Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Career Advice You Should Never Offer Or Accept

Giving advice is fraught with potential pitfalls. Mostly, people don’t want your unvarnished take on a given situation, they want you to help them confirm their bias in the most soothing way possible. But not all career counsel is created equal. Whether you’re on the giving or the receiving end, there are a few platitudes that should be permanently shelved. Don’t parrot them and if someone offers one up, you have my permission to consult a Magic 8-Ball instead.

“Pursuing your passion should take precedence.”
I’m going to get heat for this, but I cringe almost every time I hear some self-styled guru or coach urging their followers to ditch an unfulfilling career in order to chase their nebulously-defined dreams. Yes, you should probably find a way to get out of a job that is causing you acute physical and emotional distress or requires you to jeopardize your health and safety or disregard your moral code. But what if it just doesn’t make your soul sing? There may be people out there who feel passionate about direct marketing or doing payroll, but just because you aren’t one of them doesn’t mean that you or your job are broken. The advice that if you don’t feel wildly inflamed about going to work every day it should be taken as a red flag that you’re doing it wrong is bunk. Maybe work fills a hole in your soul or maybe it fills your bank account and gives you the freedom to follow up other interests on your own time. Encouraging people to leave behind stability (especially in this economy) for something more, without having defined what that something more is and putting in place a solid (and resourced) transition plan that will take them from drudgery to bliss is irresponsible. If someone tosses this platitude your way and doesn’t follow it up with questions or guidance about minimizing risk during the transition, write them off as an out-of-touch airhead.

“Have you discussed this with…?”  Read the Rest of the Forbes Article

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