By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
We have all received career advice
that was less than stellar during the course of our lives. The grim yet universal truth is that, no matter how successful you become, you will never stop receiving it. And you can surely bank on the fact that it will often be wholly unsolicited.
Do yourself a favour and be judicious about the advice that you follow. Lord knows I have made my fair share of mistakes along the way
in my career but I have learned a few tips along the way that can help you avoid duplicating some of them.
1. Ignore your family
This is easily the hardest obstacle to overcome. Unless you have a close family member
who is already succeeding in your chosen field, you would do well to ignore their advice. Clearly, your family loves you and wants the best for you but they may not be in the best position to evaluate your career objectively. Every father wants their kid to become a doctor or a lawyer
and, if your father is anything like mine, he may have no idea what a Data Analyst
or Social Media Manager
does. The very idea of such professions may even terrify him. I spent too much of my career worrying about what my family thought of my career choices rather than doing was actually best for my career.
2. Do not listen to strangers
Don’t take, say, IT
career advice from your dentist or bartender. I can’t emphasise this strongly enough. If you are studying to become a Software Engineer, seek out the advice of experienced software engineers. Don’t be swayed by the opinions of strangers who have no association to what are you looking to achieve. Sure, they may be trying to help but the end result could be much more damaging than anything.
3. Leave Nothing to Chance
Do not – repeat, do not – listen to the person who tells you that opportunity will find you. Don’t worry, the perfect job will come along and tap you on the shoulder. Reality check. In most cases, it won’t. There wouldn’t be any waiters in Los Angeles if this were the case. In an overly competitive world, you need to get out there and force your way through the masses to be recognised. I spent too many years passively waiting for my career to take off without making a concerted effort to make it happen for myself. The only person who is invested in your career is yourself. Make it happen.
4. Second-hand Advice is Trash
If you have a potential career-changing interview at a new company, you may run into people who have relatives or friends who work or have worked at the company
. Smile and nod when they talk to you and then disregard everything that they say. How many times have you heard something like this: My friend’s boyfriend worked there and said it was a really awful place?
As much as this person is trying to help, it does nothing but paint an uninformed picture of something about which they know nothing. Similarly, take any information that you find about said company online with a grain of salt (see Number 2.) The only person who can truly evaluate a possible employer is you.
5. Avoid someone with an agenda
When I started out my career in IT, I was very close to being persuaded to invest countless thousands of dollars into certification for a product that was being touted as the future of the internet. It turned out that the people doing the persuading were representatives of the company that developed and licensed that very product. Thankfully, I was dissuaded from this path by a savvy and caring friend. Within a few years, the product died. And so would have my career.
Ultimately, you need to be stubborn and selfish (traits that some of us harbour naturally…) when it comes to your career. People all around you are going to have their opinions and some will try harder than others to influence you. Just try and keep your wits about you and recognise where good and bad advice comes from.
For any comments regarding this article. You can email Joe Issid at: firstname.lastname@example.org