Career Corner: Clever Career Platitudes May Not Be Correct or Fit Your Situation

Woman offering man career advice

If you have ever been at a career crossroads you have likely received some of the common career platitudes as advice. “Just follow your passion.” “Let your work speak for itself.” “It’s all about who you know.” But how true are sayings like that?

Others were curious too and decided they wanted to find out. The Harvard Business Review put some of the most common career advice tips to the test by actually applying some of these supposed work truisms to their job hunt.

Follow Your Passion

This is one of those saying that sounds simple and romantic whenever a successful person says it is how they achieved their goals.

But in practice, it is too idealized. Anything you do frequently enough to fill out a typical 40-hour workweek will also be stressful and tiring at times. And depending on what your passion is, you might be pursuing something with little to gain financially.

Rather than chasing only what makes you happy, search instead for work that makes you feel like you are accomplishing something important. It is often meaningless tasks that build up our frustration and daydream about our passions.

Always be on the Lookout for a Better Job

This saying stems from a desire for advancement and avoiding complacency. That is admirable, but at some point, you have to put down roots and see what grows.

If you are constantly picking up and going somewhere new, it not only is not giving your work a fair chance, but it will look bad to employers. If they see a resume with a string of short-term positions, they are no doubt wondering if they will just be the next one on that list.

It’s Time to Take Your Career into Your Own Hands

This sounds like a nice saying about not allowing others to determine your success. And put into practice, you can actually utilize this advice to improve your mindset. Realistically, to a certain extent where you get hired can be a bit like trying to win the lottery.

But you can still boost your odds through your own actions, such as gaining more education or pursuing new skills in your own time. If you sit around and wait for those in charge to give you more, you never know how long you will wait. Take steps to improve yourself without waiting on others.

Just because a piece of advice is common or sounds clever doesn’t necessarily make it right. With whatever you hear, take time to think it through to weed out the bad sayings from the good.

To learn more about how this career advice works when put to practice, read the Harvard Business Review article here.

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