1950s ideal employee qualities: show up on time, work for 40hours, help others, leave before 5 years and there is something wrong with you.
Vonnegut addresses the graduating class at Fredonia College in New York on May 20, 1978. Taken from If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young.
I suppose you will all want money and true love, among other things. I will tell you how to make money: work very hard. I will tell you how to win love: wear nice clothing and smile all the time. Learn the words to all the latest songs.
What other advice can I give you? Eat lots of bran to provide necessary bulk in your diet. The only advice my father ever gave me was this: “Never stick anything in your ear.” The tiniest bones in your body are inside your ears, you know — and your sense of balance, too. If you mess around with your ears, you could not only become deaf, but you could also start falling down all the time. So just leave your ears completely alone. They’re fine, just the way they are.
Don’t murder anybody — even though New York State does not use the death penalty.
That’s about it.