Here’s some career advice. Stop listening to a lot of career advice. While some career advice articles and books can be helpful, others may not necessarily be. Many pieces of career advice are too general to be useful and do not account for differences in people’s situations, backgrounds and personalities. Career advice can also be very one-dimensional, represent only one perspective or overlook realities of life. Listening to such advice could even make you mentally, emotionally and physically sick. For example:
Do what you love. Thanks, I was going to try to do something that I hate, then I will marry someone I detest, eat what makes me vomit and paint my house a disgusting color. This advice is about as useful as the “find your soulmate” advice for dating. It is just too easy to say this and thus not very useful. Sure, we all would like to do what we love. The trick is figuring out what you love and being able to do it especially when you have to navigate through many obstacles, such as lack of connections, income, opportunities, health or health insurance. People can become so obsessed with finding the job that they love (similar to searching for the perfect man or woman) that they overlook opportunities around them, don’t take care of other parts of their lives and keep questioning what they are doing so that they never really grow and advance to a position in which they can enjoy the good stuff. Many times “love” can start with “like,” or you can’t do what you love until you’ve paid some dues.Better advice: Find out what fits you and your current and future situation. Finding your love can take time and not everyone is on the same timetable.
Find a mentor. OK, where do I order one? Amazon? Walmart? Some people are fortunate to have the right connections, looks, personality and circumstances to find a great mentor. The head of a popular fraternity who comes from a well-connected family probably will have lots of people offering to be his mentor. Others? Not so much. Like a marriage, you can’t really force a mentorship relationship. A mentor has to actually want to mentor you and want you to succeed. Trying too hard to find a mentor may lead you to hooking up with someone who takes advantage of you.
Better advice: Understand that not everyone has the same opportunities. Trying too hard to find a mentor can actually hurt you. While a good mentor can be quite helpful, work on growing yourself as well.
Success is all up to you. No, it isn’t. Yes, you should work hard. Yes, your chances of success decrease the less you try. Yes, you should try to create opportunities and take advantage of them. However, success requires the right circumstances, timing and people around you. If you are not “successful,” it doesn’t mean you didn’t try or don’t have the ability or talent. Heaping all of the blame for not being successful on yourself can lead to feelings of inadequacy and depression.