8 Lies We’re Told About The “Real World”

When we are young, we always hear about the “real world,” which refers to the time in our lives when we are finally no longer being supported by our parents and we are out on our own, making our own living. We hear from various sources about what this real world is supposedly like.  Here are some things about the real world that I was told that ended up being untrue.

1. “There are no labels.”  When I was in high school, there was a lot of buzz about who was a goth, punk, preppy, stoner, etc. For some reason, everyone loved to stereotype each other based on what clothes they wore, music they listened to, and what other interests they were into. I remember hearing several people older than me exclaim that it wouldn’t last because labels like that don’t exist in the real world. Well, maybe adults don’t care as much about those specific types of categorical classifications, but they are still definitely judging the hell out of other people and labeling them, only now it’s most often based on other things like their political or religious beliefs, economical status, etc. Things really haven’t changed much in this respect. 

2. “Dating becomes easier.”  I used to hear this statement a lot when I was somewhere between 15 to 19, usually when I  was having a bit of boy trouble. They’d say, “Don’t worry. These years are the hardest when it comes to dating.” That at least made me hopeful that one day in my 20s I would finally have a relationship that would be smooth sailing. Now, it seems like this was one of the biggest lies ever. Since adulthood, dating and relationships became a carnival filled with rigged games and roller coasters with many twists and turns. Then when in a serious relationship, there’s a whole new set of issues to deal with that I was never warned about. I sometimes wish that I could go back to the days when my biggest worries were about what I was going to wear on a date and making it back home on time.

3. “You should finish college if you want to be successful.”  I was told this over and over again while growing up. Of course, finishing a degree seeking University program has been the key to many people’s success, but I have learned that it isn’t for everyone. I have watched many people spend money on getting that piece of paper saying they are qualified for this career, only to continue working in retail because they somehow still aren’t getting hired for their dream job.  I have also watched people live their dreams and become a success with only a high school diploma. It has been said that a degree doesn’t have the same value that it used to. Maybe it depends on the field you are wanting to get into but either way, it’s worth looking into before you waste any of your time or money.

4. “College will be the best years of your life.” This one could be true for some people, but it certainly was not the case for me. I never really got too much into the campus scene. I didn’t care for living in a dorm and college roommates were the worst. Yeah, I met some people that were okay, but didn’t maintain friendships with them. They were just kind of into their own lives. I partied a little whenever I felt like it, but  that was nothing special either since I always preferred going to a club or bar. I was just already over the whole college scene by the time it arrived. My idea of fun may be different, but I have been having much more since those days.

5. “Honesty is the best policy.” I always believed in this mantra. I thought that being honest was the right and noble thing  to do in most cases, that was, until I started working in the real world. I quickly learned that in interviews, people that were telling their employers what they wanted to hear were far more favorable than the people who were  telling them the truth. Hiring managers didn’t really want honesty in interviews. They wanted positive, enthusiastic, and sugar coated responses to their questions. I also watched as my old bosses would lie to their customers. I learned my lesson after being honest with a customer one time and getting yelled by my supervisors  for it. I asked them, “So you want me to lie next time?” In response, I got a very bold and affirmative, “Yes!” It’s kind of sad.

6. “You have to choose between a career or family.”  A popular saying is, “You can’t have it all.” In other words, you supposedly can’t be both successful in your career and a successful parent at the same time. You have to choose one or the other, and if you don’t, you will likely suffer from being shamed as a neglectful parent or someone who is not working to their full potential at work. However, I have personally seen this myth busted quite a few times. I won’t say it’s easy to balance work and family, but I definitely don’t think it’s impossible.

7. “Time heals all wounds.” We have all heard this one at some point in our lives, and we hear it personally from people we know when we are going through times of grieving over the loss of someone we care about. They want us to have hope that we won’t have to deal with this ache in our hearts forever. How true is it though? Well I don’t know about anyone else, but I think back to all the bad breakups I have had and loved ones I have lost and I realize that the truth is that it’s still often very hard. We may never fully get over losing someone, but instead we learn to cope with the heart ache and carry the memories of them and we can smile as we think of them, and that helps move us along with our lives.

8. “Success comes with hard work.” Working hard to achieve your goals may often be a key component for being successful, but I have also learned that there’s a little more to it than that. Sometimes people are hard working for years and never get anywhere. Then there are people who never lift a finger and get lucky. I’m not saying hard work doesn’t matter, but along with it is networking and people skills, the right connections,  help from a variety of people you know, and a little bit of opportunism. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image — Flickr/Haley

About the author

Ashley Pariseau

Relationships writer. No bs advice for women. DamesThatKnow.com

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