I'd been working as an administrative assistant at an Ivy League university for about a year when my boss, the school's marketing director, asked me to compile a list of inspirational quotes for the graduating class. I dutifully sent a mass email to the alumni, asking them to share the best advice they had for the students before they entered the "real" world. I then boiled down their responses to the ten most representative quotes. They are as follows:
"Be kind to people. You never know who you'll need to manipulate in the future."
-Walter Coltrane, CFO, Compendium Financial
"I'm way to busy to write my own quote, so I had my assistant do it for me because I'm a self-important narcissistic douchebag of monumental proportions."
-Gregory Souris III, CMO, Superior Foods Group
"Money isn't everything. It's only food, water shelter, security, transportation, education, health, comfort, opportunity, respect, and fulfillment."
-Barbara Feingold, Managing Director, Trisect Records
"Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. That's exactly what I did when I killed my first man… with my bare hands."
-Robert Callaghan, White House Chief of Staff
"Giving back is it's own reward. That white man's burden sure is heavy, but you can always hire a brown person to carry it for you."
-Ralph Corrigan, CEO, Reliable Electronics
"Colorblindness is not a good courtroom defense for operating in the legal 'grey zone.'"
-Tejas Patel, former CEO, Grantland Energy
"Be brave and courageous. You'll never face an IED or drag your wounded buddy to safety under fire but, you know, you might have to disagree with your boss at a board meeting."
-Sonny Jaramillo, North America Director, Granada Pharmaceuticals
"Don't be afraid of adversity. Not real adversity, of course, like struggling to feed your children as a single mother or dealing with omnipresent and suffocating, low-level bigotry on a daily basis. More like privileged, straight, white, upper-class male adversity (i.e. only being able to afford a 40-foot yacht two years out of business school when all your friends have 50-footers)."
-Jeffrey, Partner, Rounder Ventures
"Remember that money isn't everything. Cash can't keep you warm at night. Unless you use it for insulation-which I do. It's soooo warm."
-Susan Wright, Head of Sales, Cayman Clothing
"You will get less pay and respect as a woman, no matter how qualified, or intelligent, or driven, or experienced you are because, at the end of the day, uteruses are terrifying."
-Gabriella Trieste, Merchandise Manager, 5G Limited