10 pieces of bad career advice NOT to listen to

1. Take a job you don’t want (“Just for now”)

Yeah, you could take the job just for now, but how long is ‘just for now’? Often, when we take a ‘temporary’ job, we become comfortable and stay much longer than anticipated, even if we are bored or unsatisfied. If so, you can get stuck and stop developing. You will never have excitement for your job because you never wanted it in the first place. And when you’re unhappy at work, you probably won’t be performing at your best. Realistically you let yourself and your employer down. Keep trying for jobs and companies that you can see yourself in.

2. Take the job with the highest offer

More money doesn’t always equal more happiness and it doesn’t always mean a better lifestyle either. Often, more money is accompanied by more hours and poor work/life balance. And even though this isn’t always the case, money shouldn’t be a driver for which job to take, look more at the company culture and values and make sure they align with who you are.

3. “Don’t rock the boat”

If you have a different opinion that could contribute and help in a meeting or project, don’t shy away. If you’ve been told the manager is old school, don’t take that as a sign to just do as they say. Sometimes, there are more efficient ways to complete work or alternative solutions to a problem on a project. Voice your opinion in a diplomatic way. Your ideas have the ability to make an impact and you will earn respect from colleagues and even the most difficult of bosses simply by expressing them. 

4. Always leave after the boss!

Working long hours used to be a measure of ‘hard work’. But in reality, whilst long hours sometimes mean a big workload, it also means an inefficient use of a workday. Leave when you can (after fulfilling your agreed upon hours of course). If you need to stay back, that’s fine. But don’t do it just to prove how hard you work. Sometimes 8 hours is all you need to do your work for the day.

5. Just take what you can get

When being offered a job, don’t just take the first offer. Especially when you’ve been in your industry for some time. Take initiative and in a polite way, negotiate to the best offer. Know your worth and express fair reasons as to why you are worth more.

6. Wait for the pay rise, it’ll come

Not every company will have annual pay reviews. Most companies will avoid paying people more if they don’t have to. As I said before, know your worth and evaluate what you have helped the company with. If you deserve a pay rise, organise a meeting with your manager or boss to discuss possibilities.

7. Suck up to your boss

The days are gone where being your bosses slave or being too nice all the time will get you places. Actually, did it ever get anyone anywhere? Being fake and sucking up is completely transparent. When your behaviour is ingenuine, people will think you are too.

Be yourself and don’t pretend to be anything else or do anything you feel uncomfortable with. Just like we have to learn how to be around others, others have to learn how to be around us.

8. Stick to what you’re good at

It’s easy to stick to what we’re good at. We know it, we’re comfortable, it’s easy. But easy isn’t challenging. And comfort zones don’t allow for growth. Always try to upskill and learn about different things. If you have a passion for something, follow it. Don’t get carried away with a boring job you don’t like that much just because you’re good at it.

9. I know it’s boring, but you need the security, don’t leave

A lot of people do this, sometimes it’s not even advice that has been given to them. It’s simply the so-called ‘normal’ thing to do. You stay in a job that actively makes you unhappy – just because you need the income. I understand staying at a boring job for the security, people have families and we need to feel stable. But don’t become stagnant. Look for other work, research companies, search for what you believe is missing in your day to day life. Start there and apply for new work! If starting your own business is what you want to do, talk to your accountant and figure out a plan. Don’t let work make you feel unaccomplished. The feeling of dread when going to work makes life in general a misery. Do something about it.

10. Disguise your weaknesses as strengths

Everyone has weaknesses, it’s no secret. Especially in interviews, we’re told to make our weaknesses into strengths, but that’s not what a hiring manager wants to hear. A hiring manager wants to hear you be honest and open about what you can work on. It’s best to present a brief plan of action to improve your weakness and how you get around it presently. That’s being genuine and realistic. After all, we are all human and no one is perfect, pretending to be will only come across as fake.