Why some career advice is actually quite useless
There is no shortage of advice when it comes to looking for a job. Advice is constantly being sought, and people – for the most part – are happy to offer it. Particularly when you’re starting out, or change careers it is good to talk to others and enlist the help of a mentor.
But, how much advice should you take to heart? Is there advice you’ve been given that just doesn’t seem to fit with the direction you want to take your career? For all the good advice, there is a lot of bad, and some that should be taken with a grain of salt.
Curious to hear the type of advice people discard, I asked friends and colleagues for the least useful career advice they’ve been given. Here are a few of the common phrases that left job seekers disgruntled:
Just be happy you have a job
More than a few people responded resenting the ‘just be happy you have a job’ statement. While there is something to be said for being thankful for having a job, particularly in a difficult market, it shouldn’t stop you from dreaming of moving on. Just be happy you have a job, while holding some merit, sounds a bit defeatist. If you’ve outgrown your job and are looking for more responsibility, or if you completely hate your job and want out, it’s time to start looking for something better suited to your career path or skill set.
Get more experience
Another disheartening phrase is when you get told ‘you don’t have enough experience.’ Experience is gained by doing. There are more than enough examples of people starting their own companies and organizations without an MBA or having been a CEO. You can learn as you go, and some times it’s better to jump in head first than wait for the day someone else thinks you have enough experience. Of course, this is not to say that you can bypass entry-level jobs, or think a job is below your education and skill set. Humility is always a good thing, but think of these jobs as building blocks and keep moving forward.
Don’t push the envelope (Also accepted: Don’t rock the boat)
Don’t push the envelope; you’ll never change anything. Well, that piece of advice is simply not true. In most interviews I’ve had, the employer is interested in hearing about new ideas or different processes. If you’re going to be in any leadership position, part of your job will likely entail coming up with new approaches, and enlisting ideas from colleagues. You never want to override the current company culture, but it is always worth trying to introduce new concepts. Keep in mind though it is less about finding new ways to do things, and more about how you approach the concept.
Do what you love
The last piece of advice I could personally live without is ‘do what you love.’ If I did what I loved my career would change direction every few months. I love to try new things and explore new places. I certainly recommend doing something you enjoy, but a job is work and there will always be situations, tasks, and mandates that don’t fall into the category of things I love to do.
Along with great career advice there will always be advice that doesn’t suit your career path.
What are some of the worst pieces of advice you’ve received?