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13 Things You Probably Didn’t Learn in School

This weekend our youngest will graduate from college. It’s a big day for him, of course, and a big deal for us, having for some part of the past eight years had either one, two — and for one interesting year, all three — of our children in college at the same time.

Life has many lessons to teach us, some more painful than others. But as my son — and graduates everywhere — look ahead to the next chapter in their lives, it’s a natural time for the rest of us, particularly those of us who are parents, to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

So, for my son — and all the other graduates out there — here are some things I wish I had known when I entered the workforce:

1. If you don’t speak up, people will assume you’re happy with the way things are.

2. If you wouldn’t want your mother to learn about it, don’t do it.

3. Never assume that your employer (or your boss) is looking out for your best interests.

4. You can be liked and respected.

5. Be very careful when using the “Reply All” button.

6. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone “thank you.”

7. Be willing to take all the blame — and to share the credit.

8. Know at least a little about sports and the weather.

9. Never assume that “senior management” knows what they’re doing.

10. Watch your language. People notice people who don’t curse.

11. Sometimes the questions are complicated, but the answers aren’t.

12. That 401(k) match isn’t really “free” money — but it won’t cost you a thing.

13. Plan for your future now because retirement, like graduation, seems a long way off — until it isn’t. 

Congratulations to my son — and all the graduates out there. We’re proud of you!