Generic advice often leads to more frustration than happiness
Sometimes you immediately know when you’re getting bad advice. A coworker recently told me that right before her college graduation a family friend advised her to just get a good job- regardless of whether or not she enjoyed the work. He went on to say that she should work for ten years then quit and do something she loved. In the same conversation, someone else piped up and shared that he was cautioned to stay away from women because they ruin everything. They both laughed because they were able to know bad advice when you hear it.
But there are a couple of pithy pieces of professional advice that are better off on a poster then put into practice. Knowing the caveats and limitations of these good-sounding but ultimately bad pieces of career advice can save you time and frustration as you pursue your career.
- Follow your passion. Unless your passion is project scheduling and detailed meeting notes, don’t let your passion be the sole arbiter in deciding what’s next in your career. The chances of making a decent living are slim, and the likelihood of realizing you don’t like your passion as much as you though are high. Instead, save time to pursue your passion on the side, and bring all of that positive energy to the other things you do.
- Focus on one thing. Unless you’re a linebacker a week before the big game, you have many interests. You want to earn a living, build a reputation for doing great work, inspire others, and maybe save homeless dogs while having time to read, paint, run, and drink great coffee. Doing a bunch of different things makes life interesting. Instead of looking for one singular focus in your life or career, embrace the variety of things you’re interested in. Just avoid multi-tasking — it doesn’t work. From hour to hour in your day, do one thing at a time. Read more…