With so many career resources available on the internet, it’s impossible not to run into contradictory advice: “Follow the money” and “Do what you love”, or “Don’t be a job hopper” and “Quit if you are not happy with your job”. Some of these pieces of advice can even be detrimental to your career. Not every suggestion will do you good, even if it sounds quite legit. If you hear someone making to you one of the following recommendations, just ignore them:
“Be the first in and the last one out”
This is the kind of advice an exploiting manager or workaholic colleague would give to you. You do have to be a hard worker to advance your career, but neglecting your personal life and need for rest will not do you any favour. Instead of being a valuable asset to your employer, you’ll deliver poor job performance and you’ll probably become deeply unhappy.
“Always say something during a meeting”
Do you know why meetings are so long and nerve-wracking? Because many people follow this piece of advice just to make a good impression on their boss. There are other ways to get involved except for talking at meetings, and everybody will be happier if you use the opportunity to listen when you don’t have anything substantial to say.
“Spend at least one year in every position”
Gone are the days when employees spent their entire career in the same position or at the same company. Keep in mind that most hiring managers are now Millennials, and this generation has a lower average tenure – changing jobs often is not something unusual these days, especially at entry-level.
“Have a 5-year plan”
The idea of having a plan must have come after many hiring managers asked people during interviews this question: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years time”? However, nowadays the job market is changing so fast that it’s impossible to stick to a plan as there are always opportunities you need to see coming. Having plans may prevent you from detecting these opportunities – all you’ll achieve is making a good impression on narrow-minded HR staff during interviews.
“Do what you love”
This is one of the most common pieces of career advice. It may not be a good idea financially, for some. Many people have a hobby and change their career direction thinking they can turn their leisure time passion into an income source, but this is not always possible. For instance, opening your own restaurant just because you like cooking may not be the best idea – one thing is cooking for pleasure, and another is cooking the same dishes every day for dozens of customers. There is no shortcut to career happiness and success, and you need to find something you’re naturally good at and that can make a sustainable career.
Take a moment and be honest with yourself – how many of these bad directions have you followed and did it hurt your career?