There’s no shortage of helpful career advice out there, from what to wear to an interview or how to pump at work. But sometimes it’s just as helpful to hear about what not to do. We all learn from our mistakes — and oftentimes, we fall into career mistakes because we took some bad advice.
Anyone who pauses to give you career advice probably has your best interests at heart, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily know what’s best for you or your professional development. If you’re questioning what someone’s telling you to do, you may be wise to listen to your instincts.
Today, we’re giving you a roundup of career advice we suggest you ignore, some of which we’ve taken and some of which we haven’t. We hope that you’ll not only get in a good laugh but will also learn to recognize that not all advice is worth following.
Let that inappropriate comment go
“At my first job out of college, there was a much older, much more senior man who made some pretty inappropriate comments. Another woman I worked with overheard him once and when he walked away she looked at me, saw my horrified face, and with a straight face, said, ‘Sometimes you will just have to deal with things like that.’ The next day she came over and apologized after being urged to do so by another male who had seen everything. Sometimes women don’t get it, either!
“On another note, my mom was horrified that I took an unpaid internship in college, and she advised against it. I took it anyway, and it ended up being a great experience and led to a job offer immediately after graduation.” — Anni, FairyGodBoss director of growth
Don’t keep your options open
“Early in my career, I was always told that you should be very cautious about interviewing for another job outside your company because if your current manager found out you were interviewing, you would be penalized. How crazy! Later I realized that you should always be out there interviewing, networking and getting a sense of what your value in the market is. A good manager will understand and support that. And if yours doesn’t, you probably have the wrong manager.” — Romy, FairyGodBoss president and co-founder
Ignore your gut
“When I entered law school, I was very sure it was the right thing to do, but after my first year and then my first legal internship, I started to get the feeling that practicing law was very different than studying law and learning about how law is interpreted and made — something I still find very interesting. Someone told me to ignore my doubts and just give law a chance instead of applying to non-legal jobs right out of law school. It wasn’t the greatest advice even though it sounds perfectly logical. Ultimately, I only gave my legal career six months, but I did have to spend a couple summer months indoors studying for the New York Bar exam. Sometimes you have to just follow your gut instead of what looks like it makes sense on paper.” — Georgene, FairyGodBoss CEO and co-founder