53 Things I Learned My First 52 Weeks in Corporate


1. Your job is different from your career

2. Good leaders support, great leaders elevate

3. Meritocracy is a myth

4. Don't trust anyone who places a meeting on your calendar past 3pm on a Friday

5. Take care of your coworkers who you feel comfortable sending GIFs too

I was surprised that:

6. Corporate moves slow

7. A learner is preferred over a knower

8. Completing 100% at 80% is better than completing 80% at 100%

9. Everyone is figuring it out as they go

Others might've thought this was obvious, but:

10. You're losing money if you're not taking advantage of your company's 401K match

11. Over-communicate

12. If you're a consultant, don't waste your time trying to explain to your friends and family what you do for work

13. Use all of your PTO

14. Keep proof of your accomplishments

15. Negotiate your salary

What they don't teach you in school is:

16. The "CC" line of your email is a political territory

17. Storytelling is an important skill

18. If you don't have anything to say in a meeting, at least repeat someone else's words, but don't stay silent

19. There's no such thing as a "perfect" job

20. Dumb questions do exist - but not all dumb questions have to sound dumb

21. Corporate uses a lot of graphic idioms (cut throat, double-edged sword, take a stab at it, cut to the chase......)

22. It's always better to overdress than to underdress

It was hard to accept, but:

23. Your company is not your "family"

24. You'll never regret packing lunch to work and not spending money on Sweetgreen

25. Say no more often

26. You're not going to love everyone you work with, but you do owe everyone the same respect

Over and over again, I learned that people still matter most:

27. Write down the names of people's spouse, children, pet(s) and call them by their name

28. You can climb up the ladder without a mentor, you can't climb up without a sponsor

29. The most important W in business acumen is not What, When, Where, or Why - it's Who

30. There's a difference between the word "people" and the word "resources"

31. Gen Z's are worth studying

32. A simple "thank you" email after a coffee-chat/networking-call goes a long way and not a lot of people do it

I learned some new "skills" too:

33. If you want something fast, CC their boss

34. Ctrl(+) lets you zoom in on someone else's screen share in Teams meetings

35. Everyone likes hearing their name

36. Words matter in sales - consultants are an "investment", not a "cost"

37. I strongly believe there is a better way to source consulting candidates than the traditional case interview method

38. Always hold your drink with your left hand, so you can shake hands with your right hand

And some life lessons:

39. You're as confident as you tell yourself you are

40. "You gain power by giving away power"

41. Banana Republic has the best work pants

42. Comparison is the thief of joy and a waste in time

43. Microwaved leftovers taste best when you eat them while working

44. Strictly speaking from a technical standpoint, nothing is 100% anonymous

45. Over drinking never looks good

46. "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room"

But most importantly, I learned:

47. Be faithful in all that you do

48. Be excellent

49. Turn on your "private mode" on LinkedIn

50. Have a life outside of work

51. It's okay to have 3 cups of coffee before noon

52. With no doubt, I could not have asked for a better place to spend my very first 52 weeks in corporate, than at Slalom Consulting