Now, let me make it clear that, in general, the following paragraphs are not my own, original work. Most of them have been so far round the Internet that it's hard for me to provide a genuine credit, for which I apologise. I shall, of course, rectify this on notification. But the whole lot is worth repeating, so here goes.
Rule No. 1: The average teenager uses the phrase "It's not fair" 9.1 times a day. Life is not fair. Get used to it, and stop your bloody sulking. Do you think you’re unique, or something?
Rule No. 2: The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. The real world expects 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.
Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won't make £20,000 a year right out of high school. Nor will you be a manager. You may even have to wear a uniform (and it won’t have a Gap label). And when you leave home, you won’t be able to afford a car, phone or holidays. In fact, you’ll be lucky if you can afford a TV. Tough shit; that's the way it is.
Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher or parents are tough, wait until you get a boss. Bosses usually don’t have the same job security, so tend to be a bit grumpy. When you screw up, they’re not going to ask you how you feel about it. They probably won’t even give you a second chance.
Rule No. 5: 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.
Rule No. 6: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your parents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it 'an opportunity'. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about football all weekend.
Rule No. 7: Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, tidying your mess, cooking your meals and listening to you tell them how cool you are. And, by the way, before you try to save the environment from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try cleaning your bedroom or doing the laundry. It’s the same principle, i.e. not leaving your crap for others to deal with.
Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you lots of chances to get the right answer, and effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to real life.
Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into terms, and you don't get Summer off. Not even Easter break. At work, they expect you to show up every day. For eight hours or more. It just goes on and on. And take note: no employers are interested in fostering your self-expression, helping you find yourself or listening to your pathetic excuses for not being able to do anything.
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 as pliable as say, Jennifer Aniston.
Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You will certainly end up working for one. In fact, if you’ve got any sense, you’ll try to be one. After all, they’re the ones that use their brains and end up earning the big money.
Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Ditto for drugs, booze, tattoos, Mohicans and pierced body parts.
Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, spend some time doing voluntary work at the local hospital.
Rule No. 14: Sure, parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realise that it’s usually much, much worse to be an adult. So enjoy life while you can.
Rule No. 15:When your parents buy you stuff, please understand that IT'S NOT YOURS! You can use it, sure. But you don't have the right to swap it, sell it or do anything else with it. You're not old enough to actually own property. Think of it as a legal thing, ok?