Career advice is cheap. Whether or not you actually ask them, well-meaning people will always try to tell you what to do. Unfortunately, not all career advice is good. In fact, some of it is downright bad. Here are the ten worst pieces of career advice you should ignore:
1. Just take a job for now, even if you do not want it.
This is never a good idea unless you are desperate for money. This is unfair to both you and your employer. By forcing yourself into a job that’s not a good match, you will be unmotivated and unhappy; or you will quit as soon as possible and be labeled a “job-hopper”, which can damage your reputation.
2. Take the job that pays the most.
Money cannot buy happiness. Although everyone wants be well-compensated, a paycheck is not all that matters. There are other things to consider, such as job duties, benefit packages, company culture, work/life balance, and opportunities for advancement. Money will not matter if you are stuck in an otherwise unpleasant job.
3. Get a career doing something you are good at.
You are probably good at many different things. Being good at something is not the sole reason to take a job. You can be great at something and still not enjoy it or find any purpose in it. If you’re an excellent driver, does that mean you should drive a cab for a living? Most people are happier in jobs where they can use their talents to explore their passions.
4. Work hard and you’ll get promoted.
Employers are concerned with the value you bring to the company, not how hard you work. Being promoted is never guaranteed. If you want more responsibility, step up and take on more. By staying at your desk and quietly working hard all day, you are sending the message that you have all the responsibility you can handle.
5. Whatever you do, don’t rock the boat.
If you want to excel at work, you need to get noticed. By thinking outside the box, you become an asset to your employer, so don’t be afraid to look for better ways to do business and take on different projects. Just because your company operates in a particular way does not mean it is the best way, so get creative and question the status quo.
6. Follow your passion, and the money will follow.
Doing work you love is important, but that doesn’t mean you will be compensated well for it. Your passion needs to meet a need or solve a problem if it is going to sell. You must also be skilled in some aspect of your passion – selling it, writing about it, teaching it – to make money off of it. Instead of focusing on passion alone, take into account your natural strengths and what energizes you. The intersection where your passions, talents, and what the world needs meets is the “sweet spot” where you will be able to make money.
7. Stay where you are comfortable.
Being comfortable does not mean you have found the right job. Comfort often leads to boredom and apathy. Job satisfaction is highest when you use your skills and creativity to do something you enjoy. Find a place where you are challenged and have continued opportunities to learn and grow. It may not be comfortable, but it will be more rewarding.
8. Get yourself a real job.
What is a “real” job anyway? One person’s idea of a real job may be totally different from your own idea. Is working as a freelance writer a “fake” job? What about delivering pizzas part-time? Work is work, and whatever work you do is your real job. It may or may not be what you aspire to do forever, but do not discount it because you or others do not label it as a real job. There are valuable lessons to be learned in all jobs, “real” or not.
9. Take whatever salary you are offered.
Most employers have a range in mind that they will pay, and what they offer is usually on the lower end of the range. This is because they expect you to negotiate your salary. Don’t be overly demanding, but don’t be afraid to ask for more either. They may counter your suggestion, but at least it will still be better than their original offer.
10. Don’t quit your job, even if you hate it.
Long gone are the days when you worked at the same company for forty years and then retired. Life is too short to stay at a job you despise. Because unhappiness is hard to compartmentalize, it tends to spill over into other areas of your life, affecting your health and your relationships. If you find you are unhappy at your job, start looking for something else. Chances are you will find something that not only suits you better, but will improve your overall quality of life.
When it comes to your career, only you know what is best. Listen to your instincts and make the decisions that are right for you.
Featured photo credit: mast3r via depositphotos.com