I’ll start with the letter I wrote for NewBostonPost last month:
Dear College Students,
I remember the stress of college. The anxiety of papers due. The uncertainty of relationships. The concerns about what I was going to do after graduation.
I get it. It’s tough.
I also remember professors who challenged our perceived notions of “right” and “wrong.” I recall being exposed to movies, books and papers that I massively disagreed with. Looking back, I can visualize the heated debates between people with different perspectives. I can almost hear the yelling, the screaming, the passion and the CHALLENGES.
You’re studying and learning during the Industrial Revolution of our generation. It’s exciting. It’s encouraging. It’s liberating. And yet somehow, it’s also leading to your wussification.
Before you get all offended and run to your “safe place,” understand that I pulled that word right out of one of your trusted resources of knowledge – urbandictionary.com.
Here’s the first hit for the word:
wussification (verb): The act of turning one into a wussy.
The mother has been wussifying her children from young age.
The wussification of American children is notable.
I’m sorry. I hope you didn’t mistake this letter to be one that would tell you how wonderful you are and that you’re going to make the world a wonderful place. No, my friends, that’s not what this letter is at all. This is an open letter to all those of you who are whining your way through college looking for a safe place and an entitled hall pass.
I come with a very simple message. When you cast off that safety blanket and enter into the real world, this thing called life is going to slap you faster than you can say, “Do you want fries with that?”
I recently saw an article about these so-called “marginalized students” at the University of Arizona issuing 19 pages of demands.
Then, of course, the students at Emory University who needed counseling because they didn’t feel “safe” when they saw writing in chalk that said “Trump 2016.”
To all those of you looking for your “safe place,” I have to wonder: How the hell do you walk out of your dorm (or your parents’ basement) without getting hit by a bus every day?
So on behalf of CEO’s across the country, I’d like to share with you a few lessons that you might want to learn before graduation:
1. The Business World Doesn’t Give A Damn About You
No, really – it’s true. You saw something on the internet that you found offensive? You’ve got the sniffles? Your boyfriend broke up with you? Well, that sucks. Deal with it. I expect you to get your work done on time. Hit traffic that made you late for the fourth time this week? You should have learned after the first time that you needed to leave your house early.
Listen, even the best bosses have their breaking points. Excuses might fly in college, but they’re NOT going to fly when we’re paying you to actually get things done.
2. The Only Safe Place Is Your Home
In the real world – and especially the business world – we’re going to challenge you. We’re going to push you. We’re going to demand that you consider other perspectives. We’re going to rip your ideas to shreds from time to time. And we’re going to insist that you play nicely with others to find ideas that actually work and implement them.
We’re going to get really pissed when you don’t deliver, and we’re going to get even more pissed when you cost us money because you weren’t willing to hustle hard enough to get the job done. And if you slack off enough, there’s no “bell curve” that’s going to save your ass from a big fat pink slip. Lucky for you there are enough people working in the unemployment office who’ve also been wussified by the system to make sure that even though you were fired for not showing up to work, you’ll probably still get to collect unemployment and sit on your ass.
3. There’s No Such Thing As “Free”
I get it. You’ve been told that money grows on trees, that education should be free for all and that everything in life should be handed to you on a silver platter.
But welcome to the big kids’ playground. You want that health insurance? It’s going to cost you. Oh, you don’t want it? That will cost you too. You want an apartment? A house? A car? Believe it or not, you need to actually come up with some money for that! Oh, and you can quit your whining about taxes. Because SOMEONE has to pay for all of that “free” stuff – and now it’s you, sucker.
4. If You Don’t Want To Be A Victim, Then Don’t Be
In college, any time your feelings were hurt, you were a victim. If you were challenged, the challenger was a “bigot” and you were the poor person who had their feelings hurt. Here in the real world, we expect you to be challenged and to understand that humility is just as important as bravado. Selflessness is more important that selfishness. The content of who you are as a person is more important than the color of your skin or your socio-economic background or your sex or your weight or your religious affiliation.
5. Success Is Hard Work
We’re not going to give you five breaks a day. You’re going to have to work nights and weekends from time to time. You want to make “the big bucks”? Then consider a nine-hour workday to be a part-time job. You’re most likely NOT going to graduate college and find a six-figure job. Hell, you’re going to be lucky if you find ANY job … and you should be grateful when you find it. Grateful … and prepared to work like a maniac to get ahead. Because in the real world, you don’t get a pass just because mommy and daddy are paying your bills.
So, ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the remainder of your time being gentle little snowflakes. Revel in the time you have at the world’s most expensive daycares across the country. Because soon, you’ll be in OUR world. And it’s about to get real.
Kyle S. Reyes
President & CEO
Within hours, the piece had gone viral. I was ready and waiting for all of the hate mail I was sure to receive. But then something surprising happened. I started getting emails and messages here on LinkedIn – but NOT the kind I was expecting.
Best open letter to college kids yet! I appreciate what you wrote cause every word of it is true. I am currently a grad student and having worked out in the real world for 20 years, I can’t tell you how much I want to be done with this degree and remove myself from the pool of idiocy that I am surrounded by. However, if you think the blurbs and facebook posts are bad, the live campus is even worse! Sadly, the post-secondary education system actually supports the whining, complaining, and sniffling of these sissy kids. Frankly, I am surprised that any of them get jobs, much less keep them after 6 months. Hah! Again, thanks for speaking the truth! It’s a breath of fresh air.
Hi Kyle, I appreciated your article in the New Boston Post… Something I’ve been trying to tell my 16 year old as he prepares for college..and for him to maintain focus and avoid the on-campus ‘sensitivity’…..
Hello Mr. Reyes, I don’t want to take much of your time but I did want to thank you. I’m a senior business finance major at Capital University in Columbus Ohio. I just read your article An Open Letter to College Students from a CEO. I think that it was wonderful and accurate and I just wanted to thank you for being one of the few people who speaks the truth without worrying about offending the “special snowflakes”
Hi Mr. Reyes, I just recently saw your article on Facebook and I just wanted to thank you for writing it. I wish my generation would wake up and see the reality of life. We definitely have the name “entitlement generation” for a reason. Maybe there’s still hope!
The messages came flooding in by the thousands. And, of course, the internet trolls all came out of the digital bridges they were hiding under. Mostly hiding behind fake internet handles, they attacked:
Dear Mr. Reyes. You are a bigot. You think that all white job candidates are angry and lazy so you hire Mexicans and move your factories to china. Well screw you! You don’t get to say which country America is – you’re not the king. If you don’t like America then you can hand over all your money to Bernie Sanders and the Chinese and Mexicans can go to hell! They’re not taking my job!
Typical old white dude who doesn’t understand what it’s like for minorities to suffer the constant intentional or unintentional aggressions of people from the norm/majority identities of society, see’s people pushing back against that, and then takes anecdotal cases of people taking the movement too far and then uses those anecdotal cases to reject the whole idea.
Articles bashing entire generations are a dime a dozen. This entitled bucket of slime is not saying anything new here.
And here’s a piece of perhaps my favorite email.
First and foremost, your sad excuse for, “tough love,” is no baseline to be an absolute dick. Oh, you don’t like that? Cool. I don’t give a damn. Unprofessional? Neither is your article.
Just because you’re in a position of power, doesn’t mean that you can stand upon your high horse and say shitty things to people. Not cool. Maybe you don’t realize it, but high places are a great attractors of lightning strikes. Furthermore, by belittling people that are challenging how you see the world, and then turning around and saying that they need to be challenged, you have clearly come out as a hypocrite. Congratulations! You’re two big words and one small one! Maybe you should use Urbandictionary to look up any that you don’t understand. It’s okay, I’m not watching.
Finally, I’d like to point out that you’re an awful human being and also grossly elitist for telling others that they will never amount to anything if they are not good at one specific aspect of the world that is also not the entirety of the world, but you want to believe it is, because you want to keep enjoying your spot on the mountain as the special snowflake that you like to think you are.
Well, it appears that I finally reached my target demographic with this piece.
Oh, and one little “P.S.” to that demographic that had their tender feelings hurt? If you want to be taken seriously in life, don’t hide behind an anonymous name on the internet.
Be a big kid.
Kyle Reyes is the Chief Executive Officer of The Silent Partner Marketing, a boutique digital design and execution marketing agency. Previously he held marketing director roles for automotive and hospitality businesses, in addition to being a News and Special Projects Producer for NBCUniversal. Follow Kyle on Twitter and LinkedIn.