3 careers tips to ignore

3 career tips to ignore

Just because you hear things over and over doesn't make them right. Here are a few frequently mentioned pieces of career advice you might want to reconsider, Lynn Elsey writes.


1. Follow your passion

According to Calvin Newport, computer science professor at Georgetown University, there are two main faults with this common pronouncement:

1. It assumes you can readily identify a passion to drive your career, and

2. If you really like something, you will really enjoy doing it as a job

Newport, who is also author of the bestseller So Good They Can’t Ignore You, says most people have no idea what they want to do. Additionally, there is no evidence that people doing jobs they really enjoy are doing something they previously identified as a passion.


Another problem not mentioned by Newport is pay. Passion might not the bills. If your area of interest isn’t likely to fund your lifestyle, it might be better to pursue your passion in your spare time.


2. Network your way to a better job

Accomplishments, rather than networking, lead to opportunities, according to Adam Grant, professor at Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania).

"Evidence shows that tooting your own horn doesn’t help you get a job offer or a board seat, and when employees bend over backward to highlight their skills and accomplishments, they actually get paid less and promoted less," Grant says.

As he noted in the New York Times, “it certainly helps to know the right people. But how hard they go to bat for you, how far they stick their necks out for you, depends on what you have to offer.”

Other experts are more positive about the benefits of networking but only when it involves developing and maintaining genuine relationships, rather than spreading your efforts too widely.

A recent study in Management Science backs this up. Researchers found that the growing use of social media to connect with others resulted in people having more, but weaker, connections. Weaker connections are not only “ineffective in generating positive outcomes”, they can lead to negative results – including an actual reduction in job offers as weak connections increase.

So keep puffing up your online connections with peril.


3. Stay in your job for at least a year

Sticking it out for a year to show you are stable is not always the best advice. There are times when cutting your losses is the best way to move forward.

Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify, a Canadian corporate software company, acknowledges that changing jobs can be unpleasant and stressful – but staying in an environment where you can’t change situations that make you unhappy or unhealthy is equally bad.

“The trick is gauging your level of dissatisfaction against your own personal hierarchy of needs and deciding when and it to cut the chord. While changing jobs shouldn’t be a snap decision, making it relatively quickly only gets you to the next stage of your career and back to happiness faster,” she wrote in an article for Fortune magazine in 2015.


 7 November 2017