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To the Class of 2003

June 09, 2003

It is customary to tell those who have graduated from high school or college that the future of the community and the nation is in their hands, and that it will be up to them to make it a bright one.

We agree, but since someone has already imparted that message, let us offer one that's different, but no less important.

You are unique, but you are not the only one who matters. This may run counter to what you've heard from your parents and relatives, who in some cases were willing to file suit if you didn't make the cheerleading squad or the honor roll.

Doing such things, or making a scene at your youth sports game when the call didn't go your way, was doing you a disservice. That's because it delayed the delivery of a most valuable life lesson - life is not always fair.

In the working world, there will be no opportunity to sue your boss if you don't like what he or she wrote on your personnel evaluation, unless of course you are asked to submit to some sort of indignity, sexual or otherwise, in exchange for a positive report.

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This is not an argument for becoming part of an "old boy network," in which success has less to do with what you achieve than who you know. It is a plea to leave behind the "me first" attitude that hurts companies and communities.

How many situations have we seen in the Tri-State area in which someone or some organization said, in effect, "I want what I want and the heck with what it means to anyone else."

Nobody and no company gets everything they want all the time. And when they do, someone else gets hurt and resolves to play the game a little more ruthlessly the next time around.

So please, as you make your way in the world, resolve to think about how what you want will affect everyone else, and whether it's possible that if everyone resolved to accept a little bit less for the good of all, what a better community this might become.

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