To the Class of 2012 致2012的毕业生

To the Class of 2012 致2012的毕业生



To the Class of 2012 致2012的毕业生 ByBRET STEPHENS(华尔街日报)

Dear Class of 2012, 2012年毕业的你:

Allow me to be the first one not to congratulate you. Through exertions thatlet's be honestwere probably less than heroic, most of you have spent the last few years getting inflated grades in useless subjects in order to obtain a debased degree. Now you're entering a lousy economy, courtesy of the very president whom you, as freshmen, voted for with such enthusiasm. Please spare us the self-pity about how tough it is to look for a job while living with your parents. They're the ones who spent a fortune on your education only to get you back return-to-sender, forwarding address unknown.


No doubt some of you have overcome real hardships or taken real degrees. A couple of years ago I hired a summer intern from West Point. She came to the office directly from weeks of field exercises in which she kept a bulletproof vest on at all times, even while sleeping. She writes brilliantly and is as self-effacing as she is accomplished. Now she's in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban.


If you're like that intern, please feel free to feel sorry for yourself. Just remember she doesn't. 如果你也像那个实习生一样,你有权利对你的生活觉得不满。但请记住,她从来没有那么想过。

Unfortunately, dear graduates, chances are you're nothing like her. And since you're no longer children, at least officially, it's time someone tells you the facts of life. The other facts. 但是亲爱的毕业生们,也许你们远没有达到她的成就。你们已然不是小孩儿了,至少现在有人该告诉你一些关于人生的实情了。一些其他的实情。

Fact One is that, in our knowledge-based economy, knowledge counts. Yet here you are, probably the least knowledgeable graduating class in history. 首先要说的是,在这个知识决定命运的经济环境中,知识依然是很受重视的。但可惜你们也许是这么多年来最缺乏知识的一届毕业生。

A few months ago, I interviewed a young man with an astonishingly high GPA from an Ivy League university and aspirations to write about Middle East politics. We got on the subject of the Suez Crisis of 1956. He was vaguely familiar with it. But he didn't know who was president of the United States in 1956. And he didn't know who succeeded that president. 几个月前,我面试了一个从常春藤盟校毕业,有一个GPA高得令人发指的男生。他想写作关于中东政治方面的文章,于是我们开始谈论1956年的苏伊士运河危机(注:第二次中东战争)。他只是大概知道这桩历史事件,但完全不了解谁是当时的美国总统,以及他的继任者是谁。

Pop quiz, Class of '12: Do you? 突击检查一下,12届毕业生们,你们知道吗?

Many of you have been reared on the clich that the purpose of education isn't to stuff your head with facts but to teach you how to think. Wrong. I routinely interview college students, mostly from top schools, and I notice that their brains are like old maps, with lots of blank spaces for the uncharted terrain. It's not that they lack for motivation or IQ. It's that they can't connect the dots when they don't know where the dots are in the first place. 人们一直说教育的目的不是灌输式地记忆,而是学习如何思考。乱扯。在我长期面试在校生的印象中,我发觉许多面试者的思维就像古旧的地图一般,有许多区域是因为没有认知而空白着的。很多情况下我觉得他们并不是缺乏动机或是智力不足,而是当他们根本不知道知识从何而来的时候,无法建立知识点间的联系。

Now to Fact Two: Your competition is global. Shape up. Don't end your days like a man I met a few weeks ago in Florida, complaining that Richard Nixon had caused his New York City business to fail by opening up China. 现在让我们来谈谈第二桩事实:你们所面对的竞争是国际化的。努力吧,别像我前两天在佛罗里达所遇到的那个商人一样,在你的余生中抱怨是尼克松总统对中国开放的政策悔了他曾经在纽约的业务。

In places like Ireland, France, India and Spain, your most talented and ambitious peers are graduating into economies even more depressed than America's. Unlike you, they probably speak several languages. They may also have a degree in a hard science or engineeringskills that transfer easily to the more remunerative jobs in investment banks or global consultancies. 在像爱尔兰、法国、印度和西班牙这样的地方,你们不乏天赋与目标的同龄人正在一个更糟糕的经济环境中毕业。与你们不同的是,他们也许会说许多种语言,并拥有一个科学或工程方面的学位。他们的能力或许更容易帮助他们找到一份薪酬丰厚的类似于投行或咨询业的工作。

I know a lot of people like this from my neighborhood in New York City, and it's a good thing they're so well-mannered because otherwise they'd be eating our lunch. But if things continue as they are, they might soon be eating yours. 在我在纽约工作的地方附近,有许多这样的人。万幸他们仍然保持着应有的礼节,所以我们并没有感受到来自他们的压力。然而如果经济环境继续这么发展下去,也许他们马上就会开始抢你们的饭碗了。

Which reminds me of Fact Three: Your prospective employers can smell BS from miles away. And most of you don't even know how badly you stink. 这让我联想起了我想说的第三桩事情:你未来的老板对于夸夸其谈的想法早有察觉。但你们中的许多甚至不知道你们的想法有多糟。

When did puffery become the American way? Probably around the time Norman Mailer came out with Advertisements for Myself. But at least that was in the service of provoking an establishment that liked to cultivate an ideal of emotional restraint and public reserve. 从什么时候起连美国人也开始靠吹牛而活了?也许是始于诺曼梅勒的《给自己的广告》。但至少那本书是为了动员人们培养个人节操以及参与社会公益活动。

To read through your CVs, dear graduates, is to be assaulted by endless Advertisements for Myself. Here you are, 21 or 22 years old, claiming to have accomplished feats in past summer internships or at your school newspaper that would be hard to credit in a biography of Walter Lippmann or Ernie Pyle. 毕业生们,当我阅读你们的简历时,我所看见的只是无穷无尽的给自己的广告。你们在21、22岁时所完成的一切,不管来自你上个夏天的实习或是在学校校报的工作,甚至已经超出沃尔特李普曼和厄尼派尔(注:均为非常有名的作家,普利策奖得主)在他们自传中对他们自己的描述了。

If you're not too bright, you may think this kind of nonsense goes undetected; if you're a little brighter, you probably figure everyone does it so you must as well. 也许你愚蠢地认为这种吹嘘并不会为人们所发觉,或者你自作聪明地认为既然大家都在这么做你也必须从众一下。

But the best of you don't do this kind of thing at all. You have an innate sense of modesty. You're confident that your rsum needs no embellishment. You understand that less is more. 但是你最好的那一面绝不会做这样的事情。最初你内心是很谦逊的。你无需在简历中标榜自己,并对此有足够的信心。你懂什么是少即是多。

In other words, you're probably capable of thinking for yourself. And here's Fact Four: There will always be a market for people who can do that. 从另一个角度说,你也许有自我思考的能力。这是我想说的第四件事情:对于能自我思考的人而言,市场的需求永远存在。

In every generation there's a strong tendency for everyone to think like everyone else. But your generation has an especially bad case, because your mass conformism is masked by the appearance of mass nonconformism. It's a point I learned from my West Point intern, when I asked her what it was like to lead such a uniformed existence. 对于每一代人而言,人云亦云的问题是很普遍的。但对于你们这代人来说,这个问题尤其严重,因为你们的大量的从众行为大多带上了不走寻常路的伪装。这是我与我西点军校的实习生聊到她带领规定练习的经验时所学到的。

Her answer stayed with me. Wearing a uniform, she said, helped her figure out what it was that really distinguished her as an individual. 她的回答让我印象深刻。她说,穿着统一的制服,反而让她理解到自己与其他人的不同之处。

Now she's a second lieutenant, leading a life of meaning and honor, figuring out how to Think Different for the sake of a cause that counts. Not many of you will be able to follow in her precise footsteps, nor do you need to do so. But if you can just manage to tone down your egos, shape up your minds, and think unfashionable thoughts, you just might be able to do something worthy with your lives. And even get a job. Good luck! 现在她已经是一个有着对生活的理想和荣耀的少尉了,而且她有对自己生活意义的独到见解。你们中也许没多少人能完全像她一样,当然也没有必要像她一样。但是如果你能够放下自我中心的想法,多独立思考,也许在你的生命中你能够做出些不枉此生的事情。甚至找到一份工作。加油吧!


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  • 谈判的确是较高段位的商务活动。如果你有机会参与谈判,而且还是跟国外公司谈判,恭喜你,你获得了一个很好的证明自己的机会!


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