The Career Advice That Never Pans Out

By | September 17, 2013

In a world full of economic uncertainty and personal incertitude regarding which career to pursue, it is not surprising that many people seek out career advice from friends, family, co-workers, and bosses. And while some of the advice offered can help facilitate the cultivation of a great career, the aforementioned individuals are also subject to giving bad advice that never results in the success and economic security you want. Here are six pieces of bad advice you should probably avoid:

1. “Do whatever pays the most.”

This is bad advice for the simple fact that money can’t buy happiness. Additionally, you can pick a well-paying job that doesn’t permit you to exercise your innate talents and/or acquired skills. When this happens, you’ll find yourself feeling intellectually frustrated and bored, two factors that can entail depression and job dissatisfaction. So when you’re looking for a new job, remember that although money is important, it certainly isn’t everything. Other things you should think about as you plan your career include the company’s reputation, the benefits package, and work/life balance.

2. “Take this job for six months, even if you don’t like it.”

Unless you are in desperate need of income, accepting a job offer for a position you’ll loathe is not a good career move. Although you may think you’re doing yourself a favor by keeping a job for just six months in order to generate income or build your resume, a short-term stay can cause you to be labeled a job-hopper. Moreover, you will probably have challenges remaining satisfied and motivated in a position you don’t like. For this reason, it’s important that you take time to consider the pros and cons of a job offer and then determine whether you’ll enjoy it enough to be positive and productive while there.

3. “You’re good at English. You should be an English teacher.”

As many people have learned through life experiences, being good at something doesn’t mean that you’ll actually enjoy a career in that sector. And while it’s true that you need to be competent in the job field that you choose, it is also the case that you need to enjoy it. Another factor to consider is your personal ambition. If the idea of pursuing a career in a field that you’re already very proficient in doesn’t appeal to you, taking a job in that sector will likely leave you feeling unfulfilled.

4. “Stay at your dead-end job if it pays well.”

Although money is important, staying at a dead-end job just to ensure financial stability is a bad idea for several reasons. First, it precludes you from learning, growing, and achieving. Second, it decreases the likelihood that you will attain the sense of personal fulfillment and meaning that causes people to view life as an ultimately positive, productive experience.

5. “Don’t ask for a raise.”

Although you may think you’re playing it safe by not asking for a raise, you could actually be doing yourself a great disservice this way. In short, people should be paid fairly. And although ascertaining how much an individual should be paid for a job can be complex, one basic concept that tends to prevail is that compensation should be tied to results. If you are continually producing good results for a company yet find that your salary is not increasing, it is probably time for you to ask for a raise.

6. “Don’t challenge your boss if you want to be promoted.”

Interestingly, challenging the status quo outlined by a boss can actually be the key to promotion. Although insubordination is a problem in the workforce and should not be tolerated as long as the employee is not being harassed by the employer, the reality is that bosses do not know everything. Moreover, they are oftentimes looking for employees who take initiatives and make suggestions to improve the quality of a company. And that is why it can be a good idea to occasionally (and respectfully!) submit ideas designed to make the business function with a greater degree of excellence and expedience.


Although excelling within your chosen career can be a difficult task, avoiding the aforementioned advice can be your key to success. Good luck!

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