20-20 Hindsights

Life has many lessons to teach us, some more painful than others. But as graduates everywhere look ahead to the next chapter in their lives, it’s a natural time for the rest of us to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned along the way. 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 okay with the way things are.
2. If you wouldn’t want your mother to learn about it, don’t do it.
3. If your boss doesn’t want to hear the truth, it may be time to look for a new one.
4. Never assume that your employer (or your boss) is looking out for your best interests.
5. You can be liked and respected.
6. Don’t let your boss get blind-sided.
7. Never email in anger – or frustration. And be very careful when using the “Reply All” button.
8. When you don’t have an opinion, “what do you think?” is a good response. And sometimes even when you do have an opinion.
9. Under-promise and over-deliver.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
11. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone “thank you.”
12. Be willing to take all the blame – and to share the credit.
13. Know at least a little about sports and the weather.
14. Never assume that “senior management” knows what they’re doing.
15. Watch your language. People notice people who don’t curse.
16. Sometimes the questions are complicated, but the answers aren’t.
17. It’s better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
18. The “magic of compounding” isn’t really – but it feels like it.
19. That 401(k) match isn’t really “free” money – but it won’t cost you a thing.
20. Plan for your future now because retirement, like graduation, seems a long way off – until it isn’t.

Congratulations to all the graduates out there. We’re proud of you!

Add Your Comments


  1. url url'>Thane Walton
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Good list. Thanks for sharing. I will pass this along to my high school graduate entering ASU next fall.

  2. Nevin E. Adams, JD
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Thane, Congrats to you – and your graduate. Thanks for the kind words.

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