We all have those people in our lives, who (bless their hearts) are just wrong about some things. They probably mean well (maybe), but it can be very toxic to surround yourself with bad advice.
Here is the worst advice I’ve actually heard.
1. “If you have a steady paycheck, don’t fuck it up!”
Just the other day I heard this advice be given quite forcefully to a friend who happens to be a brilliant hardware engineer at Intel. “If you have a steady paycheck, don’t ruin it or waste your time trying to find something else!”
Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. This is how gifted people end up stuck in the same job for 20+ years and wake up one day bitterly regretting why they didn’t see what else was out there.
Don’t get me wrong, he has a great job, but after starting at Intel right after college, he has never experienced anything else full-time and might love doing something slightly different in a different setting with even more benefits. As I always say, if you’ve been at a job for 3 -4 years and have not been promoted, you should move on to your next opportunity. Studies show that those who switch positions or companies every 3–4 years are significantly more likely to attract the most desirable positions at top tech companies.
“There had better be big, meaty challenges ahead and plenty of advancement potential in your job before you decide to give your employer another year of your life” writes Liz Ryan CEO and founder of Human Workplace in Forbes.
In the past the longer you stayed at a job the better, for the employer -not for your potential.
The longer you stay at a job without advancement, the less marketable you will be once you eventually try to get a new job. Top employers want to see advancement, not that you got comfortable and stayed in the same position for 5 years.
2. “Take the first job you can get, just until you find something better.”
No! Don’t do that. Unless you will actually starve without that job, don’t settle for a job you don’t like just because it’s the first offer you get. Even if you say it wont happen to you, you have no idea how easy it is to stop trying and just do the bare minimum to get that paycheck every month. You could end up spending a year or more at a job you don’t like instead of an extra month of searching. Like most things in life -you should refuse to settle.
3. “Don’t think about money -follow your passion and money will follow!”
Passion is so important -yes! But so is food and rent and feeding your future/current family. You should strive to love what you do, absolutely! However, those born without a massive trust fund will need to actually make money to support themselves.
Maybe your passion is painting or singing, but you’re also pretty good at computer science. Finding a career path using your computer science skills is the more practical option. You should always keep your passions in your life and enjoy them as hobbies or even side jobs, but if you have a marketable talent in which you can find anything that you’re pretty happy doing -do it!
Not to be a downer, but if you think of the millions of people who want to be painters or singers in this world, less than 1% of them can actually make a decent living off of that alone. You might end up working jobs you hate even more than your practical skill just to pay your rent while you try to find something following you passion. Don’t be a barista for the rest of your life when you have the chance to arm yourself with a degree and desirable skills for a sustainable, rewarding career.