There’s a "great speech" making the rounds. It was purportedly given by Microsoft founder Bill Gates at some high school.
The rumor-buster sites say it wasn’t given by Gates ; but those who spread this around should know it wasn’t given by anyone as accomplished as Bill Gates. Rather, it’s not a speech at all, but rather a series of brain burps from an unknown book by a smarmy
dweeb from Wisconsin, named Charles Sykes.
Here are some of Mr. Sykes’ little life lessons, each followed by the reason it would never be spewed by Bill Gates, or anyone admirable:
Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!
The richest man in the world knows that life has, at least, been reasonably fair to him. He also knows that, however true is the message that life is not fair, he would be the very least credible person to deliver it.
Rule 2 : The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Anyone as successful in motivating other people as Bill Gates knows this isn’t the sort of thing you say to inspire a group of strangers—especially high school students who have filed innocently into an auditorium to politely listen to a middle-aged businessman give a speech.
Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Car phone? What in the name of Gordon Gekko …
Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
On Sykes’ Web site it says "he has appeared on national television, broadcast from the White House, and has spoken at major universities … but his toughest and most rewarding job has been … being a dad." Well, being a dad is tough if you try to do the job under the assumption that your kids’ problems and fears somehow don’t measure up to your own.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were ….
Sounds like Sykes’ kids haven’t spoken to him since they were about nine. Can you blame them?
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Except the two professions Sykes has chosen, writing and teaching.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you to FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
This inspirational 21st century minute brought to you by George Patton!
Look, people with general attitudes like this about young people don’t build great enterprises (on the brains and talent of young people). They don’t invest the millions that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has invested in high schools. And they spend too much time focusing on non-problems like kids with too much self-esteem.
As if the world won’t take correct that with or without the help of nerds like Charles Sykes, whose last rule happens to be, Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
You wish, Chuck.