We are asked to give career advice all the time. It’s hard to give advice because you don’t want to give bad advice. We know this because we’ve been given bad advice many times in our life. We prefer to share our good and bad experiences and let people learn from them and make their own choices. As the wise poster above says, “it could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.”
This was literally the first piece of career advice Karen got during her first week as a GM intern. Her boss’s wife had never worked outside the home, and he could not figure out what a girl was doing in his department. Karen’s dad had raised her to be independent, even buying her the book Dress for Success before the beginning of the internship, so she was dumbfounded by this remark. She could have left in tears, but she didn’t; she stayed put. She did the filing which he assigned. She didn’t whine when he let the male interns get the better assignments. She sucked it up until she moved onto he next assignment, and learned a valuable lesson: Just because a manager thinks a girl should stay at home doesn’t mean she should.
Aneil actually took this advice and regretted it almost immediately, because he knew in his gut that he should have gone to another organization which also made him a job offer. When you trust someone whose advice you are seeking, remember to dig deep and ask why they would be happy at that company. Ask what makes them happy and then see if that makes you happy, too. Just because you respect that mentor does not mean that you have the same goals and aspirations. Just because a company and setting would make them happy does not mean it is a good fit for you. When you ask for career advice, consider the source and all of the baggage that might come with that advice.
One of the other things Karen found when making a career change is that it can make other people uncomfortable and they will try to discourage you. When she wanted to return to graduate school, many of her “friends” tried to remind her that she had a nice life and she should keep things the way they are. But, was that advice for her or for them?
Thankfully, she didn’t listen to that advice, went off to earn her MBA, and her career was far the better for it.
Karen wanted to be a music major in college, but her wise father reminded her that all of the music majors he knew all had two jobs to pay the bills. He advised her to double major in business so that she could enjoy her music but also have the ability to pay the bills. So many people are told to pursue their passions, but without a sound plan to pursue them. Life is not all about money, but there has to be a balance between passion and paying the bills.