Books, blogs, and motivational gurus are full of career advice for beginners and veterans alike. Much of it can be useful, but you’ve got to be careful to separate the good from the misguided and obsolete.
Don’t blindly follow these “words of wisdom” without a healthy dose of skepticism:
“Any job is better than no job.”
Working at a job you hate can sap your morale and make any change harder to accomplish.
You probably won’t be motivated to do good work, and if you quit out of frustration, you could be labeled an undependable job-hopper.
No job is fun all the time, but you’ll generally do better at a job you can find some enjoyment in, even if that takes longer to find.
“Follow your passion.”
On the other hand, don’t wait forever for your dream job to present itself.
You need to know what you’re good at, and what you like doing, but chances are you can do well in a job that satisfies less than 100 percent of your ambitions.
You don’t want to give up worthwhile career opportunities because they don’t fit with an unrealistic dream of success.
“You need an advanced degree to get anywhere.”
Education is always a good thing, but without a clear purpose, you could waste years and thousands of dollars on studies that don’t necessarily translate to career success.
Decide on what you want to learn, be clear on how it will help you, and make sure the investment will really pay off in terms of increased opportunities and career satisfaction.
“Never quit a job.”
You shouldn’t jump ship at the first sign of trouble, but staying at a dead-end job with no hope of advancement and little chance of learning anything doesn’t help your career.
Look for opportunities to improve your situation wherever you’re at, but keep an eye on the job market so you’re never trapped.
“The one thing you need to do is …”
Be wary of any advice that offers a quick fix. Managing a career is complicated. You don’t know what’s coming up, and you won’t always know the right decision to make. You’ll make mistakes and encounter bad luck.
Commit to learning and moving forward, and don’t waste time following short-lived trends or depending on gimmicks to land your dream job.