You and your dad may not have always seen eye-to-eye, or even been looking in the same direction. I haven’t always taken dear old Dad’s advice, but if I had I probably would have avoided much of the heartache I experienced in undergrad and after graduation. At the very least, there would have been about fifty fewer “I told you so” phone calls where I got an hour-long lecture for being a dumbass. I get it, Dad. Boning the girl on three different kinds of anti-depressants was a bad call on my part. I’ll be more selective next time. Maybe.
In any case, I’ve selected some of the best gems Dad has given me over the years. Here they are, in all their glory and wisdom.
1. Rate every time you get your ass chewed out by a boss on a scale of 1-10. Decide, post-meeting, if it was a good ass-chewing or a bad ass-chewing and use that to rank your supervisors in terms of effectiveness. It will help with the anxiety of getting torn a new one in a professional setting and you can always tell your boss, right before his retirement, that his ability to chew someone out over a failure is top notch.
2. Never sleep with a girl you couldn’t deal with marrying, just in case things go terribly wrong and you get her pregnant.
After all, you never know if the crazy girl you’ve got in bed with you is secretly poking holes in your condoms so you pump a baby into her.
3. If you marry a racehorse, you’ll get left at the starting gate. If she’s cheated on other guys previously, she’s probably going to do the same to you. Don’t take her home to meet the parents because she’ll probably run away at the alter. That would be a really awkward wedding day and you don’t want to have multiple wedding days under your belt.
4. Do work that makes you happy, even if it doesn’t make you rich. You’re going to spend years of your life working. It’s probably best not to make those years a living hell that sucks out your soul like a struggling Hollywood nobody sucks Hollywood producers. Find something you love and stick with it. If you love it, it should be easier to make money doing it, right?
5. Don’t burn your bridges. You’ll never know when you have to retreat back over them. There are enough ways to make enemies in life without actively setting out to make more of them. Keep your friends close and your former employers closer. Just not so close that you continue working for them beyond when it stops advancing your career.
6. Never buy the V6 when you can have the V8. This is basically car advice because a V6 is terrible in basically every car that comes with a V8 engine, but I’m extrapolating a philosophical extension here. If you can handle the next step up, always go for it. There’s no sense limiting yourself (or your car). There’s no speed limit of the highway of life, although there is on all the other ones so watch out for state troopers.
7. Be good to your kids, because they’ll end up taking care of you. My parents have always been good to us. They paid for school for both of my sisters and they helped me out a ton along the way. It seems like there isn’t a great ROI there though, right? Wrong. While no kids may have gotten Dad his 40-foot yacht and house in the Hamptons, poor treatment would have left Mom and Dad without us there to help them out when they get older. Kids are an insurance policy, sort of. Don’t treat them badly when they need help, because you’ll eventually need them to take care of you. Okay, enough about shit most of us won’t need to worry about for 30 years. Back to the immediate problems.
8. A gentleman always needs to know how to hold two things: his liquor and a conversation. This one wasn’t from Dad, but it was still great advice. My grandfather told me this once when I was like 11. I didn’t understand it back then, mostly because I was still playing with Pokémon cards and didn’t care much for liquor or women at the time. It’s served me well since then though.
9. You’re only as good as your word. If people can’t trust you, you’re kind of fucked. If you make a promise, do your best to keep it or make it right if you can’t. There’s no reason to hurt other people on the way to the top, unless your career of choice is illegal gladiatorial combat.
10. Always put your best effort forward. I don’t care if you’re a garbage man, be the best one in the business. Sort of going with the previous one, what you do is less important than how you do it. If you suck at your job or do things the lazy way, you’ll never move up. If it’s a shit job, work to get something better. People will recognize hard work.
Guys, your dad is actually a great source of wisdom, as long as you can take some advice from him. For the longest time I couldn’t, but I realized that it’s probably a better idea to listen to someone who has made most of the same mistakes before, rather than make all new mistakes myself.