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Welcome to Hell: A Real World Guide for Graduates

Congratulations, 2007 graduate!

With the $80,000 drinking binge that was your college career now in the rear-view mirror, you're looking forward to your new adult life with hope in your eyes and a freshly-printed diploma in your hand.

Unfortunately, contrary to what your self-important professors would have you believe, there isn't exactly a huge demand for people with a degree in 17th century Dutch artists in the real world. As such, you may soon find yourself trying in vain to use your diploma to paddle your way back down the shit's-creek you find yourself navigating.

Fortunately, you have us here to guide you through those confusing first few post-graduation months.

First off, let's set your mind at ease by saying that not everything in post-graduate life will be entirely new. In fact, one element thereof will likely be very familiar. Very painfully, humiliatingly familiar:

MOVING BACK TO YOUR PARENTS' HOUSE

Remember those first few difficult months at college, when you had to learn to take on newfound responsibilities? Remember how that adjustment was made easier because with it came the newfound freedom to drink at noon on a Monday and bring a different stranger home to your bed every night? Those days are over, graduate! To your parents, you'll always be their darling seven-year-old child who sometimes wets the bed and who has to get permission to have dinner with friends!

As an example of your new restrictions, look at the following two scenarios and see if you can figure out which is lamer:

Scenario 1: "Last call already? Hey (insert name of cute girl/guy you just met), why don't we head back to my place. I have some beers there, I can roll us a J. You know, just chill."

Scenario 2: "10:30 p.m. already? Hey (insert name of cute girl/guy you just met), why don't we go back to my parents' place before they start to worry? You can just hide in the garage until they go to bed, then I can sneak you upstairs. I have a single bed with Transformers bedsheets and a whole closet full of He-Man action figures. Hey, where are you going? God, I'm lonely."

Obviously, only scenario one has a puncher's chance of resulting in sloppy drunk sex. If scenario two actually works, you might want to reconsider the type of person you try to pick up.

Even if you do manage to impress someone with promises of surreptitious parents'-house coitus, consider the bedroom you now have. Since you left for college, your parents have undoubtedly turned your room into a repository for everything they always wished they had room for. In other words, they'll have kept the room every bit as embarrassing as it ever was, but added plenty of little hints letting you know just how much they've missed you and how happy they are to have you back at home (not much and not at all, respectively).

Why would your loving parents not want you living under their roof again? Because you haven't yet done the one simple thing that they would have most certainly expected you to do in between arriving home and having dinner that same night…

GETTING A JOB

Make no mistake, graduate, it's a difficult job market these days. It's far more different, for instance, than it was in the 1980s, when your father walked out of high school and was offered a hefty salary and the company Camaro as vice-president of Rubik's Inc. It's time to start sending off your resumes to Fortune 500 companies. Whether you apply to well-known stalwarts like IBM, Merrill Lynch and Pfizer, or up-and-comers like Starbucks, Sonic and Build-A-Bear Workshop, chances are your lack of experience will limit your chances.

You see, here's the paradox of the real world: nobody will give you a job unless you have experience, and you can't get experience unless you have a job. This Catch-22 will seem even more puzzling when you realize that almost two hundred million Americans somehow managed to get jobs, including the 18-year old shirt-folder at Hollister who neatly folded your resume up before firing it into the trash.

Unfortunately, your C+ philosophy paper on Zeno's paradoxes will not help you solve this real world dilemma. Fortunately, we can tell you the secrets to increase your likelihood of finding work.

1. You have to know somebody to become somebody. Just ask Ivanka Trump, Stephanie McMahon or George W. Bush. "But I don't know any of these people," you say. "After four years of college, the only people I know are potheads, alcoholics, and that exchange student who could belch the Russian National Anthem." Hey, it could be worse; the only person you know could be James Van Der Beek, who will sneak in through your bedroom window every night to lament the fact that Tom Cruise stole his girlfriend.

2. There's no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as getting someone's lunch for free for a year. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and work as an unpaid intern to get experience. There's absolutely no shame in that. Just ask your parents, in between their rumblings about how it's maybe time they started charging you rent to move back into the same crappy room you couldn't wait to move the hell out of four years ago.

3. Go where the jobs really are. If things get really desperate, you could always outsource yourself to Asia and earn 30 Malaysian ringgits per week manufacturing "Don't Mess With Texas" shot glasses. Or you could earn thousands of dollars per year teaching English in Japan even though the only Japanese word you think you know is "Pokemon". Either way, you'll probably still wind up moving back in with your parents by age 24, but at least you'll have learned the Japanese word for "Hepatitis".

4. It's time to forget the book smarts and learn some street smarts. Your Stephen Hawking textbook may have taught you that time travel is impossible, but this isn't going to help you party like it's 1999 in the real world. Ignore the books, build your own time machine and travel back to the days when jobs were falling from the sky.

5. It's pronounced " Ven-ti." During any job interview it's vital that you take the time to learn whatever you can about the company and the manager you want to work for. A few simple trips to the internet can provide a wealth of information that will help during that first interview.

Interviewer: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

You: "I see myself living in a Venti-sized house under the Space Needle."

Interviewer: "How do you expect to make that kind of money as a barista?"

You: "Well, I thought you might pay that much to avoid having these very revealing photos of you in a halter top and making out with Bruce Willis mailed to your wife."

Interviewer: "Did you photoshop my head over Lindsay Lohan? While that is inappropriate, I am short-staffed and this café's toilet isn't gonna unclog itself. You're hired!"

See? With a little time and effort, you can turn your computer science degree into a cool six bucks an hour.

HOW TO USE YOUR DEGREE

When you were in school, some degrees seemed more useful than others. But times are constantly changing, so we've provided the following uses for some of the more common degrees.

Psychology - helps you understand how living at home, with no job or girlfriend is contributing to your crushing depression.

Economics ââ'¬" can help you explain to your parents how the shifting economic climate means that you can neither get a job on a macro- or micro- level.

Philosophy - allows you to explain to the judge that if the prosecutor can't even prove that he exists, there's no way he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the video footage of you shop-lifting your dinner at that 7-11 gas station exists either.

English - when confronted with a crowd of people, you now know it's not "who is this Big Mac combo for?," it's "for whom is this Big Mac combo?" This is the kind of information that will get your ass kicked by your 16-year-old co-workers who think you "talk like some kinda gaylord."

Film - if the hottest girl at a party wants to know whether Citizen Kane has better cinematography than Little Man , you're the go-to guy. Then, as her beefy boyfriend's kicking your scrawny hipster ass, you can contemplate your predicament through the zeitgeist of post-modernism.

History of Marine Biology - this degree will likely be quite useless until the aliens invade and their only weakness turns out to be whale calls from the 1920s.

There you have it, graduate. Things may seem bleak and daunting, but given time and determination, you can eventually break into the working world, move out on your own and start counting down the years until you can retire.

Good luck, and have fun!

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