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Dear Mr. Keillor, I graduated

August 25, 2006 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
I graduated from college last year. After a few months leeching off my parents and being lazy, I started my first real job. Most of my day is spent in my cubicle staring at a computer monitor with intermittent paper shuffling. I've been listening to your program for as long as I can remember and you always seem to have some insight, some wise suggestion, for people who are growing up. Any suggestions for me? A new office drone struggling with boredom and cubicle fever (its a lot like cabin fever)?

Michael P.
Hoover, AL

You did the right thing and put your foot in the water and of course it's cold. My advice is: be patient and make a plan and keep searching for your truest self. Don't become an indentured servant. That's somebody who hates work and so he spends his money, and borrows more, in order to alleviate his suffering, thereby becoming a prisoner of the job. So be frugal, stingy even. Salt as much money away as you can, so that if some jerk of a boss yanks your chain and insults you, you can walk away without trepidation. Make a plan that you'll stick it out for a year and that in six months you'll look at your options. Be an exemplary employee ---- it helps pass the time and it's a good exercise. Meanwhile, continue your education, except now with no need to please teachers or write bullshit papers or trim your sails to match prevailing opinion. There is no better way to find out who you are than to sit down and write about what's happening to you and what you think. At work you can be a perfectly polite, helpful, quiet, reliable drone, but don't confuse that persona with yourself: you are you and don't waste any time finding out more about you. In the end, your continuing education ---- the valuable part of your education, since it's what you do on your own ---- and your self-awareness will be what guide you on to the next phase of your working life. The part that's quite a lot of fun.

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