There are many myths about careers that float around. Anyone you talk to will have some piece of career advice that they heard from somewhere or have read about in popular press. Unfortunately, career advice has different amounts of relevance to different people – what maybe useful advice to one person maybe the completely wrong advice for another! Let us look at 5 top career myths:
Career myth #1 - “Just do what you are interested in!”. Although some theories of career development indicate that you should match your occupation to your interests this is only partially true and if you rely on this idea just by itself you can still end up in the wrong occupation. In deciding on a job not only do you need to consider what your interests are, but also your life/career values, skills preferences, work style, personality, desired income and lifestyle and most of all your purpose in life.
Career myth #2 - “You can do anything”. Yes, you can aspire to do anything and some people achieve most things they seek to do, but it is not true that anyone can do anything. This attitude can be harmful to foster in young people who develop an exaggerated sense of power and entitlement. A better attitude is that “I can achieve anything within my talents and I can continue to expand my talents”. This makes it important to understand yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses in your career decision.
Career myth #3 – “Different races are better at different things”. Stereotyping how well others or yourself can do in a certain profession sets yourself up for limitations. No one is limited by their race or ethnicity. Certainly these can place barriers to career advancement but these should not stop you from breaking through to expand your talents and potential. Dr Ben Carson the neurosurgeon is a great example of this.
Career myth #4 – “People only get into good occupations by luck”. Many successful people have generated their own ‘luck’ to do well in their careers. Planned happenstance or serendipity are psychological concepts recently discussed in research literature that indicate that people can plan their life to maximise the opportunities for career advancement. These are often through aggressive networking, self-marketing and being perceptive to opportunity.
Career myth #5 - “Most people seem to have their careers sorted”. In fact, most people are considering changing their job or career at any one point in time. A recent news article estimated 70-80% of workers are dissatisfied with their career and are looking for new jobs. Sometimes it can seem as though most people are on the straight and narrow when it comes to career, but this is merely people putting on a happy demeanour to struggle through there day to day dissatisfaction.
This article was written by Dr Jonathan Moy, a career consultant for Careerology