Thursday, March 23 2000
The concept of "graduation" is far more important and applies far more generally than is implied by the stuffy formal definition most of us attach to the word. If someone is doing well as a human being, he or she is continually growing, gaining more knowledge, and earning more. But not everyone continues growing throughout a lifetime. There are plenty of people who drop out of high school, get pregnant, deliver a child with fetal alcohol syndrome, get pregnant again, go to work at Jack in the Box, rise to the level of 2nd shift manager, and retire at 65. Such people are never regarded as threats by co-workers or superiors, so they're never put under any pressure to move on to bigger and better things, to graduate.
But if you're a smart kid and have been working at Jack in the Box three months and find yourself still doing exactly what you did the day you were hired, chances are good you'll grow restless and find something more interesting and lucrative to do. You'll graduate.
If, on the other hand, you figure out a way to make three or four times the salary of your co-workers at Jack in the Box by doing something novel like, say, bottling and selling the old french fry grease as a miraculous age-fighting tonic, it's unlikely that your co-workers will be happy with your new-found success. You'll have to graduate, taking your french fry grease skills to a place that appreciates them.
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