You’re Graduating ~ It’s Time You Heard the Truth

It’s 2011, and young people are worried about jobs, money and making a stake in life. I say, “Why worry?” Now is a great time for them to separate themselves from the rest of the schmucks. And trust me, there is an ample amount of them. I read a quote recently from President John F. Kennedy where he was pointing out that the Chinese word for crisis is made up of two characters; one that represents danger and the other that represents opportunity. Well, we are in the midst of an all-out young person crisis and the opportunities are plentiful – if you know how to capitalize and stand out in a sea of mediocrity.

The biggest problem for college kids in today’s society is two overbearing factors – their parents. These same two people brought you into the world, and for 18 years or so coddled you, provided for you, and gave their all caring for you. Mostly because they believe that their own parents sucked at being good parents and they wanted to make sure that you lived the most precious of existences. This is a noble thought – but they totally screwed you because of it. They made you soft and dependent on a certain structure – one that is great to protect you from the evils of society, but one that has totally chipped away from the very fabric that allows folks to have independent thought and soar with creative and entrepreneurial spirit. Most kids coming out of college today are at a disadvantage because all they will ever be capable of doing is follow schedules and execute tasks. Today’s parents are pulverizing the potential of their kids and because of that, society as we know it.

Young people today walk into the work force with an over-inflated sense of entitlement. Earning title and respect is a notion that is alien to most of them. They enter the work environment with the attitude of “I’m here; the world can revolve around me now”. Are you kidding me? Your parents are at home and you have moved out — their days of coddling you and pretending you matter are over. Bosses are not going to clap like your parents did when you sat on the potty and made your first dodo – they don’t give a crap. Your parents think everything you do is wonderful, regardless of the merit. No one else cares unless you are truly exceptional. Time to wake up and face reality kids – especially if you want to survive in the ruthless and cutthroat world of employment.

Ok – don’t panic. All is not lost. I was tough on your parents, and I am generalizing. Your parents mostly did the right things by you, but believe it or not, they were just a little too easy on you. They should have been tougher on you like your grandparents were on them. Oh yeah, I just said your grandparents sucked at being parents. That’s not entirely true – it is just what your parents think. Those old folks who give you money and spoil you rotten did some solid things with their kids (your parents), and that’s probably why your parents have become so successful and can give you all those cool gadgets to make your life easier. Your grandparents probably weren’t giving out hugs the way that your parents were – but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do some good things to help prepare your parents for life. Because honestly – that is their primary job.

The problem with parenting begins with conception. You need a license to drive, get married and even own a dog – but any two morons can copulate and have a kid. What in heaven’s name gives any brand new parents the experience to raise a child? Where is the master’s degree for that? “Parenting” is a lot more important than most of the crap folks study in order to get their master’s degree, yet there are not many people taking those classes – even the most educated snobs in the world are missing that boat. People do not have to pass any tests to have kids, and because of that, it’s a coin toss whether the parents are going to be good or bad. If you are on a football team, you practice all week to play one game. If you are in a rock band, you practice countless times before you play your gig. Yet, if you are a parent, most likely, you are flying by the seat of your pants each and every day. I have to tell you – that doesn’t give me a lot a confidence for high scores on the parenting report card.

Let’s get back to your grandparents. I know this may seem impossible, but there once was a time when there was no such thing as Facebook, the Internet, texting and cell phones. Your grandparents lived during those prehistoric times, and the flow of information wasn’t as real-time as it is today. So there’s a good chance that your grandmother was smoking and drinking while she was pregnant with your dad or mom, or that your grandfather was getting bombed at some bar before he drove home drunk, and their kids (your parents) were driving around without seat belts or car seats. It sounds like a tabloid news story gone wrong, but it really wasn’t that long ago when behavior like this was pretty much an accepted policy. The times were not “child friendly” in many ways. The sensitivity for others, especially those with any kind of handicap, was non-existent, and because of that your parents grew up exposed to a society that was not the kinder, gentler place it is today. It also has caused your parents, along with the media’s constant portrayal of the horrors of the world, to be the over-protecting, coddling, folks that they clearly are. It’s also the reason that a good lot of you are full of anxiety and on some kind of mood altering, prescribed medication.

So your grandparents were obviously overboard in one direction and we are quickly finding out that parents of your generation are drifting too much in the other direction. Going to school these days has nothing to do with learning – it has to do with knowing how to take tests and getting high scores. I heard a report the other day that there are school systems having to make tough decisions on budget cuts because of the economy, and there was a proposal to fire all social studies teachers in one school district because that subject was a luxury, as it was not covered on the standardized tests. It’s one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Educators are basically teaching kids how to fill out the paperwork. Isn’t this just sterilizing the youth of our society? It sounds like it’s all about the endgame and not about the journey that gets you there. Sounds kind of yuck to me. The whole thing is just watering down our youth. It’s making them taskmasters and not creative thinkers.

It’s has come to a time where there needs to be a balance between where your grandparents were and where your parents are now. We need the college kids to toughen up and become less concerned with GPA and more concerned with what they learn along the way. I heard a story the other day that the parents of a college student called for a meeting with one of the kid’s professors to argue a grade that their son had received. ARE YOU KIDDING ME..? How in the hell is this kid ever going to fend for himself if he runs to mommy and daddy every time he gets a sniffle and things do not go his way? The economy has gone through a huge correction, and it is clearly time for an overhaul and correction with the parent’s of today’s generation of college kids as well.

Hey, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with helping your kids out and providing them direction, but parents are not doing their kids any favors by doing everything for them. I am sure it started with the parents doing the kids homework for them, but parents have to stop going beyond advising and really need to refrain from doing the things their kids should be doing for themselves.

So, here’s an opportunity for you young men and women in college getting ready to enter the wild world of business and industry. The likelihood is that parenting is not going to change that rapidly; it will affect future generations and skip right over yours. Don’t go into an all-out panic attack and reach for your prescription. There is hope. Because now it is up to you to act like the adult and put balance into your own life. Time to grab the bull by the horns and make things happen. If you start making adjustments in your philosophy and approach, you will be way ahead of all the other morons who are still getting their asses wiped by their parents. It’s time to emancipate yourself from the overbearing interference of your parents and make your own claim. It’s time to fend for yourself and make a difference in the world. Time to stop worrying and start doing. The opportunity is right in front of you, so don’t let your parents cause you to fear taking that chance and paving your own way. It’s called commencement for a reason. It’s time to capitalize and stand out and begin your life.

Go get em’!

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  1. Grace Ann Novello says:

    The truth hurts. But, sometimes that’s just what is needed. I agree with you 100%.

    1. Lou Imbriano says:

      your so cute mom, when don’t you 🙂

  2. “Don’t go into an all-out panic attack and reach for your prescription.”


    1. Lou Imbriano says:

      E ~ nonplussed and giggling.

  3. Even though the purpose was to make society’s recent graduates understand they need to stand on thier own two feet, you give some of the best advice to expecting parents. Parents are the 1st teachers children ever have. I look forward to teaching my son….

    1. Lou Imbriano says:

      Thank you bud. Coming at a perfect time for you then… Hope all is well, see you this weekend.

  4. Trish Gillis says:

    Early on – this went in a direction I did NOT see coming!

    I have to say though, that my last employer/now client began hiring new grads about a year ago. Of all these hires, I have yet to meet one who is not as independent and hard-working as we were back in the day, Lou. So all is not lost!

  5. So true, Lou! And if I could get students to shut off their cell phones (despite policies explicitly against them and numerous dressing-downs), I MIGHT be able to teach them something they can take down the road and use! That’s the kind of day it’s been. Thanks for reinforcing my message.

    1. Lou Imbriano says:

      Thank you Dr.

      I appreciate you stopping by the blog and sharing the post with others. I know they are learning from you just the same. I hope you are well.

      My best,

  6. Howard Breslau says:

    Great piece, Lou. Loved it.

    1. Lou Imbriano says:

      Thank you Howard. I hope you are well.

  7. Interesting subject and well-iterated…

    As a new-grad, I will wholly agree that the parental pressures are very present and quite frankly, terrifying at times. As the child of immigrant parents, admittedly, they sheltered me from ‘the real world’ growing-up. What you say may be true, our parents softened us, but at the same time it is also because of a societal/educational problem. These days, the pressure is ON to work hard at school to perfect the methodology behind taking tests. Why? The tests will get us into top universities where we will once again learn and out-work the system. Why? Because graduating with top-marks from programs such as Engineering, Business, Medicine and Law will ensure acceptance to top firms. Once we’re in the top firms, we learn the art of beating the system again to obtain a designation… CA’s, CFA’s, Masters in Engineering, L.L.B’s etc…

    As immigrants, my parents worked hard without an education and are successful entrepreneurs. However, in TODAY’s day and age, we as students are bombarded with a pre-determined notion of success. It’s defined by the designations and professional level of achievement we have reached. I was never a Straight A student in university. I had more fun with the social aspect of undergrad and building relationships with individuals than hitting the grind 24/7 to rip A+’s. What I say next, I don’t know if it’s correct or not since I have only been out of school for under a month, but maybe being the hack that our parents pushed us to be isn’t such a bad idea? Beating the standardized tests would have guaranteed a pass through the “screening” stage that most CPG’s/Banks/Acctg Firms require. Once you pass that, then employment is almost guaranteed (unless company culture is a complete mismatch).

    I’m not too sure if it’s 100% parental blame or the new expectations of the corporate.

    On the flipside, for students who do NOT want to pursue the traditional route, then I 100% agree with this post. In fact, all 4 years through business school, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me since none of the traditional routes were appealing. How come the normal plan was so hard to follow?! That is when everything clicked and the reason for going to university clicked. There are very few opportunities to have intelligent conversations with people who are experts in their fields (in my case, strategic management professionals, real estate developers, marketers etc…) in a ‘safe’ environment.

    I’m not too sure where I’m going with this, but i agree somewhat with your post and am glad it was written. From a new-grads perspective, it’s also hard to see from that point of view. Especially when the ‘norm’ is coming true everywhere I look… the kids with the highest GPA’s ended up at the firms where the rest of us who are seeking MORE from a future career are left in the dust.. .

    so what’s the right decision? be a hack and join the firms and thenn think about what to do?ultimately fulfilling the notion of success that’s been dictated by society and our parents? or ignore what’s going on in real life, ‘look’ for these opportunities and hope that it’ll lead to success… until then parental disappointment is one tough pill to swallow..

    I almost feel at a disadvantage these days…Many successful individuals in the sports industry or any industry for that matter happen to have fallen into their positions YEARS ago without a dime behind their name and a nickle spent on education. now, for those same positions, min of 5 yr experience PLUS some form of masters (MBA, LL.B, Msc).

    So all in all… i’m not too sure where to end.. but those were my thoughts…

    thanks for the great blogs!
    greatly enjoy reading them and they are useful facts for sports mktg ~

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