Welcome, graduating class of 2018, including all seven of you who are with us in the stadium and the 22,000 who are streaming this ceremony in your parents’ basements.
It is an honor to share my thoughts with you on this historic day, and quite an unexpected honor, at that. After all the prominent speakers were disinvited due to protests, death threats, sex scandals and indictments, your university searched for a person with no meaningful opinions, no public engagement, and no gravitas whatsoever. I am proud to say I am that man. Or we are those human. I can never quite remember.
You are graduating into a fascinating and exciting world today. Unlike your parents’ generation, you are entering an economy with more jobs available than people to fill them. This is a powerful benefit for you, as you will need to hold down at least two jobs to make ends meet, or three jobs if your parents decide to charge rent.
Your choice of jobs, or “gigs,” is practically limitless. You can deliver groceries, deliver restaurant meals, deliver e-commerce packages, deliver passengers…just about anything or anyone you want. You can mix and match your gigs according to your interests and work whenever you choose, or whenever you decide it would be a good idea to eat.
The gig economy offers so much more than your parents could have dreamed possible. Your parents were forced to show up at work when the “Boss” wanted the office to open, and they were forced to wear shirts and shoes. Your parents were doomed to trade their lives away in exchange for status and financial security and health insurance and sick days and paid vacation. Today, you are free of those shackles.
No longer are you bound by the limitations of an office or a cubicle. No longer are you restricted by scheduled work hours or the constraints of employers who demand that you accept the health insurance THEY choose to subsidize for you or the 401(k) THEY think best to match. No longer are you required to let anyone know when you are taking a sick day, since you aren’t on anyone’s schedule and nobody is paying for your time.
At long last, you are free to pursue your own dreams, select your own health insurance, choose your own retirement plan, and pay for these benefits with your own money. You are free to choose: Lyft or Uber, Grub Hub or Door Dash, Instacart or Peapod…or all of the above. You are free like no generation before you to select your hours and your screen name and which decals you’ll be slapping on your windshield. Or your bicycle.
Of course, the greatest among you will make your marks by changing the world forever and for the better. You will achieve nothing less than a quantum leap in quality of life for billions of people. And by that, of course, I mean an app. I have no doubt that yours will be the greatest, most downloaded, most influential app in internet history, and your name will be synonymous with genius for generations to come.
A few of you will take a more traditional route by seeking out a “job” with assigned hours, along with benefits forced upon you by “The Man.” Friends might mock you for this retro path, but be strong, as going old school can be very smart.
Since you are a college graduate AND an internet native, you will have unique insights to bestow upon your colleagues. Your wisdom will be prized by everyone whose vision has been limited by actually working inside the company, or within the industry. Your fresh perspective will make it possible to understand the business fully and identify all its flaws within two weeks. After about three weeks, you’ll be ready to present the reorganization plan that will lead to an immediate promotion to CEO, or higher.
Because your talents are so important—and absolutely not the result of that class action suit about graduate job placement—we have added a job fair to today’s ceremony. Within minutes after you receive your diplomas, you can be pursuing your dreams and repaying your student loans, while the university complies with the terms of its consent decree.
The university’s attorneys want you to know this isn’t technically a “jobs” fair, since you will be signing up as “independent contractors” and not “employees.” However, you can sign up for as many “independent contractorships” as you want, with no restrictions on whose product you deliver or when you drive.
And so, graduating class of 2018, congratulations on your milestone achievement and on the contributions you will make to our world. We know you will succeed and that you will make a powerful impact on the lives of millions.
Just as soon as you can afford a car.