Throughout our careers, we always heard stories from people experiencing difficulties in their careers or some new tidbit of info they heard on tv or read online. Most times, these myths they speak of are filled with so much spoiled information and can’t possibly put anyone that believes them in a good head space professionally or personally. From an overall perspective, this will negatively impact your job search and your resume if you don’t have clarity where your career is concerned. At some point, we all came in contact with those people that never have anything good to say about their job, their company, or their career in general. Most times, there is so much unhappiness because of the plethora of misinformation that exists out there and in people’s heads, which plays into the negative thoughts and ideas some people experience. People mistakenly think that they are locked into one type of job, they can secure a better job elsewhere, or they think they need time to figure out what they want to do with their lives. Sometimes, this negativity can be contagious if you don’t actively try to put an end to it. As long as you approach everything with positive thoughts and a clearly defined strategy on how to accomplish your career goals, all of the puzzle pieces will fit together. You will be successful and not buy into all of these career myths. Here are some of the top career myths debunked and how you can use positive outlooks to continue your career growth.
1. There is one career that is best suited for you.
There is never just one career or one type of job out there for you. Your professional life can take you in so many directions. Throughout your life, you will go on tons of job interviews in all different companies for all different kinds of jobs. As you evolve in your career, you will go down paths that you never planned or expected. You are never locked into just one career. The world is your oyster. Don’t think because you selected a certain major in college that you have to stick with it forever. Personal and professional growth is forever changing and that means you will constantly evolve as you continue to grow. You will know what careers and what jobs will be a good fit for you. Your job is to follow your dreams in any direction they take you. If that means changing careers, embrace the change.
2. If you are self-employed or an entrepreneur, you have tons of free time that full-time professionals don’t have.
Yeah right! Mot people mistakenly think that you have the luxury of working when you want to or can take off as much time as you want. When you run your own business, launch a start-up, or perform contract / consulting engagements, you are perceived as someone with lots of free time because you set your own hours and don’t have a boss to answer to. Sometimes, people even mistakenly think you don’t work, which has boggled my mind for the last 20 years! Actually, it is quite the opposite. When you are self-employed, run a business, or perform contract / consulting engagements, most times you work longer hours than a traditional work day. You still have the same milestones to achieve as traditional employees that work 9-5, but you go above and beyond to achieve those goals. When sole responsibility relies on you to perform the job duties or achieve the milestones, you have to make the time commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve those milestones and get the job done. It requires a lot of self-discipline and sacrifice of your personal time. Being self-employed is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you. Most times when you are self-employed or an entrepreneur, the top compliant is that your work/life balance is off due to the long hours you put in to earn your success.
3. Allow yourself time to decompress in between jobs and figure out who you are before you make your next move.
When you take a break from working or take time away from your job search and career progression, you run the risk of losing your career momentum and becoming stagnant. The only thing you find when you decompress in between jobs is more distractions. You will rarely find solace or success in distractions. If you focus on the positive things like advancing your career, developing your talent, and setting obtainable goals for yourself, this will improve your mindset concerning your career.
4. Searching for a job is a full-time commitment.
Should you dedicate a set amount of time to your job search every day? Yes. But should you dedicate 8 hours a day to finding a job? No. The secret to a successful job search is to identify your career goals, plan your overall strategy to ensure goal attainment, and efficiently execute your strategy so you get results. If you allocate a set amount of time every day, it will encourage you to be more productive in your search without spinning your wheels and getting caught up in the minutia. If you need a resume, allocate time to work on identifying your achievements. If you want to research companies or review LinkedIn job listings, do it. As long as you know your goals, you can allocate your time effectively without spending a full work day doing so.
5. If you quit your job, you will find a better job that doesn’t have any stress.
News flash–the grass is never greener on the other side! All jobs have stress and no company or job is exempt from that. You may have reached a point where you are not happy there anymore or you feel unsettled about how your career is going, but the solution is not abandoning your job in search of something better. It is never a good idea to quit a job on a whim or because you think you can do better elsewhere. You have to be cognizant of the message you are sending when you quit a job. You also have to think about the negative impact it will have on future recommendations from these employers. Does it make sense to invest years in building a career within a company only to leave on negative terms? Not really.
6. You have to match 100% of the job requirements in order to apply for the job.
It is very rare that you will match every single requirement for a job, so don’t let this discourage you from applying. It is not your call as to whether or not you are a good fit for a job. Your role is to determine what jobs appeal to you and identify the strengths you have that align closely with the jobs. It would be an unrealistic expectation to think you have to tick off every box BEFORE you apply to a job. As long as you are interested in the job and you feel it is a role you would thrive in, go for it! Let hiring managers determine if you are a good fit and possess the skills necessary to build on within their company.
7. Find something you like to do and figure out a way to get paid for it.
I remember watching Regis and Kathie Lee back in the day and Kathie Lee always used to say her father told her to find something she liked to do and figure out a way to get paid for it. For some people, this works on an organic level. But for most of us out there, our career of choice has zero point zero to do with the things we like to do in our free time. You can be enthusiastic about different interests or hobbies, but that doesn’t mean you have to use this as your career of choice if you want to be happy at work. Hey, I like to make jewelry and train my Standard Poodle in my spare time, but that doesn’t mean that these have to be my career aspirations if I want job satisfaction. It all boils down to the camera lens that we view our career through. If we frame our career in the right light and see something positive that is full of possibilities in the viewfinder, the outcome will be something we take great pride and satisfaction in.
8. It’s too late to change careers.
It is never too late to make a career change! This is never true if you want to continue to grow professionally and evolve your talents. Your goals professionally should closely match the types of jobs you are applying to. There should be a delicate balance in all aspects of your career. If this balance is off just slightly, that impacts the direction you take in your career. Some people stay on the same track and continue their upward mobility. Other people prefer to take a step back and reassess where they want to be in their career. No matter what your life circumstance or how impossible you might feel a job change is, never give in to these negative thoughts. Your career is only as successful as you want it to be. There are all different levels of success and you should feel confident pursuing any career path that will make you happy. It is never too late to shift your course or at least lay the foundation to shift your course in the future.
Hopefully all of these career myths have been debunked for you. The take away from all of this is that no matter how you feel about your career, the career path you take, or whether or not you think you can find a less stressful job elsewhere, the grass is never greener on the other side. If that is your only motivation, then you will be setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration in your life, not just your career. You need to focus on the positive aspects of your career like all of your successes and how you can continue to grow professionally. This means applying to new jobs if you want a change or trying to improve your work/life balance. If you maintain a positive attitude about your career, your goals, and what challenges you professionally, your positive attitude will spill over into your personal life and you will be happy in all facets of your life including your career.