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How to Steer Clear of Bad Career Advice

Having someone to advise you is always a good thing. Everyone wants a friend to can count on when times get hard. The only problem is that you may take just about any piece of advice offered.  

Listening to bad advice is not just a mistake. It can be catastrophic to your career as it may cause you to choose the wrong career path and as such the wrong job. Advice is not always what you are hoping to get when you ask other people their opinion, but you get it anyway. However, instead of helping you, they end up making you feel more confused than before or even unsure about your next decision.

So if you need help on how to stay away from bad career advice, here is what you should do:


1. Trust Yourself

No one knows you better than yourself. So, you can welcome any piece of advice from other people but, you should be the judge of how useful it is to you. I mean you can thank your friends, parents or even your career counselor for their concern, but, in the end, you are still going to do what you think it’s the best for you. So it’s really all about thanks, but no thanks.

If you are unsure about the validity of their advice, you can question it by asking yourself if it goes against your instinct. If it does then, that’s when you should probably drop it. Going against your instinct almost never works as you don’t believe in it in the first place.

2. Get a Second Opinion

Usually, you go to the doctor to find out what you are suffering from, and sometimes you don’t stop there. You call the next one who is further away from where you live just to get a second opinion. After that, you make sure that you make an appointment with the one your aunt recommended. Well, the same happens with career advice. If you can’t fully trust them, it is always better to get a second opinion just to hear out what other people have to say.

Look at it as a poll. People learn from one another, so the more people you ask, the higher your chance of getting more helpful feedback.

3. Pick What You Need

Most of what people say to you is going to be nonsense; not because is not good advice, but because it does not relate to you. Your loved ones are probably going to talk to you from experience and tell you what they think you want to hear, from their point of view. But that’s not always what you need.

I guess listening to examples of struggle can help you out, but as far as it concerns career advice things can get more complicated than that. What I suggest is that you listen to their advice and find out how you can use it in your life or career. At first, it may not seem like this is what you are looking for, but, in the end, their advice might not be as bad as you think.

4. Ignore Unrealistic Advice

We all have those friends that have no clue what they are talking about. In an attempt to help you out, they are just blurting out pieces of advice that you don’t need or even worse they are just stating the obvious. It’s quite tricky actually. People who give you advice may care about you but have no relevant knowledge or experience in the field, which makes their advice impractical or even unrealistic. I mean blue sky thinking can work, but considering current job market limitations will help you choose a career that has a better outlook. 

5. Cut Out Clichés

Clichés are great, but how can you relate to them? Career problems are far more personal than that and you can’t just say ‘find a job you love, and you will never have to work again in your life.’ I mean what Chinese philosopher Confucius said might be true, but you might find that it doesn’t relate to you or help you in any way. Or what about find your passion and you will land your dream job? Is this true? In fact, that’s more ambiguous than the last example. What I mean is that you should be careful when people refer to clichés. First make sure that they are not just trying to impress you.

See Also: How to Minimize Mental Clutter

Listening to other people’s advice isn’t bad provided that you know how to differentiate what works and what doesn’t. If you are not 100 percent confident about making a decision then just don’t do it. The slightest doubt can get you into unfamiliar territory leaving you unprepared for anything that follows. Unless you have made up your mind and have clear next steps, you will find it difficult to move forward.

Have you ever been given bad career advice? What did you do about it? Let me know in the comments section below…