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:

  1. Go above and beyond and be helpful whenever you can.
  2. When you spot a problem, suggest solutions to it rather than just identifying it.
  3. 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.
  4. Help out your colleagues without being asked.
  5. Make your boss look good. But if your boss isn’t in your corner you’re doomed and you need to find another job.
  6. Don’t outshine your team and always give credit to others.
  7. Procrastination holds us back but can also be a great motivator.
  8. Trust your gut when it comes to knowing when it’s time to move on from a position.
  9. It will sometimes feel like you can never be replaced at a job but you can and you will be.
  10. You are not defined by your job. Your success is much more than your job title or how much money you make.
  11. 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.
  12. Do the worst first. One of my bosses said this to me and it’s really resonated.
  13. 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.
  14. Ask people you respect for constructive feedback and really listen to it and act on it.
  15. Listening is one of the most important qualities for success.
  16. Don’t be afraid to take risks, you can always go back to the familiar.
  17. Don’t get caught up in office politics, drama or gossip. Remain neutral and focus on your work.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Always trust your gut. Always.

What advice would you add?