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Entering the Real World


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Table of Contents

Introduction vii We All Start Out the Same vii Credit for the Ideas in This Book ix How this Book Evolved ix Feedback Is Welcome x Foreword xi Dedication xiii Acknowledgments xiii Chapter 1. Entering the Real World 1 1. Welcome! 1 2. How You Will Benefit 2 3. How to Use This Book 3 Read Material in Any Order 3 Idea Numbers, "Takeaway," "Take Action!" and "Takeaway Summary" 3 About Searching the World Wide Web 4 Should You Buy or Rent Recommended Resources? 5 Disclaimers 5 Chapter 2. If You Are Still in School 7 4. Looking for a Career? 7 5. Start Preparing Now for the Real World 8 Develop an Impressive Resume 8 Develop an Impressive Cover Letter 10 Build Your People Network 11 Build Relationships with Teachers 12 Create a Portfolio of Accomplishments 12 Protect Your Computer Files 13 6. Set Salary Expectations 14 7. Introverts and Extroverts 15 8. Boost Your Vocabulary and Writing Skills 16 9. The Lost Art of True Browsing 16 10. Learn from What You Have Already Accomplished 17 11. Common Mistakes While Still in School 17 Takeaway Summary 18 Chapter 3. Think for Yourself 19 12. A Joy of Adulthood: Thinking for Yourself 19 13. Don't Categorize People; Everyone Has a Story 20 14. Choice and Opportunity in America 21 15. Gratitude 22 16. It's True! A Positive Attitude Helps 23 17. Live Your Life, Not Someone Else's 23 18. Find Mentors of All Ages 24 19. Intellectual Honesty 25 20. "I Don't Know" and "I Made a Mistake" 26 21. Examples to Challenge Your Thinking for Yourself 26 Who Are Your Friends and Why? 26 How Did You Arrive at Your Political Views? 27 Is Climate Change Happening? You Bet! But Why and How? 28 A Lighter Side of Conservatives and Liberals 31 22. Follow the Money 31 23. Be Careful with False Alternatives 32 24. Be Careful with Statistics 32 25. Failure as a Learning Tool 33 26. Two Poems for Tough Times 34 27. Common Mistakes While Learning to Think for Yourself 35 Takeaway Summary 35 Chapter 4. Communicating with Others and Yourself 37 28. What Do You Mean? Define Your Terms 37 Example: What Is Progress? 39 Example: What Are Capitalism, Communism and Socialism? 40 29. How Do You Know You Are Right? 41 30. All Facts Are Opinions; Not All Opinions Are Facts 42 31. When Are the Masses Right? 43 32. The Great Silencer: "Whose Problem Is It?" 44 33. Abraham Lincoln and the Cow's Tail 44 34. Who Has the Risk in an Outcome? 45 35. Should You Write, Call, Meet, Send an Email, Text, Send a Video? 46 36. Relationships47 A Thought on Marriage: "Communication and Common Interests" 47 Nip It in the Bud 47 "Please" and "Thank You" 48 37. Conflict Resolution48 38. What Are Your News Sources and Why? 49 39. Advertising's Impact on Your Life 50 40. Look People in the Eye 50 41. Common Mistakes in Communications 50 Takeaway Summary 51 Chapter 5. Entering and Adjusting to the Workplace 53 42. Interviewing 53 Before an Interview 53 During an Interview 55 Types of Questions to Ask During an Interview 56 Closing an Interview with Power and Conviction 57 Ask for the Job! 58 After an Interview 58 If You Don't Get the Job 59 43. Getting Great Reference Letters 60 44. Side Bar: When Asking for Favors 60 45. Getting Great Raises 61 46. Negotiating for the Win-Win 62 47. Protect Your Most Valuable Asset in the Real World 64 48. Define Your Ideal Company 65 What Kind of Company Do You Want to Work With? 65 What Kind of Leadership Do You Want? 65 Understand a Company's or Organization's Culture and Traditions 66 The Intellectual Property Agreement 67 49. How to Get Ahead at Work 67 50. How to Prepare Impactful Reports and Presentations 68 51. Lose the Excuses! 69 52. Advance One Job or Position at a Time 70 53. People Skills vs. Technical Skills: Which Is Harder to Develop? 71 54. Accountability 71 55. The 80-20 Rule 72 56. Legal Matters 72 57. Volunteering 73 58. Common Mistakes When Entering and Adjusting to the Workplace 73 Takeaway Summary 73 Chapter 6. Life's Situations with Challenging Personalities 75 59. Working alongside Different Personalities 75 60. Meet a Gruff and Generally Unpleasant Person 76 61. Meet an Unhappy, Complaining Coworker 76 62. Meet Someone Who Wants to Steal Software or Other Company Assets 77 63. Meet Someone Who Follows a Different Religion 78 64. Meet Someone with a Mental Illness 78 65. What Indicates a Mental Illness? 79 66. Meet Many Other Personalities 79 67. If Someone Close to You Dies or Leaves 80 68. Look for a Win-Win 81 69. Common Mistakes in Life's Situations with Challenging Personalities 81 Takeaway Summary 82 Chapter 7. Personal Improvement 83 70. A Perspective on Personal Improvement 83 71. Building Self-Esteem 84 72. Positive Self-Talk, or What Do You Think of Yourself? 86 73. Determine Your Strengths and Weaknesses 87 74. Goal Setting 87 75. "The Stress of Life" 88 76. Use a To-Do List 89 77. "Good" and "Bad" Judgment 90 78. Set Personal Boundaries and Expectations 91 79. Dignity, Honor and Respect 92 80. Impossible vs. Possible vs. Hard 92 81. Would You Guarantee Your Work? 93 82. Yet There Are No Guarantees in Life 93 83. Ignorance and Awareness 94 84. Common Words and Phrases to Reconsider 95 "Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda" vs. "Next Time" 95 "I Have to" vs. "I Choose to" 96 Accept Compliments Graciously 96 "Are You Sure?" 96 Don't "Try" - Just Do! 96 "Good" and "Bad" 97 Pride 97 85. The Ben Franklin Decision Tool 98 86. Common Mistakes in Personal Improvement 99 Takeaway Summary 99 Chapter 8. Time Management 101 87. Be a Hero: Save People Time! 101 88. How to Easily Be More 10% Productive Than Your Co-Workers 102 89. Urgency and Importance 102 90. Balance in Life 103 91. What Are Your Productive Times of the Day? 103 92. Respect Your Own Time 104 93. Time IS Money! 104 94. Time-Saving Filing Tip 105 95. Common Mistakes in Time Management 105 Takeaway Summary 105 Chapter 9. A View of Corporate America 107 96. The Main Reason for This Chapter 107 97. What Is "Corporate America?" 107 98. Perceptions of Corporate America 108 99. A Look at One Company in Corporate America 109 100. Does Corporate America Rip You Off? 110 101. Risk and Reward 111 102. What Is Fair Compensation? 112 103. "Your Fair Share" 114 104. Greed and "Free" 114 105. What Should Companies Do with Their Profits? 115 106. If You Have a Complaint with a Company 116 107. "Last Chance to Send $1.00!" 117 108. Common Mistakes about Corporate America 117 Takeaway Summary 117 Chapter 10. Wealth, Finances and Investing 119 109. What Is Wealth? 119 110. Wants vs. Needs 121 111. Setting Your Wealth Bar 121 112. How to Start Saving Money 122 113. How to Increase Your Savings Account Balance Quickly 123 114. The Power of Compound Interest 124 115. But Later the Money Won't Be Worth Much! 125 116. Keep a Budget 125 117. Budgeting Tools 126 118. Key Ideas for a Budget 127 119. Learn Economics in One Short Lesson 129 120. Cash and Credit Card Management 132 121. Your Credit Report and Credit Score 133 123. Investing in the Stock Market 133 124. William J. O'Neil and CAN SLIM (R) Investing 134 125. Getting Started with the CAN SLIM (R) Investment System 135 126. An Example of a Successful Stock 136 127. Common Mistakes about Wealth, Finance and Investing 136 Takeaway Summary 137 Chapter 11. Thinking of Your Own Small Business? 139 128. Thinking of Starting Your Own Small Business? 139 129. Naming and Branding Your Company 140 130. Acquire Business Skills 141 131. Focus: What Is Your Niche? 142 132. Teamwork 142 133. Profit: What It Is, What It's for 142 134. Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, LLC or DBA? 143 135. Assorted General Ideas That (Eventually) Worked 143 Sales Strategies that Work 144 Help Customers Become Self-Sufficient 144 Short, Crisp Proposals 145 Eliminate Time Wasters 145 The Purpose of a Written Contract 147 Business Modeling 148 Sales Projections 148 Maintaining Contact with Prospects and Customers149 Following Up on Sales Proposals 149 Luck in Business 150 Quality vs. Price 150 "Each Word Costs $1.00" 151 136. Assorted Custom Programming Business Ideas That (Eventually) Worked 151 Bring Two Copies of Anything You Install 151 One Way to Pay Programmers 151 CoDevelopment 152 Requirements Analysis First, Then a Fixed-Price Quote153 137. If You Want to Raise Your Rates 154 138. Common Mistakes in Starting and Running a Business 154 Takeaway Summary 154 Chapter 12. Suggested Videos 156 139. Why These Videos? 156 140. Steve Jobs - Commencement Address at Stanford University, 2005 156 141. Susan Cain - The Power of Introverts156 142. Dr. Kelly McGonical - How to Make Stress Your Friend 156 143. Overuse of Mobile Phones? 157 144. A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work 157 145. Hans Rosling - 200 Countries, 200 Years 157 146. Harold Evans - Who Really Invented the Franchise? 157 Chapter 13. Dealing with a Mental Illness 158 147. About Mental Illnesses 158 Mood Tracking 159 Sleep 159 Taking Medications 159 Help from Family and Friends 160 In Case of Emergency 160 Dating 160 148. Side Bar: What Makes Us Human? 160 149. Side Bar: A Challenge to the Next Generation 161 Chapter 14. Venturing Out 162 150. How Do You Proceed from Here? 162 References 165 Feedback Is Welcome! 169 Index 170

About the Author

David Kramer sold his custom software business in 2000, beginning a teaching career to help the next generation take its place in the world. Overcoming a BSc in Mathematics (Phi Beta Kappa) and an M.Sc. in Computer Science (with honors), he has climbed all fifty-four of Colorado's 14,000-foot mountains. David lives in Denver, Colorado.


David Kramer's book is a truly wonderful tool for young adults--it's like a literary Swiss Army Knife. With tips, resources, and calls to action on topics like building effective people skills, figuring out your ideal career, and managing money, this book has everything you need to be prepared and successful in the real world. I wish I had been given the gift of this book when I was younger! -- Dr. Allison Friederichs, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at University College of the University of Denver
I imagine using Entering the Real World in the following ways: 1. Give it to my nephews and nieces as a gift while they are in college. 2. Have a copy of my own for me. 3. Direct students who talk with me about advising/life to read specific chapters. 4. I can envision a reading/discussion club meeting and talking through sections, perhaps a chapter per week. There is a lot of really great information and advice in Entering the Real World. Every college-aged young adult, in fact everyone regardless of age, will see helpful ideas and find new perspectives to digest and to use. The format is great! Whether you are looking for advice in one specific area or want advice across all aspects of life, you can find it here! -- Dr. Diane Davis, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Metropolitan State University of Denver
David Kramer's Entering the Real World ~ Timeless Ideas Not Taught in School provides a myriad of resources, handy tools, and thought-provoking questions for self-reflection on topics that will directly impact students at all levels and different stages in life! The book is a fast read that connects the reader with insightful and valuable information just when they need it most. As a former high school counselor and current university supervisor of student teachers, I highly recommend this book and plan to incorporate material from Entering the Real World in my seminars. Excellent resource! -- Carey Sanchez, University Supervisor for the School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder
Our brains would say that a list of ideas numbering one hundred and fifty could not be eloquent, but David Kramer has proven otherwise. Entering the Real World is full of straightforward, though often unspoken, life tips and measurable steps to implement them--all while being very easy to navigate. This book will change lives. -- Peter Hettinger, Captain and Pilot, US Air Force (former)
"Entering the Real World offers a comprehensive collection of answers to questions that most of us have after leaving college, like 'NOW what do I do?!' David Kramer has the ability to relate to his students not only as a teacher, but as someone they can trust with the tough situations they will face upon entering the 'real world.' He has found practical solutions to help them navigate in and adjust to the unknown environment after graduating. But what makes this book so authentic is David's ability to relate on a personal level, divulging the mistakes he has made and the challenges he has faced along the way. Sharing his personal experiences emphasizes the idea that no challenge is too difficult to overcome and anything life throws at us can be turned into success." -- Chrissie Hodges, Public Speaker/Mental Health Advocate, Radio Host, "The Stigma of Mental Illness Radio"
Never before have I seen so many of life's great lessons synthesized into so many easily digestible and well-explained chunks, all in a single easy-to-follow book! I would recommend Entering the Real World for adults of every age and not just those in college or entering the real world-whatever "real world" means in our ever-changing times. If you really pay attention to all the great lessons and advice Mr. Kramer has in his book, you will be incredibly prepared to be successful in a great variety of pursuits, from work to relationships to anything about which you are passionate. Definitely keep this book handy at all times because you will always find yourself referencing several of its many lessons, all of which can be found in the very extensive table of contents. This book very nicely-and incredibly thoroughly-fills in the gaps that are missing from your formal college education. -- Tim Davis, Webmaster, Environmental Protection Agency, Section 8, Mathematics Instructor, Columbia College
An easy read, Entering the Real World: - Boils down large and complex topics into a few short, meaningful paragraphs. - Explains not only the obvious, but the hidden, important ideas you learn later in life. - Has a great cross-section of topics discussed concisely. - Doesn't shy away from hard issues. - Is honest and caring and gives credit where due. - Has exciting stories! - Is useful not only for students, but as a refresher course for any job hunter. -- Krystyna Maliniak, president, Floatingtouch, Inc.
I've known David Kramer for decades and have seen him in action as an excellent teacher and a clear and enthusiastic communicator. His Entering the Real World strikes me as a terrific resource, full of great ideas for people to use at all ages and career stages. It's a must-have for college students graduating and entering the work force, and is full of lessons and advice also relevant to people well along in their careers. David writes from the heart as well as the brain, making this an easy, valuable and enjoyable read. -- Jerry Rudisin, former Vice President of Marketing and three-time CEO of Silicon Valley startup software companies
Entering the Real World, by David Kramer, contains the kinds of advice that most people follow only after paying some tuition in the "School of Hard Knocks." If you are leaving the sheltered world of home and school to take on the complexities and wonders of the "Real World" you will be glad to get the straightforward, practical advice offered. There is career advice, from how to interview well to how to negotiate a raise. There is relationship advice, including how to deal with difficult co-workers, and people who have mental illnesses. There is financial advice, from how to budget well, to how to invest well. There is no shortage of excellent quotations from the world's sages and philosophers. All of the topics are covered in an overview style, citing plenty of references and links to more in-depth information. You'll be pleasantly surprised by what a quick, easy read this books is, and you'll be thankful for the information, especially if you value the wisdom of experienced, wise mentors. -- Joan Janis, Communications Specialist
Most of us learn these lessons the hard way, wishing we had known the answers earlier on before we made mistakes. The lucky ones, however, will acquire much of this knowledge early on from a wise mentor. Consider yourself lucky, because in the pages that lie ahead you are about to learn many of life's important lessons... (quoted from the foreword) -- Bruce Nault, Student
Entering the Real World is everything else you need to know that they don't teach you in school. It dispels with the idea that there is one true secret to success and focuses on the real controllable factors that will allow you to flourish and succeed in your professional world. -- Jacquelyn Melcher, College Graduate
This wonderful book helps lighten the difficult transition from college student to a professional and provides road-tested tips to great achievements in the workplace. My two favorite takeaways are "Time is money" and "It's okay to say 'I don't know'." I learned that smart and efficient work brings success, and more importantly, that I get to define success on my own terms. This book is a "must read" for any student. -- Gwen Hoang, Student
Entering the Real World helps those who want to be successful in life. This book provides the tools to think for yourself and become an effective communicator in college and beyond. It is a motivational guide that inspires me to become the best I can be in today's world. -- Luke Faulkner, Student
Entering the Real World gave me the confidence and education I needed to be successful in my professional life. After reading it, I was able to start budgeting and saving immediately for the long-term while managing current expenses, something I never was able to do before. This book will encourage and empower you and is a must read for today's young people. -- Rachel Martinez, Student

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