The Weekend Assignment is posted each Friday at Outpost Mâvarin; a roundup of responses goes up the following Thursday, so if you’d like to join in, you’ve still got some time. Karen says: Don’t worry if you don’t get your entry in by the end of the weekend. It’s called the Weekend Assignment because John Scalzi originally designed it to give folks something to write on weekends, but times have changed since then. Now the meme is launched on Thursday nights / Friday mornings, just a little later than Scalzi used to post it, and you have a whole week to respond. Still, I for one am grateful if you don’t all wait until the last minute!
Weekend Assignment #217: What’s the best piece of career advice you were ever given?
Extra Credit: What’s the worst piece of career advice you were ever given?
I really can’t recall getting any particular career advice, good or bad. One of my personal quirks – good or bad – is that I don’t often ask for (or give) advice in general. (However, I have been known to give career advice to my kid every now and then.)
If I’m looking for input and information in order to make a decision, I’ll look things up, I’ll read, and I may ask for opinions. But let me be clear that it’s an opinion I’m interested in; if you’re one of those people who thinks that just because you told me what you think I should do, that’s what I’m supposed to do (you know the kind of person I mean, I’m sure), you may be disappointed. You may give me your advice or opinion without my having asked for it, either; that’s fine, but if I didn’t solicit it I may not really take in your message. Please don’t be offended by that – I just may not be ready to hear it at that time.
Then again, maybe if I asked for – and paid attention to – advice more often, I might have made some different choices in my life. At the very least, I might remember where I’d heard a few things, so I could give proper credit for them.
I think the best career advice I’ve heard is along the lines of “Your life can’t be just about your job.”
The worst advice probably goes back a long way – it was to major in something practical in college. Now, I don’t dispute the value of that; assuming that one expects to support oneself financially, it’s important to have marketable skills. However, I chose a major that led to a specific career field mostly because I was reasonably sure I could find a job in it anywhere. I wasn’t wrong about that; I’ve been steadily employed, other than relatively short between-jobs periods, for over 20 years, and have developed a comfortable niche. But I chose a field that I didn’t necessarily have natural aptitude for (for the record, my verbal SAT scores were much better than my math ones), let alone any particular passion. (Passion for accounting? That actually makes me a little nervous to think about…) I think I could have benefited from a much broader perspective on the whole thing rather than a specific degree-to-profession path. I know some technically-inclined types for whom it worked out fine. I also know other people who studied what they liked and have created good careers for themselves – the “do what you love, the money will follow” approach, I guess.
I think I’m the second type of person, but I’ve tried to be the first one. Maybe I should have gotten different advice. I do read a few career blogs, though…it’s not too late to learn something.