I’m seeing a lot of photos of kids returning to school holding their signs so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon.
When I did the calculation of how many days I’ve been working full time I was a bit surprised.
Since I graduated from New York University I’ve worked roughly 5720 days(!). Now that’s only estimating that I’ve only worked M-F, which of course I haven’t.
My first law firm job was at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP where I was hired to be a writer and oversee the alumni program. It was a supportive, collegial environment filled with brilliant people who were kind and generous with their time.
I met my mentor Wendy Bernero there who saw something special in me and from whom I learned so much. With her help, my career took off.
As I reflect upon the fact that I’ve worked almost 6000 days of my life, many of which were spent at law firms, I’ve learned a few things, including:
- Go above and beyond and be helpful whenever you can.
- When you spot a problem, suggest solutions to it rather than just identifying it.
- It’s OK to not have all the answers. It’s OK to say I’ll get back to you or I don’t know.
- Help out your colleagues without being asked.
- Make your boss look good. But if your boss isn’t in your corner you’re doomed and you need to find another job.
- Don’t outshine your team and always give credit to others.
- Procrastination holds us back but can also be a great motivator.
- Trust your gut when it comes to knowing when it’s time to move on from a position.
- It will sometimes feel like you can never be replaced at a job but you can and you will be.
- You are not defined by your job. Your success is much more than your job title or how much money you make.
- Spend time with those you love. You can miss out on so many moments if you don’t make an effort to find balance in your life.
- Do the worst first. One of my bosses said this to me and it’s really resonated.
- You will fail, do you even may get fired or asked to leave a job, but it does not define your success. Don’t dwell on setbacks and instead look to the future.
- Ask people you respect for constructive feedback and really listen to it and act on it.
- Listening is one of the most important qualities for success.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks, you can always go back to the familiar.
- Don’t get caught up in office politics, drama or gossip. Remain neutral and focus on your work.
- Happiness isn’t just determined by how much money you make or your job title. Find an environment in which you are challenged and appreciated and excited to work every day.
- You’re interviewing a potential employer as much as they’re interviewing you. Pay attention to any red flags during the interview process – they will inevitably come up later.
- Always trust your gut. Always.
What advice would you add?