3 min read

3 Pieces of Crappy Career Advice

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”- Henry Ford

If you want it, there is a lot of advice available out there.

Many people stand ready to share what they believe is right.

In my process to find and do work that matters, I’ve heard a lot of people’s opinions on what I should do.

Here are three experiences from receiving bad career advice that I learned a lot from.

1. From the person who is speaking from fear.

When I decided to leave a job to work independently, I was approached by a few people who were concerned. They wondered if I was sure about leaving (I was). They wondered if I had lost my mind leaving such a good job (I hadn’t).

They hadn’t been part of my process though so I understood and appreciated their concern.

What mostly followed were examples of how things could go wrong. Often from their personal experience, always out of fear and worry.

Worry serves no one. And as the saying goes: 90% of the things we worry about never actually happen.

I started wondering, what does ‘go wrong’ even mean? I was prepared and lucky to have a safety network in a worst case scenario. And I was at a point where staying at that job felt far more ‘wrong’ than stepping into a new period of my life.

I’ve seen too many people not dare make moves because they are surrounded by people who talk them out of it.

2. From the person who has not done what you want to do.

When I decided to go skydiving a few years ago, I was equally scared and excited.

I found myself asking only people who I knew had done it. The majority had great experiences, one or two had felt intense group pressure at the time and did not enjoy it for that reason. I got great feedback though.

I did not want to be talked out of my dream, I wanted support on how to do it.

If you ask people who have not done what you want to do, there might be an element of uncertainty from their side. Can they tell you how to go about your change? Maybe, but likely not.

I once took a summer job on the recommendation that it was a good step. It was mind-numbing work, and afterwards I could never understand why I actually took that job.

If it’s your time to jump ship, what is the logic of listening to those who won’t support you?

There are many people out there who are already living, doing and thriving at what you want to do. Seek their advice.

3. ”It’s a stepping stone for a job you’ll like better later.”

After I graduated, I got a job as a consultant. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and everyone in my graduating class was becoming either a consultant or a banker. Guess what advice I was getting on a daily basis?

I lasted only 8 months at the company, but it turned out to be my greatest lesson in life on learning to go my own way.

If we keep chasing something that’s ahead of us. Guess what. Once we’re there, we’ll feel the need to start chasing something new. Being miserable now in order to be happy later is not a great idea.

My belief is that we need to get real on what we want to do now. There is no later.

So what does it boil down to?

1) Have a primary support system.

In no way should you discard friends or family just because they haven’t done what you want to do. They are the most important people in life, and will cheerlead efforts and sanity check ideas.

Becoming conscious and aware of whose advice we take and who we listen to on a daily basis, however, is crucial.

2) Trust yourself.

We tend to be our own worst critics. I’ve held myself back many times in going for things that I want. Mostly because “I wasn’t sure if I was sure”…

It is common that we ask advice from people who we know will give us the answer we want. If it’s from a place of fear or a place of growth, only you will know.

Remarkable changes happen in people when they stop taking crappy career advice and start trusting what they deep down already know.

3) Seek out the experts.

The more advice I get from people who say I can, the more it becomes my reality. I once heard the saying: “If 3 people you really admire recommend something – try it”.

Why do you think I started writing? 🙂