Time really flies when I look back. I've already been working for 8 years (I started working full-time the day after Memorial Day, 8 years ago). I think I've really become a seasoned veteran, in terms of adapting to the workplace. When I look back on these 8 years, I think I have really been blessed with solid employment (except for a three month period - due to a choice I made due to my youth and inexperience at the time). I have really changed, when I really consider my mindset. In some ways, this is good; in others, not so good.
When I first started working, I was of the opinion of trying to do everything myself. I was enthusiastic and driven, and combined with a sense of self-reliance, I was prepared to carve a straight path through mountains, valleys, rivers, and any other obstacle that may get in the way. While these 8 years have validated my approach, I have learned to leverage the work (modules, packages, libraries, frameworks, etc.) that other people have made and refined, instead of re-inventing the wheel myself. My work has evolved to be less about custom code and hacks, and more about reading the documentation, and making sure to add functionality in a way that can be supported down the road. I think my work has become more refined - instead of carving a straight path through mountains and valleys, I now account for the mountains and valleys, and try to design a path that won't cause landslides later, and hopefully will preserve the beauty in the existing landscape.
These 8 years have also added immensely to my skills. For most things that I am tasked to do, now, I already have an idea of how to do it - this was very different than when I started, though, when I started, I was more driven to explore and learn new things.
Ironically, as my pay and job title increased, my work has actually gotten both easier and funner. I really enjoy my work, being able to work without much micro-management, and working with other very talented people. And, this is all while making more money than ever before, when I was either burdened by very difficult tasks (which, also helped with giving my the experiences I find so valuable today), a long commute, or frustrating co-workers. I really appreciate my current situation, though I recognize that this may not last forever. However, for as long as it lasts, I'll enjoy it.
Finally, I think I am close to taking the next step in life: starting a family.