If Commencement Speakers Told the Truth

By Joseph Regan | 5/27/16 7:17am

Well, ladies and gentlemen, you made it. You, the graduating Class of 2016, are about to enter the terrifying world the rest of us have been screwing up for quite some time now. Don’t listen to the people who tell you the Middle East is imploding, the migrant crisis is unsolvable or the economy is on the verge of crumbling again. (Those people worry too much.) Instead, hold your head high and embrace your imminent enslavement to the market, corporate overlords and student debt. Want to know almost no one, work your ass off for scraps and be responsible for paying for absolutely everything? Whether you answer “yes” or “no,” it doesn’t matter—the future is inevitable, and there is nothing you can do to stop it from screwing you where the sun don’t shine.

Maybe you’ll make some Cash Cash after graduation, maybe you’ll head home and stay there indefinitely. (Is that anticlimactic or what?) If I could give you any advice, I would. But since speaking at this commencement ceremony is the highlight of my resume, I hesitate to really say anything at all. Honestly, I have no idea why I was picked to give this speech, and from what I gather, you feel much the same way. But let’s forge on together and finish this thing. (I’ll spare you the depressing tale of my own complete failure in the big city and consequent move-in with my parents.)

Instead, let me tell you about the start-up I’ve got going with a couple of friends. It’s called—well, we don’t actually have a name yet—but it’ll be something cool, that you can count on, you know? Anyway, it will basically—well, we don’t actually know what it will do, but that’s at the top of the agenda. So far (and I don’t mean to brag) we have raised a couple million dollars. Some of the guys and I went out to the club last night to celebrate. (There’s no excuse like becoming a millionaire to get plastered and charged with public indecency, am I right?) Now some of you might be thinking that it’d be a good idea to invest that money in moving the company forward. But you know what I say to people who say that? Screw you! Yeah, this is the best thing to happen to me since my professor forgot to run my senior thesis through turnitin.com!

So, I guess the moral of that story is to start a business. Live that business. Breathe that business. Put a bun in that business’s oven. After all, who needs real friends and family when you have seed investing, first round investing, second round investing, investing investing, investors, investors invested in your investors and so on? Happiness, I like to say, isn’t something you achieve—it’s something you mourn while coming down from a mid-week bender.

Moving on to my second piece of advice: stop whining about never learning how to pay taxes. They aren’t that hard when you aren’t making much money, and if you are making a lot of money, then for God’s sake pay someone else to do them for you. Or use Turbotax.

Third and most importantly, do not despair when your job starts to suck—when the money, it turns out, isn’t making you happy. Life doesn’t really get better, but it helps to remember that at least in the real world you get to shower without flip-flops on.

That’s really all I got for you, folks. I am not so good at this advice-giving thing. Actually, I’m reading a little ahead here in my speech and it looks like it ends pretty soon so good luck and all that! You’ll sure need it. And if anyone here is looking to invest in a sure-to-be successful start-up that will, as my friend Dick likes to say, “make waves” as soon as we figure out what to call it, what it does and how to code, do not hesitate to contact my business Gmail.

Joseph Regan