14 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School

I was recently cleaning out the stack of books in my office closet and came across something Charles J. Sykes wrote called "Dumbing Down Our Kids" I thought that this is a decent book and I particularly liked his list of "14 life rules" that I think all students should read.

In my years being involved in campus recruiting I've definitely come across people who need to learn at least one of these rules and a handful who checked nearly all of them so I thought it be relevant to this forum (I've been guilty of a few on here myself). If nothing else it might give current students/young prospective monkeys a preview of the cast iron frying pan life will swing at their head (it almost never misses). #12 is sort of a wild card but I left it in anyway.

Have a read, monkeys, and let me know what you think. Any of these hit home for you? Or maybe you know of situations where you have seen someone violate one of these rules?

EDIT: These "rules" are definitely old and some of the references are outdated but I wanted to keep the integrity of the list intact from original publication while still keeping the spirit of the message which is timeless.

Here they are:

Rule No. 1:

Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager 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 as much 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 $60,000 a year right out of 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 Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 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 Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 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.

Rule No. 12:

Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13:

You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule No. 14:

Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You're welcome.


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Comments (14)

Apr 25, 2017 - 2:55pm

he wrote the first book in '96 i think and then updated the editions; I think the one I had is from mid 2000's. Definitely a low bar even by those standards but that's what a large portion of the workforce out there has to contend with even today as I think the average comp currently is just above 50K.

"I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing. " -GG
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Apr 26, 2017 - 4:17pm

The cultural references are amazing, especially considering college kids are still hanging Nirvana posters and Jennifer Aniston has potentially become more attractive since Friends started. It's also super meta that rule no.7 talks about 'delousing the closet' when you found this book emptying out your closet.

"He was an idiot! He was a bouncer who got his Series 7" - Josh Brown
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Apr 27, 2017 - 2:18am

as a student this actually resonated with me, even if its message was a little patronizing. I walk around in hysterics observing some of my peers. Some kids genuinely believe that their social status in college is gonna get them a golden ticket to life.

Oct 4, 2020 - 11:54pm

Rule #3 and #5,

Anally, fucking fucking fuck YOURSELF. Fuck  your wife, fuck your family, fuck your children (once they are >30 I mean) fuck every one of your family, whatever state/province you're in, hope you get fucked by some landfill. YOU ARE SO FUCKING OUT OF IT you cock-stroking egoist. "OPoRtuNiTy iS FLiPpInG bUrGerS! DeEz LaZy MiLeNial SnOFlaKes WoNt SeE OpPorTuNiTy iN FryInG FrEncH FrIEs!"

I can seee it now; cue the music: "rocky's theme"  plays as WagieMcBootStrapper The VII opens the crimson gates to McDonalds; some entitled snowflake cowers beneath him as the footsteps of a God in the forge shakes the cafe.  ('buuuuum..bumbu🎵mbumbumbuuuuu🎵M"). Our man lifts his white-glistening argent apron from the rack. Cut to same snowflake at an Antifagot convetion, demanding free whatnots. bah. Cut back to our guy, the music getting stronger, as he dons said apron, and reaches for the silvery spatula from the grille. A lazy dr in fluid dynamics commits suicide at the drive-through, as this was the only job he could get after 9 years of college and diversity feminazi hiring.

"silly fool. He just didn't see the OPPORTOONITY" our man smirks.


Cue the front of the store, a slimy female asking for more dressing on her baconburger is giving your coworker a hard time. Fists are raised! But OP steps in between, smirking with that knowledge that "hey...got this" the music keeps playing. Our guy lifts his spatula above his head, the frame still like so many anime that the_gekko has watched before stroking, then finally he slices down on the burger, slicing it exactly in 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"WOOOOOOOW!!!" Shouts the entire crowd, as 400 feeble, opportunity-blind wagies come rushing out of their sad, cucked banking offices around the MickyDonald's. Our Bootstrapper flips 100,000 burgers with one swift wave of the arm. The crowd goes wild. The CFO of America barges in and shoves the keys to his castle at OurBootstrapper "I'm promoting you to the CEO of Based! Come in tomorrow! " a Company Spyker forms between the man and Our Bootstrapper.  The grotesque Shrek-like customer becomes a fetching female with another set of supercar keys and a wet versace t-shirt. Again the Crowd goes wild.

Bootstrapper sees Snowflake whining in the corner amidst a 400+ person cult. Snowflake is bitching about his burger giving him serious heartburn as it is almost entirely grease. "Sarah! my tummy feels cold!" whines the snowflake to his babysitter (all non-conservative, non bootrapping PUUUCIIIS have to have babysitters, you know!). 
Against the forceful groping Ms America and Ms Canada are giving Our Guy, Our Guy stabs his argent spatula into a McGriddle, thrusts it into a greasefire, and flings it over 400 cheering fans and into SirSnowFlake's maw. "how's that to...heat things up?

The Crowd. Fucking. Loses it. 

Donald Trump reincarnates JP morgan and John D Rockafellar and gives Our Guy Ivanka's hand in philander and the Medal of Freedom, while JP Morgan and Rockafeller simply beg you to buy their companies at 23$ a share. Our Bootstrapper accepts, saying "it's ok little guys...We're not all self-starters like me!"

He flies away with Ms America around his belt, a sea of cash growing behind him, and even more women and children begging for his audograph. The music fades out...all because he knew, he just knew that if you work hard, flip them patties right, you too can be a great success like tai lopez or Chance The Rapper or even Elon Musk. Elon Musk flipped burgers for his first job right?. It's all attitude, just be optimistic bro?

Goddamn you are so flexible your head is far up someone's fucking gander passer you fucking wanker

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