, your boss won’t make you stay after class or stay after work to make it up. They will just fire you. Once you get fired, this goes on your true permanent record, your resume. Every single job going forward will notice you stopped working there and will begin asking questions. You’ll have to speak up, or face the fact this employer will call your last boss and ask why you don’t work there.
Give yourself at least one mulligan if you’re late. Most jobs won’t fire you for one time. If you make it a habit, forget about it. As a manager, I like my staff to be here on time. I live my work day through an outlook calendar. If you’re late, my corporate call doesn’t go on hold for you.
Pay Your Bills On Time
Maybe you forgot to pay your phone bill…. maybe you let a car payment slip by…. maybe you maxed out a credit card. When you’re young, Mommy and Daddy have your back. In the real world, they can’t always save you. Forget to pay a few National Grid payments? Watch them shut you off in a heart beat. Didn’t pay rent this month? Watch them lock your apartment and kick you out. Missed a credit card payment? Watch your credit score tank. Don’t waste your money on stupid stuff, pay your bills first…. then waste your money on stupid stuff. Speaking of money……
Budget Your Finances Properly
This had to be the hardest life lesson I’ve ever learned, and still to this day I struggle. It’s hard to juggle your wants and needs. You may want a new iPhone…. buy you need to pay your Electric. You may want to eat takeout every night…. but you need groceries. Be smart and add up every cent in your checking account. Learn that some gas stations don’t take out gas right away… Don’t let the thrill of an extra 40 bucks set you off the path.
Some tips I’ve learned: Write out exactly everything you have to pay for. Each pay period, my girlfriend and I sit down and write out how much everything will cost us. At that point, we know how much money we can put into savings, and how much we have to spend on some fun things. If you just swipe the card, you’ll lose track very fast… and go into debt even faster.
Be Careful Of Credit Cards
Credit cards will suck you in. It will happen. Take it from me. As an adult, you need credit to buy a car and house. Eventually you’ll need to apply for a credit card. Once you get it, you tell yourself you’re only gonna use it for gas and pay the bill at the end of the month. Guess what, you’ll probably fall into a credit trap. Why? You’ll be shopping and see something you really want… SWIPE….. Then you move out and need some appliances… SWIPE…. Next thing you know, you’re paying back a lot of cash.
Be careful with credit cards. Truly only use it for gas. Once you get one, leave it at home. Never carry it with you to stores. You’ll get sucked into the darkside of spending.
Fact: That’s a real song.
Don’t Be A Drunk Mess
Yes at some point you will be tempted with alcohol. Yes you will get drunk…. but don’t get wasted. Don’t become the fool who throws up at the party. Don’t be the drunk everybody hates. Don’t become the guy or girl who makes out with every one. Don’t become the one that everyone has to drive home. Don’t become the person that drinks and drives.
You can drink and have a good time, but be careful. Don’t post pictures of you drunk online. These will haunt you for life. No Facebook photo is worth the pain of losing a job because of it. Employers look up everyone online. They will find your stupid photos no matter how hard you hide them. Have fun, but be safe. Don’t over drink.
Always Stand Up For What You Believe In
Yes this has been told to you your entire life. Guess what though….. It’s true. You should always stand up for what you believe in. When you know something is wrong, do something about it. Sometimes this will get your fired, sometimes people will hate you, but guess what…. you did the right thing. Stand up for yourself, and stand up for others. Be willing to do the right thing, even if it costs you. It costed me once…
One of my first “Big People” jobs ended with me getting fired. I had my belongings tossed at me, and escorted out of the building. But guess what, I stood up for what I believed in. Yes I lost my job, yes I worked a crappy retail job for a year after it… but at the end of the day, I was right. It led to my next step, and I’ve gone farther in my career by getting fired then I would have if I stayed. Sometimes you have to be willing to lose it all, lose it all, and win something bigger back.
Once I got fired, I got a job at another media company across town. I’ve climbed the management latter here, and it’s paid off. Not only career wise, but relationships wise. I met my girl friend while working this job, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. I would have never crossed paths with her if I never got fired. I’ve met people that have helped me move on to different levels in my career….. only because I got fired.
Stand up for what you believe in, and be willing to gamble it all. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. When you lose, you need to be able to start over and rebuild. Once that happens, you move on to greatness. That’s how life is…. Hardwork never goes unnoticed.
Don’t Lose Sight Of What’s Important
As we grow up, we get so focused on our career. Sometimes we let important things slip by as we work our lives away. Don’t lose friendships, don’t ruin relationships, don’t ruin your life. Remember who is important and keep them close. Once they are gone, chances are they will be gone for good.
Friends I talked to on a daily basis Senior year of high school are a thing of the past. Some friends I’ve completely lost touch with, and I truly miss. However, you are in control of your destiny. Make sure you keep your family close, relationships close, and friends close. Don’t lose anyone in the shuffle…. but you will.