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The worst career advice in the world

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Today, some gut-wrenching stories about the worst career advice you’ve been hearing for the last 25 years.

It is truly amazing how bad most career advice is. The only comparable industry is “financial literacy,” which mindlessly repeats the same 5 tips over and over, is completely out of touch with how real people use their money, and genuinely believes that the world needs yet another compound-interest chart. Even the name “financial literacy” makes me want to urinate all over my computer.

So it was with great trepidation and reluctance that I began doing career research.

In true IWT style, we have an extraordinarily rigorous process for studying advice: We buy every course, product, and book. We study them intensely, keeping blind notes and comparing them. We build iterative models and frameworks, relentlessly test them, and in some cases rip them up and start again (in early 2011, we spent 4 months and tens of thousands of dollars on one approach because we’d missed something subtle — only to have to throw it all away). By the time you ever see a course from me, it has been quietly vetted by tens of thousands of people.

After all this research, what I found was seriously disheartening.

I found advice written by people who haven’t looked for a job in 30 years. (In fact, most career experts have never found a top-tier job.) If they haven’t interviewed with the world’s top companies, how do they know how the game is really played?

I found advice that tried to be “modern” — by slapping on words like “social media” onto the same old tired advice that’s been passed around for 50 years.

I found that career advice for women is almost unreadable. With phrases like “You go, girl” and approximately 68,000 references to shoes and “climbing the ladder,” I found myself wondering: Are women really this dumb? The answer is no. But the advice is.

So here are 5 of the most egregiously bad pieces of advice — THIS IS REAL CAREER ADVICE — that we found. Seriously, these are actual things that people wrote and were paid for.

Some of the worst career advice on the internet

I pulled these 5 pieces of hilariously bad career advice from our internal research vault.

Let’s start with…

1. The #1 thing you need for a job search is…

Yes! If you’ve been looking for your Dream Job, the first thing you need is NOT a strong network, or a process to identify your targets, or a way to narrow down the infinite universe of job options available to you. No, you don’t need to understand your psychological barriers, or the interviewing game, or how to master negotiation.

Nope! You need business cards.

2. This is what passes for “scripts” from other sites

Notice my favorite part: the last line.

Simple! Just expand! Hey…start a business. That’s right, just start it. Now, get some customers and you’ll be a millionaire!

3. Follow your passion!

It sounds logical to find your passion using self-examination. But has that worked for you? Just like “keep a budget” sounds logical for money — but doesn’t work — looking inward is only a small part of the puzzle. On its own, it doesn’t work. Of course, you would need to test it to realize this. Bonus: Notice the very American idea of looking inward, as if you can “think your way to clarity.” Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Here’s my view on passion:

This is me smiling
4. Don’t close any doors!

Notice that this idea of “keeping all of your options open” is so deeply entrenched that many people cannot fathom another way. But if you’re honest with yourself, you know that having too many options is crippling.

5. If you tweet it, they will come.

ARE YOU SERIOUSLY SHITTING ME?

Why is this career advice so bad?

That seriously passes for career advice — in SOME OF THE LARGEST MEDIA SOURCES IN THE WORLD.

Are you kidding me?

Is anyone else outraged?

I’ll tell you why I’m mad.

I’m mad because this terrible advice is written NOT to help people, but to drive pageviews. If one of these writers helps literally zero people, it doesn’t matter — they still get paid. In fact, I am changing “Doesn’t matter, had sex” to “Doesn’t matter, got paid.”

God I love that song. Anyway, since these career “experts” are never held accountable, you get low-quality writers who come up with obvious ideas, then write the same article 1,500 times. GTFO, horrible advice-givers.

I’m mad because we’re fed platitudes for our entire adolescence (“Go to college! Get a good job! Buy a house!”) and provided no guidance on how the game is actually played. For example, who ever told you that buying a house is very often a horrible investment? Who told you that submitting your resume through the front door of a company (via its website) is a quick route to being considered a total commodity — like the hundreds of other applicants?

I’m mad because the career advice we get is unspecific at best, and blatantly wrong at worst. Telling people to get business cards? Please leave this industry and never come back. I have literally never, ever gotten any job because of my business card. In fact, I will bet anyone with a $1,000 set of business cards that I could out-perform you in any job interview.

(I’m going to teach you how to do EXACTLY that — including the words to use in an interview — on the Dream Job launch list.)

After we spent 4 months going down the wrong path of constructing our Dream Job material, we realized we had taken a wrong turn and we had to go back and do it all again. But that’s not what makes me mad. I’m mad because I realized 90%+ of the books we read had never tested their theories with real people.

When you read other personal-finance books and they start with, “Let’s figure out how much you’re spending,” do you know what the vast majority of readers do? They put the book away. Nobody wants to write down what they spend because it makes them feel guilty. Of course, you would only know this if you tested your material. The same is true here: Most career “experts” sat in their room, concocted some ideas that SOUNDED reasonable, and wrote a book. They never tested it. They never systematically identified the flaws in their plan. They just “put it out there.” And the results have been terrible.

That’s one of the reasons we get people like Beth:

“I am angry that I am working in a silly job after spending a lot of money on a master’s degree to get out of silly admin jobs. It makes me feel foolish, BROKE (student loans), and like I’m a waste of space. I’m not contributing the world in a way I consider positive.” — Beth H.

And I’m mad because most of YOU have never taken the time to learn this material. Yes, the media gives us bad advice, and so do our parents, but when was the last time YOU took a successful friend out to coffee to learn how s/he did it? When did you ask one of your top friends how they got their job, and asked them do a practice interview? When was the last time you systematically tried to figure out the job game?

It’s fun to blame everyone else, but you ultimately need to take responsibility for yourself. I want to kill you right now.

The result of this? We end up feeling betrayed by a system that promised us success, but never gave us the tools to find it. In a fascinating comment on Reddit, someone wrote about why men often seem bitter about not finding women (substitute jobs for women, yeah I said it):

“I think a lot of Reddit is young dudes that focused on school and homework and such and figured that if they just checked off the boxes their parents and teachers told them were important, everything would fall in their laps. Especially if you’re a smart kid, opportunities seem to come to you pretty much constantly and everyone tells you you’re great. So they do well in school, do all their homework, focus on studies, and eschew social occasions for being dumb/beneath them.

Then when the hot girl doesn’t fall all over them for having good grades or being an engineer or whatever, they get bitter because hey, man, I’m smart and I majored in a real major not that liberal arts crap and so on. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do! They feel entitled to have the girl of their dreams just because they’ve checked boxes and do the “But I’m a NICE GUY” thing and when that doesn’t happen, they get more and more angry and settle into the “Women are just crazy bitches!”

One of the code words of our generation is BETRAYED. We were promised so much, but the chasm between expectations and reality is vast.

(By the way, this isn’t just for people with low or middle incomes. I know people with 6-figure jobs who feel the same way.)

We graduated into a terrible economy, a world with more choices than ever before, and an entirely new life situation to navigate. Our parents’ advice (“Pick a good job and stick with it!”) worked for them, but today is simply irrelevant. Worst, there is nobody who’s been through it — someone we trust who understands how the system REALLY works — who can take us through it.

You’re not finding Mildred, the 62-year-old lady at your career services office, throwing her fist down on the table and saying, “LISTEN UP, ASS. HERE’S HOW YOU GET A BIDDING WAR STARTED BETWEEN FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE.”

It’s no surprise that we end up feeling betrayed. Take a look:

Seriously, whoever picks these screenshots needs to be hurt
And so an entire generation — our generation — has been raised with this low-level anxiety in our heads that we NEED to find our passion, but we don’t know how. Start a twitter page? Clean up our resume? Buy a new suit? WHAT? WHAT DO WE DO?

We’re repeatedly told to find what we’re passionate about…but how? We see our friends posting stuff on FB they’re doing — traveling, getting prestigious appointments, buying a new car — and we just don’t know how to craft our lifestyles to be about that. Some of us even have these things — a nice apartment, a new car — but we’re still not happy.

Over time, we naturally become more risk-averse.

#1: I am afraid to fail. Not so much out of fear of failure itself, but moreso the fear of wasting time and energy in doing so. While typing this, I realize this is more like a FEAR OF RISK: I feel like I should not put my efforts into something when I am not certain that the payout will be worth the time I put in.
–Eric M.

How many of us would do ANYTHING to find our Dream Job…but we’re not sure what to do? Notice how over time, we become more and more concerned with wasting our time. The phrase goes like this: “Yeah, I would try anything…but how do I know it will work? I don’t want to waste my time on something that won’t work.”

Sound familiar?

The ultimate irony

The ultimate irony is that there are top performers getting the BEST jobs in this terrible economy. And most of us don’t even know that it’s happening.

Most of us simply accept what we read in the mass media, which is produced for the LCD — lowest common denominator. I don’t give a damn about the LCD. I’m not writing this for people who are unemployed or have $10-an-hour jobs. They need an entirely different skillset. I created this material to impress my Stanford friends, because I know that you’d rather have material that brings you HIGHER rather than panders to the most basic needs (“Wear a clean shirt!”) ever. There’s enough of that worthless advice out there.

I’m focused on results. Like how one of my students got a dream job offer within weeks of starting my Dream Job program…even before he finished the 8-week program.

So, ignore the terrible advice that is designed for pageviews, not results. There is hope. There is a SYSTEMATIC way of finding your passion, turning that into clear steps to find your dream job, and interviewing against people with years more experience — and winning. I’ve done it, I’ve helped MANY people do it, and I want to show you how.

TO DO TODAY

Leave a comment with the following:

  1. What is the most ridiculous piece of career advice you’ve ever heard? Be specific please.
  2. How has bad career advice kept you from achieving your goals? A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE PLEASE.
  3. When you graduated college, where did you think you’d be in 5 or 10 years? Where are you now? Please share a specific story about the difference between expectations and reality.

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264 Comments on "The worst career advice in the world"

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Lindsay Lennox
4 years 8 months ago
RE: Questions 1 and – The worst career advice I ever received wasn’t actually bad advice; it was poorly framed. “Have a fall-back plan, something practical, in case you aren’t successful in your writing/music/art/etc.” Nothing wrong with this advice, but it’s about failure, so people either ignore it completely and become broke artists, or they’re discouraged completely from even trying to do the thing they really, really care about doing. This advice could be reframed like this: “How will you make money to support yourself while you’re writing/composing/painting/whatever-ing?” Now it’s about enabling the lifestyle that matters to you. RE: Question… Read more »
Barbara Saunders
4 years 8 months ago
Another big flaw in the passion discourse: it presumes that passions line up directly with jobs and job descriptions. There are many artists making great money in areas like packaging physical products. It is not business majors who get these positions! Yet people will advice would-be artists not to major in art, and then tell skilled, accomplished artists that they need to go back and take business classes to get a job. And that’s not some new “creative class” era phenomenon. My father had a friend, probably almost 80 years old now, who worked as a pattern illustrator for the… Read more »
Jen
Jen
4 years 8 months ago

I agree with your first answer. When people ask you to create a fall back plan, it automatically triggers you into thinking “Oh No! I’m not going to succeed”.

Then you end up spending all your time working on Plan B while ignoring Plan A. And when you don’t get what you want, you end up settling for the back up plan, telling yourself, “I just knew this was going to happen”.

Great point, thanks for sharing it.

cc
cc
4 years 8 months ago
agreed! one of my pro artist buddies told me once he was good at cashiering in case his art career didn’t work out. like, grocery store, minimum wage cashiering. there’s nothing wrong with that, but he’s an artist making 6 figures a year, why does he have a minimum wage “backup”?? luckily my computer hobbies lined up with art in college, so now post-college I can pick up computer/graphic design work with light programming as well as art. i don’t love it like i love being an arteest, but it’s a backup gig that’s more satisfying (and higher-paying) than cashiering.… Read more »
Barbara Saunders
Barbara Saunders
4 years 8 months ago

There is a special place in hell for those blogs that attempt to coach people on how to answer standard interview questions. If you’re stuck in one of those standard interviews, you’re already at a disadvantage. The only option at that moment is to flip the script entirely, not provide one of the groveling answers usually advised.

Cocky and honest works better than people realize – provided you are actually a fit for the job.

Mike Graf
4 years 8 months ago
To me, it seems likely that if the company is pulling that bullshit, they’ll be doing it over and over again during the course of your job. Fuck ’em from the get go. If a company asks how much you’ll work for and you know you wont get the interview if you go too high, just lie. Demand more once you know they want you, or walk on the job. In the capitalist system it is the onus of the workers to demand every penny they can get (and demand more often). Part of the reason wages are so low… Read more »
Angie
Angie
4 years 8 months ago
Your comment reminds me of a canned interview question I got when I was 22, and I how I totally blew it because I was trying to appease the interviewer, yet at the same time didn’t have much respect for him, but I needed a job. The question was canned, but not standard. I was asked, “What is your philosophy of life?” I was thinking, “Is this guy for real? I’m 22 years old. I’ve never thought about my life philosophy, and I don’t think I have one. All I know is I need a job so I can move… Read more »
cc
cc
4 years 8 months ago
unfortunately this is true. i’m a freelancer that occasionally picks up PT jobs for extra cash, every time it’s like “wellllllll i don’t NEED the money but it would be NICE so this place better be good otherwise no way.” i’ve found myself interviewing the people as much as they interview me, mostly trying to get out of the damn thing without a job (ugh a job), but most of the time i get it anyway. so yeah, apparently acting cocky and like you barely want it if THEY even meet YOUR criteria works really great. word to the wise.… Read more »
Dave Doolin
Dave Doolin
4 years 8 months ago

Yeah, you got me there at “keep your options open.” It’s crap advice.

I’m a living testament to the non-efficacy of open options.

Peter Drucker (if I recall correctly) said something to the effect of “I walk away from sunk costs.” That’s closing options which don’t work.

K00kyKelly
4 years 8 months ago

I feel like keeping your options open is really advice for a different problem. There are tons of people who are out of work because they never bothered to learn new skills and became obsolete. People see this and think to themselves so-and-so didn’t keep their options open, except that really so-and-so was just too lazy to learn new things and somehow didn’t notice their industry evaporating around them.

Stanley Lee
4 years 8 months ago

I think it’s more appropriate to keep the right doors open in the near future, and figuring a way to open the right doors when you need them by tapping into the strong network you have.

Jesse
Jesse
4 years 8 months ago
I haven’t received particularly bad career advice. It was more staying at a job that wasn’t going anywhere. Staying at that job cost 5 years and the company went under. I didn’t go to college, but I am in a field where most people have Bachelors and Masters degrees. I never thought I would be where I am now 10 years ago. Now I know I want that Dream Job. BTW The personal branding strategy worked for me. I got my current job through it and it continues to get me interest. The problem is that I don’t have a… Read more »
Scott PF
4 years 8 months ago
Wow, Ramit, this is pretty much what I’ve been saying for years. Thank you for writing this. We have indeed been betrayed, and I’m glad the message is finally reaching beyond my dining room table at Thanksgiving. In response to the above questions: 1. The most ridiculous career advice is the mindlessly obvious quips that maybe work for one in 1000 people. I’ve actually been told — in 2011 — to “print up some resumes and mail them to companies.” Seriously? Seriously. I’ve also been told to “ask around”, which is basically like saying “that sucks for you.” 2. I… Read more »
Marcy
Marcy
4 years 8 months ago
Terrible advice I’m sorry I took: Just take the job and if you really don’t like it you can quit later. Staying unemployed until I found the job I really wanted would have been a better idea. I am so drained after work it’s very hard to focus on bettering my situation so instead I’m ‘getting through’ every week. When I graduated college I thought I would be able to continue to live at the poverty level and save all my salary in order to pay off a house and quit full-time work. That has definitely not happened. I also… Read more »
Mike Graf
4 years 8 months ago

Plus you totally get “comfortable” when you get a job, making it harder to get what you want. One thing on the side of taking a job is that people seem to want to hire employed people more than unemployed. @Ramit, any stats/research on that last statement?

Bennett
Bennett
4 years 8 months ago
1. Go into accounting, because there are always jobs in accounting. Also, you could replace “accounting” with any job which sucks but is widely necessary…garbage collecting, fast food fry-serving, etc. 2. I am an accountant who is unfulfilled with his life and feel like I’ve wasted years on education which I no longer have a desire to use when I could have pursued a field I was more interested in.* 3. When I graduated college I definitely thought I’d be a millionaire within 5 years and a multi-millionaire within 10. Let’s just say I’ve got some work to do to… Read more »
cjhuitt
cjhuitt
4 years 8 months ago

Speaking of advice I’m glad I didn’t take, one of my high school teachers told me I should go into accounting because I was so good in it. Of course, I was good because I knew math and could follow rules, not because I liked it, and I learned this by the end of the second year of the courses. Fortunately for me, I already had plans for engineering (in which many of the same traits help).

Aaron
Aaron
4 years 8 months ago

Hey cj, same exact thing and timing applies to me. Of course after I left business I took a rest stop at psychology before moving on to computer science.

shea
shea
4 years 8 months ago
i did that – the working for free thing – very, very successfully. i was a single mom, on welfare, my only skills working in fast food restaurants and no education to speak of. and the worst thing was that i had NO CONFIDENCE (born a girl into a family that only values boys). so i started investigating what i might want to do, but didn’t have the ability to believe that i could do anything, even though i knew i was smart. so i started working for different companies in my community, working basically as an assistant to the… Read more »
Daanish
Daanish
1 year 2 months ago

Fellow Accountant here. Which fields have seemed more interesting? What kind of assisting are you doing to find out what you like? Its an interesting strategy for sure!

Erin
Erin
4 years 8 months ago

1. “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.”

2. I really DID hate working in retail and in admin jobs after undergrad, and it was definitely not an attitude problem. Had I not taken the above advice, I might have thrown my hands in the air sooner and starting working towards an actual long-term goal, rather than wasting time by trying to “accept” that I was not too good for any job.

Michael Kaput
Michael Kaput
4 years 8 months ago
The single worst piece of career advice I ever received (and had to implement): In college, our career services department sat down the entire senior class in an auditorium to listen to a presentation about finding your dream career. We were given worksheets we HAD to fill out. They consisted of the following instructions: Draw three circles that all overlap in the middle (like a Venn diagram, I suppose). One is for your interests, one is for your skills, one is for (if I remember correctly) your goals. The intersection of these is your dream job. WTF?! Sesame Street taught… Read more »
Lindsay Lennox
4 years 8 months ago
Yeah, I’ve seen those Venn diagrams too. Often there are circles for ‘what you love to do,’ ‘what you’re great at’ and ‘what people will pay for.’ Problem is, EVEN IF we have enough insight to fill in the first two (which we aren’t; most of us have no idea what things we’re actually great at), we then go on to make a bunch of random assumptions about what people will or won’t pay for – a topic Ramit’s covered before in SOME depth. =) It improves things slightly to ask in that third circle ‘what do people need?’ but… Read more »
Daanish
Daanish
1 year 2 months ago

I believe this is Ramit’s advice in Earn1K about how to find your free-lance trade.

Kate
4 years 8 months ago
1. The worst piece of advice I’ve gotten would be to “follow your dreams.” Really? Following my “dream” would make me a multimillionaire without having to do anything. Or getting paid a six figure sum to read sci-fi/fantasy books. Something like “don’t change your computer science major to a classical languages (Latin) degree! You’ll realize you don’t want to teach and be SOL,” would have been much more useful. 2. It’s more lack of good career advice that’s kept me from my goals, see above. Additionally, it was recommended that I return to school for an MBA, which I have… Read more »
Cathy
Cathy
4 years 8 months ago
1. My High School guidance counselor urged me to drop out of High School and take the GED so I could start working and making money sooner. I was only 16 but I thought he was nuts. My High School was a pretty good school, why give up FREE education. He did say computers were the next big thing (yes I grew up with the dinosaurs), so he got that part right. The consequence of this advice was to reinforce my idea that sometimes people have no idea what they are talking about, and sometimes they do know what they… Read more »
andrew
andrew
4 years 8 months ago
I dont believe its the career advice as much as it is the mentality that a lot of people my age (20) have while they are in college. They believe that a job will simply fall in their lap once they graduate as a sort of reward for getting a degree. This mentality keeps a person from achieving their goals because their mind will automatically look to blame anyone for their inability to get a job. Gary halbert said to only rely on yourself because if you rely on someone else you have an excuse for failure. To answer question… Read more »
Kate
Kate
4 years 8 months ago

That is so true!! I’ve noticed that a lot with a cousin of mine who just graduated! He does not seem to do anything to look for a job, just expects it to be handed to him, just like most things have been. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy, just unmotivated. It’s the same entitlement mentality that the whole generation seems to have!

mark
mark
4 years 8 months ago
As a criminal defense lawyer for now 18 years, I have some success at making over $90K plus a year. This limited success is no thanks to any advice from my law school. In law school, we were told to 1. practice general law unless you are hired by a big name law firm 2. don’t purchase malpractice insurance if you do criminal defense work (you don’t need it) 3. take specialized courses instead of bar review classes because you will get enough information to pass the bar in bar review after law school. I have ignored all this advice.… Read more »
cc
cc
4 years 8 months ago

for years now i have regretted taking german instead of spanish. my fam has a lot of buddies in germany and half the fam speaks it, and technically the one time i was in germany i managed to speak me a hotel room reservation (yeah!). but living in nyc now, boy oh boy i wish i knew spanish. isn’t it like the most widely spoken language besides english in the USA now?

Judith
Judith
4 years 8 months ago

As a German I am always surprised how many people say they want to or are learning German. It’s nowhere near a widely used language like English, Spanish, French, Russian or Chinese.

John Leonard
4 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, first time commenter and I’m new to your site and content – I’ve only been reading your recent blog posts and am now trying to catch up! (I feel like a first time caller on a cheesy talk radio station!) 1. Worst career advice I got was from my last boss, who was a puffed up, self important and egotistical moron who tried to convince me that sticking with him would get me places. The entire division got axed and he got made redundant (as I did) three months later. 2. Bad career advice that kept me from… Read more »
Justin Mares
4 years 8 months ago

Still in college, our career services department sent out an email to a blog post they wrote about how to “approach” (spam) HR people on LinkedIn at companies you want to work for. The technique included using advanced search to find these people, then asking to send them your resume.

Wow.

Justin Mares
Justin Mares
4 years 8 months ago

I wish you’d reference your old blog posts more often (like below). That one was great, and the site is a bit hard to search and go through archives. Thanks for the link!

John Morgan
4 years 8 months ago
1. The worst advice I would say I’ve heard is to send your resume to as many companies as possible and that with the “law of averages”, eventually you will get something. What you get is a lot of time wasted sending an application out to place after place rather than tailoring and narrowing your job search down to what you are specifically looking for. I’d also agree with the poster about ideas like the circles. I’ve done it and it’s a dumb strategy. 2. Specifically this system has held me back because I’d fall into the trap that ‘more… Read more »
Colin M
Colin M
4 years 8 months ago

Fortunatly I could not read your snippets of bad advice, due to the writing being displayed to small on the iPhone. Here’s some career advise.
If your target audience cannot read your resume/brochure you will not impress them in the slightest.

Rach
Rach
4 years 8 months ago

And you will not impress me by not being able to spell advice…

Kyle
Kyle
4 years 8 months ago
1. The worst advice I ever got was probably from friends, family, and authoritative figures during school. I was told “Get a college degree, and a great job will come with it”. I remember being told so much about college, that I’d get close to a six figure salary just with an entry level position, and I could easily become rich if I got good grades. Years later I realize everyone else was doing the same, and now I can’t get a job in my field, make a less than liveable wage, and am in huge debt and have terrible… Read more »
Erica
Erica
4 years 8 months ago

1. “You just need to get your foot in the door”, often without elaboration. I also heard “Go get your MBA” for awhile, and almost did it.

2. I switched my major to computer science. Before, I wanted to be a writer, but was told it wouldn’t pay anything, and that computers would pay more, especially with a degree. Not only do I get paid the same as my colleagues without a degree, I still want to be a writer.

Nick
Nick
4 years 8 months ago

Word

Kat
Kat
4 years 8 months ago
Q1: “Take the offer”. I did and ended up making 10k less than the male who had less work experience than myself. Q2: The advice givers I spoke with grew up in a different working environment and were also male, so they didn’t see my situation correctly. I should have gotten a female mentor to help me navigate the field and help me negotiate more money. Q3: 10 years after I graduated college, I thought I would be better set money wise and possibly running my own firm. I am not running my own firm due to myself being scared/lazy… Read more »
Jen
Jen
4 years 8 months ago
1. What is the most ridiculous piece of career advice you’ve ever heard? Be specific please. Answer: You ALWAYS need a resume to get a job. Not so, I worked for two years as telecom marketing manager for a start-up without once giving my future boss a resume. I simply showed him what I could do based on past results, stayed true to my word, and rocked that job. I’m also learning that case studies showing past results and custom tailored proposals work better than simple resumes/cover letters. 2. How has bad career advice kept you from achieving your goals?… Read more »
Julia
Julia
4 years 8 months ago
1- the worst career advice I received was a bit about when I was considering moving from NYC (secure job, big corp) to SF to work for a small startup (just off the ground). The advice-giver told me that what I was considering was EXTREMELY RISKY, disregarding that I was miserable in my secure job, and that I should probably not take the startup job. The startup offered more money, better work environment, work I actually cared about, better benefits, and I’m 23 with zero debt… but I shouldn’t take a ‘risky’ move like this. GREAT advice. 2-the worst piece… Read more »
Chris
4 years 8 months ago
The shitty “If you tweet it, they will come” advice actually worked for me – and landed me a sweet gig. Granted, I work in that mysterious field around social media marketing so it was natural to have my Twitter and Facebook represent my resume and a way for potential employers to contact me without having to apply to a position. Wouldn’t expect this to work for 99.9% of other people. Worst career advice I’ve received – take a job for the benefits! Shitty companies offer great benefits to retain their shitty talent. Real talent leaves when the shitty company… Read more »
Stanley Lee
4 years 8 months ago

The benefits hook is not even the worst to come during the entire cycle. Once getting recruited, managers may give you so much work to make taking advantage of the benefit difficult for you as an employee. It happened for me.

Divya
Divya
4 years 8 months ago
1.Young people telling each other or planning to get their masters, phd’s, mba’s. I find when I ask my peers what they’re going to do when they graduate they all want to complete graduate degrees! It baffles me – and it often seems like some sort of elite intellectual superiority battle. 2. Even now, in an social science program and all, I am told by family and relatives to “get a professional degree” (medicine/law/MBA). Always an uphill battle justifying my decisions not too, and at times makes me second guess my decisions. 3. I am still in college, but five… Read more »
Megha
Megha
4 years 8 months ago
Most ridiculous piece of advice? Network with anyone and everyone without ever stopping to think: 1. Is this someone who is in the industry I want to be in 2. Is this someone who is actually up there (not just at my level but actually 5-10 years out who can give substantive advice) 3. Is this someone who is confident and can give good advice — not someone who will spend the 30 minute coffee time trying to make up for their own insecurities by telling you how much better their school was then yours, how much better their experience… Read more »
Ian
Ian
4 years 8 months ago
1. “You’ll never get anywhere without a degree from a top-named college.” Yeah, right. While I’ll agree that a degree can _help_ in some professions, it very seldom, if ever, needs to be from a top-name (read: stupid expensive) school. 2. Twelve years ago I went to school for an A.S. in ‘Computer Networking’. It was the tail end of the tech boom, and everyone was saying there would always be a demand for computer techs, and that they’d be able to name their own price for salaries. Being a computer guy and having dropped out of college for Mechanical… Read more »
Ellen
Ellen
4 years 8 months ago
1) Worst career advice: when I was pursuing an acting career in New York, I was talking to my mom about going on auditions, dealing with rejection, etc. Her advice – “well, why don’t you get an agent?” Thanks, I’ll just pop down to the agent store and pick one up. 2) “Focus on your craft and the business side will fall into place”. While this is exactly the advice artists WANT to hear and follow, it fails to take into account that the business side IS PART OF THE CRAFT. Developing an audition speech that you can deliver brilliantly… Read more »
Leah H.
4 years 8 months ago
1. Worst career advice I’ve ever gotten is “Something will come along!” What? How?? A job is not going to just fall in my lap, who are you kidding? I’ve been freelance editing and web consulting, while looking for a full-time job, for THREE YEARS. I’ve sent out nearly 200 job applications in the last 2 years alone. When exactly is this mystical job going to “come along”? Ugh hearing things like that is just frustrating and not the least bit helpful. 3. When I was in grad school, I was told that something like 90% of graduates from my… Read more »
Sean Goble
4 years 8 months ago
1. “It’s an internship right now but once things turn around we should be able to hire you full time.”. I was too starry eyed about the prospect of being a music supervisor to notice (or care) about the obvious warning signals in the above statement. 2. “Following my passion” and “focussing on that which I love” I actually left a job that offered me a large pay bump and management position to keep me to pursue the above internship. I was pretty young and figured I could always recover. Still working on getting back to that pay grade after… Read more »
Sean Goble
Sean Goble
4 years 8 months ago

Missed the reality vs dream part. My current reality is working at a performing rights organization which, while somewhat mundane, does keep my toe i the music industry and gives okay compensation with security and benefits but little to no creative output or enjoyment.

Stanley Lee
4 years 8 months ago

The internship remark is an invisible script that took me some time to get over. The passion script again didn’t close the loop as it doesn’t address the problems of how you monetize off potential passions, how you find mentors, how you find potential clients, and also the realistic market size. Chances that you’re not an outlier is pretty huge.

Natalia
Natalia
4 years 8 months ago
My father currently has one of the highest paid jobs in the country, he is a sales manager and has been “successful” in his job. He raised the sales of a certain multinational technology company from approximately $30 million to $120 million in less than three years. He is passionate about his job and he loves what he does. Still, his advice for us, his children, has been that we should not to let ourselves fall in the hands of the corporate world. He says that it is much better to be an entrepreneur (he used to be one, for… Read more »
Allison
Allison
4 years 8 months ago
1. Worst career advice: Take what they’ve offered, and after three months, discuss a raise. 2. How has that bad advice kept me from achieving my goals? That raise never happens, or whatever is offered has been outright offensive. So 10+ years after graduating from an Ivy League… the ROI on my degree is negative. And considering I considered dropping out of college at one point, it is frustrating to know that I could be making more if I had made different career decisions years ago. (I will change this though by June of this year). 3. I thought I… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
4 years 8 months ago
Worst career advice I ever got – that standard internships are necessary for working in the fields I’ve worked in to “get your foot in the door”, and that you “need to start at the bottom and slowly work your way up.” No you fucking well don’t. You do need to demonstrate your skills and build trust with the people you work with or plan to work with, and yes those traditional epithets can result in that, but very inefficiently. I’ve bypassed that advice regularly to get into positions that surprise people who still try to “help” me with that… Read more »
Sheri
4 years 8 months ago
I can’t believe I paid for five years of a university education without knowing what I really wanted to learn. I spent tens of thousands of dollars for a product that may or may not work, had no guarantees, no follow-up, and which made me sad, confused, and unhealthy. I majored in something that was so broad, I could choose any job (I suppose the underlying idea was that simply possessing a degree in anything would entitle me to a top-level position somewhere). So I majored in Communication. LOL! What is more, this degree was also supposed to be the… Read more »
Angie
Angie
4 years 8 months ago
I also didn’t know what I wanted to major in college and I also majored in Communications! And applied for communication/marketing/pr jobs after college! LOL. I thought by studying something broad, I would be able to more easily qualify for anything, but the truth is, after graduation, I felt qualified for nothing. But while you wish you had focused on dance and athletics, I wish I would have focused on a BS degree in either Economics, Business or Computer Science. It sounds like you love what you do now and that’s great. You sound so confident that you will never… Read more »
Catherine
Catherine
4 years 8 months ago
1. I had spent the summer utilizing career services at the government internship I where I was advised to take the Myers-Briggs personality profile. Back in school I still felt completely lost and made an appointment with a career advisor. I SPECIFICALLY told the advisor that Myers-Briggs did not help me at all, because it came up with a huge list of career options and was not specific in telling what I needed to do. I also said that I didn’t think my career was aligned with what I was studying, and I didn’t like the types of jobs offered… Read more »
Ilhan
Ilhan
4 years 8 months ago
1. I was told from a high school teacher I really admired to “Follow your heart.” The way he said it was so intense/emotional that it left a real impact on me. 2. I’ve since kept trying to figure out how to follow that advice, and what it meant to me. This has led to lots of introspection and watching documentaries, not making progress for months. 3. Graduated a couple years ago. I expected I’d be running some kind of respectable online business, traveling, having virtual assistants and all that exciting stuff you and your buddy Tim Ferriss seem to… Read more »
Trevor
Trevor
4 years 8 months ago
I’ve received the standard bad career advice cited by many, but two answer question 2, the biggest crime bad career advice helps you commit is to make you feel like you’re working hard and making progress toward getting a new and better job when you’re really just spinning your wheels. For months I diligently sent out resumes and wrote countless time-consuming cover letters to show my committed interest to specific jobs. I always felt accomplished after submitting a resume and cover letter. In the immortal words of Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, I was just “another brick in the wall”.… Read more »
drea916
drea916
4 years 8 months ago
I LOVE your comments on finding your passion. I HATE the advice “What kind of work would you want to do if you won the lottery? That’s how you know what kind of job you should go for.” I spent three years trying to find my passion following that advice. I remember this line from Jack Canfield’s book “Do you like watching soap operas? One lady found a way to make a career out of it, she writes for soap opera digest! Like talking to people? Oprah has made a career out of it!” I need to pay rent! I’d… Read more »
Sandy
4 years 8 months ago
“At least it’s a job with a steady income!” Terrible advice. It leaves you feeling that any reasonable job is good because the most important thing is making money. Not that I object to money, you understand! But the truth is that you might be competent at any job that pays money, but you’ll never be really good at anything you don’t love. If you aren’t really good at your work, you will never rise to more and more interesting work. You will never feel that you are paid well enough, so that you want to work hard at your… Read more »
jane shafrin
4 years 8 months ago

worst career advice: “The lipstick on your upper lip is wrong”

This was from a man who called himself a headhunter.

I have more! When I was a teacher: “Dont even think of showing up to work without panty hose!” (I’m female) “Do you think you are a fashion designer?” (referring to my clothes)

getting fired from a writing job that I held for 3 years & won mentions in local press:”You sure can’t write!”

“Learn touch typing and shorthand! You’ll always have a ‘fall back'”
==heard it all
Jane

M
M
4 years 8 months ago
1. “Women in the workplace need to wear makeup in order to look like they care, but not too much or they look like they’re trying to seduce the boss/interviewer.” Seriously? Wtf? While I understand looking presentable is important, shouldn’t I be judged primarily on my skills and experience? And how much is enough? How much is too much? Is someone really going to think that a woman’s coming on to them just because of their makeup? And wouldn’t the ‘acceptable amount’ vary from field to field? This advice is not only irritating, but so vague as to be useless.… Read more »
jane shafrin
4 years 8 months ago

hi just FYI, it’s “per se” — not per say. Your future husband is your fiance, not your finance.

Hope your tutorials aren’t anything to do with proofreading.

jane

Krista B.
4 years 8 months ago
The worst advice I keep getting is that dream jobs don’t exist. “It’s called work for a reason” my family tells me. Find something stable and work until you retire. I have internalized this message that there really can’t possibly be a dream job and allowed myself to stay stuck in a job where I feel frustrated daily…but hey it’s secure! After college, my 5-10 year plan was to be a project coordinator of a large advertising agency. I never got a job in advertising and eventually went back to school. I now work as a high school teacher.
Daniel
Daniel
4 years 8 months ago
1. As a Computer Science major, I should post a resume on your student webpage to show that I’m computer literate. This was given to me by the career department at a top-tier University. 2. Just do the work that your boss/manager tells you and don’t venture out into uncharted territory. I spent about a year with some really great ideas of how value could be added to the company I was working for (automating a good deal of their testing processes. I feared angering my then manager by suggestion that he goes about doing things in a radically new… Read more »
Michael
Michael
4 years 8 months ago

I’m currently in the military. The advise was, “you’ve already done 10 years. You might as well do another 10 and then retire.” This person already knew that I despise the military, so why the fuck would I subject myself to 10 more years at a job/ organization I cannot stand any longer? Because it’s ‘safe.’ Screw safe, I want my freedom.

Tammy
Tammy
4 years 8 months ago
Great Post! 1. Choose a practical major, like nursing, child development, criminal justice. Whenever I tell someone I’m a Spanish major, they either say nothing and dismiss it, say “oh, what could you do with that degree, or they tell me how it’s best to learn another language as a child because. Whatever, I know exactly what I intend to do with the degree, how I’m going to do it, and what I’m getting out of it. 2. The advice of Imagining where you want to be has left me in Daydream land since I was 8 years old. It… Read more »
Justine
Justine
4 years 8 months ago
1) I was told that if I just “tough it out” as a Chemist that my company will notice my hard work and promote me to my bosses position as technical director, because I mean he has to retire someday right? 2) So I toughed it out. FOR 3 YEARS until they hired a guy off the street who succesfully sold himself as the expert in the field. That guy than had me train him in my boss’s old job and then fired me, saying that I was negligent and denied me unemployment. 3) When I graduated college I had… Read more »
Donna
Donna
4 years 8 months ago
1. “Get into catering.” I live in a tourist destination where there are lots of hotels and restaurants so I guess there was demand for chefs but I can’t cook. Thankfully I didn’t take this advice. 2. “If you work really hard and get good appraisals then you will be promoted.” Crap. This totally ignores the wider economics, not to mention the “game” that gets played. 3. I thought I would be single, a high earner, in a stunning career and driving a sports car. I was married and in an admin job (which I loved at the time). D
Elizabeth
Elizabeth
4 years 8 months ago

1. Any job is better than no job (from my dad)
2. Getting stuck in sucky jobs & not motivated enough(our know how) to change
3. I thought I would have more control over my work flow& schedule. I feel like a slave, or a circus performer, dodging the cream pies they throw my way.

Mohammed Shareef
4 years 8 months ago
1) There are too many interview questions that could possibly be asked. Don’t bother going through all of them. Be yourself and answer the best you can. (Reality: There are definitely some very specific common questions, even in technical interviews.) 2) I was interviewing for a job with five other classmates. The interview questions were not very difficult to answer. I did the best I could. I was told I would be invited for training to start the job. Three of my classmates got the actual offer and invitation details, and I was not one of them. 3) I thought… Read more »
Jen
Jen
4 years 8 months ago
#1: “Academia is totally a good fall-back for writing and you’d be good at it because you’re so smart!” tied with “Why don’t you go to law school?” I knew better than to go to law school, but being a professor is full of weird pitfalls that no one explains whenever the one professor tells you “you know the job market is terrible, right?” That’s nice, but you always believe you’ll beat the odds. Why does no one say, “for liberal arts majors, becoming a professor means you will spend five years trying to suck up to a year off… Read more »
Jason Sandeman
4 years 8 months ago
1) Never work for a paycheck. 2) When I find that I am getting bored with a place, it becomes monotonous. Then I start to slack off. I left a 72K year job because I “didn’t want to work for a paycheck.” As a result, I am unemployed, anxious, and don’t know where my career is taking me. 3) When I left cooking school, I thought I would be a sous chef at 5 years, own my own restaurant within 10 years. Then I met my wife, and found that there was something else other than working 18 hour days.… Read more »
Virginia
4 years 8 months ago
What is the most ridiculous piece of career advice you’ve ever heard? I am an actor. One of the most ridiculous pieces of career advice I’ve been given is “showing up (at auditions) is half the battle.” That is suuuuuch bullshit. It is not HALF the battle. I would say it’s the last 2% of the battle (though a critical 2%, I will admit). However, you can’t JUST show up. That’s stupid. It doesn’t matter how many auditions you “show up” at, if you don’t have an agent (first and foremost) you will NOT be able to make a decent… Read more »
MJ
MJ
4 years 8 months ago

“Even the name “financial literacy” makes me want to urinate all over my computer.”

I just spit $4 latte on my laptop.

Lily
Lily
4 years 8 months ago

Find a job in a field that you know wont die out (ie. Health field). And work for the rest of your life. Honestly, the generation before did that, but thats also when pensions existed and people gave a hoot about other people and their health. Not just the money hungry health system we have now. No job anywhere is “safe” or “guaranteed” anymore. Sigh. I imagined myself with a safe job when I entered my field, but now with all the healthcare reform, tight budgets all that had crumped with the market.

Scott PF
4 years 8 months ago

Just saw this over on Reddit:

And

Heather
4 years 8 months ago
1. The most ridiculous piece of career advice I remember reading (fairly recently) was ‘Wearing a read shirt can make you seem more dynamic and powerful in an interview, and should give you a confidence boost. But it tends to work better for women, guys – try a tie.’ That may not be the exact wording but that was the gist. In a published book for young people from the library. I remember rolling my eyes and putting the book down at that point. 2. When you’re on jobseekers allowance (Scotland, it’s for when you’re unemployed and I was there… Read more »
Braydon
Braydon
4 years 8 months ago
I just read all of those comment and no one made a crack about that hilarious photo of you. I watched the video and was pretty disappointed it didn’t say “my hands are a b-cup, can I just check?” Anyway. I’m going to be honest here. I can’t really remember any specific advice that was bad, beyond the usual “get something stable or follow your dreams.” I’m not sure why, but I always just ignore that. Maybe it’s because all I heard was “be like me” or “I failed and now have to do something terrible, don’t be like me”.… Read more »
James
4 years 8 months ago
Wow, some of you are embittered. I don’t remember getting any bad career advice, because I didn’t get any career advice while at school. So maybe the bad advice is that you need somebody to tell you what to do. But perhaps that’s the benefit of hindsight occluding any vision of failures. It’s been much easier for me to discern good advice: have an awesome CV, and don’t be boring at interviews. So hooray for me. On the other hand, when I left university I thought I’d be a retired internet millionaire within 5 years. Only being an employee with… Read more »
C
C
4 years 8 months ago
I thought that I would get an academic position within 1 or 2 years of getting my Ph.D. That’s what I had been led to believe by professors, career counselors and my peers’ experiences. Unfortunately, my graduation year was the trough of demand for my specialty. It took almost 2 years to find a job and it’s out of my field. What’s worse is that I’ve been stuck in it for >10 years. I work for the federal government in an increasingly team-oriented environment. Sometimes, it seems like we have teams for the sake of teams. I can’t get any… Read more »
Dave
Dave
4 years 8 months ago
1. Worst career advice…where do I start? I have to go with: “Just network.” OK, maybe not terrible advice, but nobody tells you HOW to network in an unsleazy way, and then use that network to get a job. 2. Several times, I took the first job I was offered because I was afraid of being unemployed, not being able to pay back debt, etc. That old thinking, “in this economy, you’re lucky to have ANY job.” I wish I had held out because I could’ve landed much better gigs. 3. When I started college in 1999…in the middle of… Read more »
Stanley Lee
4 years 8 months ago

Dave,

Glad to read that you stopped following all the “bad advice” to change course. Being lucky to have broken $50k after 8+ years of experience is pretty sad for many fields.

Alex
Alex
4 years 8 months ago
Most ridiculous piece of career advice (which I took) was walking away from the interview process with a top-5 global (world-known and respected) company when I was about 10 rounds in and doing well. this was because someone I thought I could trust saw how unsure i was about my ability to do the job and how I disliked a prior experience in a comparable company and recommended I walk. I completely blame myself for taking such a foolish step, and realize I was stuck in a feedback loop of uncertainty and doubt and wanted affirmation rather than an “out”.… Read more »
Michael
4 years 8 months ago
The worst advice I received was from my aunt: you should grow a beard so you look older and more mature. WTF? Fortunately I was unable to follow that advice because my facial hair is very light, thin and splotchy, but it left me thinking for years at I wouldn’t be taken seriously by my colleagues because I looked much younger (and by correlation inexperience and unknowledgable) than I was. When I graduated uni I thought I would be running a junior mining company within 10y. After 10y I was a maintenance superintendent for a mining company and then spent… Read more »
Comet
Comet
4 years 8 months ago
1. I’ve heard way too much about getting a safe, secure job with good benefits. 2. During college, I took a job because it paid well. I followed the idea that I should settle for a good paying job so I could pay for college. The job requirements had nothing to do with anything I’d ever wanna do in the rest of my life. Looking back, I realize the insignificant monetary difference between what I made at that useless job that taught me nothing in comparison to a job that would have prepared me with valuable experiences in pursuit of… Read more »
Kenneth
Kenneth
4 years 8 months ago

1) You can’t get anywhere without a masters.

3) I thought that five years after graduation I would be living in Portland, OR working as a professional engineer for a land development firm. Instead I am working as an engineer for the government in construction.

Mike
Mike
4 years 8 months ago
Go to college (which one?), get a job (not a career, a job, not an exciting fulfilling life of value–a job, and then marry and buy a house [ok, a domestic partner and a house–whatever…] Grandchildren? More work, more work, more bills, more issues–investing? saving? budgeting? HAH!! And, unless you are successful at luring renters into your house [to cover the mortgage and maintenance], it’s not an investment–or, an asset–it’s a piece of personal property that will take time and money to keep. I’m glad someone finally put this realtor-generated ‘myth’ of wasting money on rent to bed by laying… Read more »
Alichino
Alichino
4 years 8 months ago
“Do what you love” – this doesn’t work for everyone. If you want to live in luxury, there are certain fields you must avoid simply because there’s no money in them. I tried to buck the trend and make money in the info science field, and now I’m swamped with student loan debt, including a useless masters degree, and still live with my parents because I can’t afford to live on my own at age 30. I have a crappy part time job and am scrambling to network and put a portfolio together so I can get into a better… Read more »
Evan Caporale
Evan Caporale
4 years 8 months ago
1) “Send your resume out to as many different job postings as possible.” My dad said that getting a job was a number’s game. The more resumes I sent out the more responses I should have gotten and the more job offers. It took me three months to get a job that way. My current job I got after looking for less then a month because a friend introduced me to a friend who was hiring. 2) Instead of spending my first years out of college systematically looking for jobs with a specific goal in mind I just kept looking… Read more »
Chris Campbell
4 years 8 months ago

+1 for including my favorite video

“Doesn’t matter, got paid.”

Lisa Fine
4 years 8 months ago
1. To use cliched phrases in your elevator pitch, like, “I’m a top player”, or “I’m a people person”. Gag me. 2. I have been told to send out as many (blind) resumes, which results in next to nothing. (In the meantime, when I use my network to get advice from people, it leads to closer results.) I now spend most of my time doing the things that work, and very little time (if any), doing the things that don’t work. 3. I don’t think I really knew where I would be – I probably thought I would be working… Read more »
KO
KO
4 years 8 months ago
1. Go to college and study something practical, so you can get a good job and make money to do other stuff. This is sucky advice for 2 reasons: 1) who is actually doing what they went to college for? I would say about 65% of architecture graduates, and that’s it. (To be fair, I’m referring specifically to a bachelors degree.) I started college studying something “practical”, and quickly realized that studying a specific “concentration” was a giant waste of time. I now tell all my younger cousins getting ready for college to go and study something they enjoy, because… Read more »
Anna S.
Anna S.
4 years 8 months ago
1. Worst career advice ever? When I was in school, and said that I was interesting in foreign languages, and the career lady said ‘Oh, so you want to be a translator, then?’ I told her no, that that sounded kind of boring… and she went on about being a translator for an hour. And posted me a careers sheet about translation. Also, the careers service at my undergrad uni, where I went in to find out what my options might be for doing creative, interesting work in the business side of the music industry, and they wouldn’t even give… Read more »
Patrick
4 years 8 months ago
Most ridiculous piece of career advice? Not really getting any in all. Just understood the notion to go to college and then shit would pan out. Ha. Not having any tangible advice makes me feel like I wasted opportunities in college to understand the game that is being played and to get ahead of the curve. Year 4 out of college, still in my first job after graduating. Thought I would have jumped around to a few different jobs, meet a lot of interesting people and really take off in my career. Instead I am surrounded by an older generation… Read more »
Aaron
Aaron
4 years 8 months ago
1. I was told to just go into engineering because I would be guaranteed a job upon graduation, since the job market for that field “would always been growing”. That couldn’t have been more false as I have been looking for a job for almost 2 years now, but have decided to pursue finance since I was pretty interested in that when I was doing my undergrad in engineering. 2. I followed the monotonous application process of drafting unique cover letters and applying online, only to discover I was just wasting my time when I could have taken an entry… Read more »
Elaine
Elaine
4 years 8 months ago
1. “Career changers should use a functional resume format or blended format.” 2. Two experiences: I had a great conversation with oil/gas business development sales agent over drinks with friends. After talking about the industry and her experience she started asking about my goals/experience and then asked for my card (didn’t have one), gave me hers and asked me to email my resume. I was so afraid of sending her the “wrong” resume, I didn’t get back to her for almost a week because I thought I should rewrite my resume in a functional format. Not only did it cost… Read more »
Pax
Pax
4 years 8 months ago

Lindsay it sounds like your were at the dinner table when I was a kid, because that’s exactly what my parents told me. EXACTLY.

Olivia Hoang
4 years 8 months ago
I stumbled upon the best way to think about career search (and anything else, for that matter) by transposing some ideas from direct marketing. First, you need a strong offer. For career search, this means you need skills that are in demand. So this would be the first step. Second, you need to target the right market. So target the companies and industries that would respond best to the set of skills you have to offer. Third, you need to have a great selling message. So this is where learning sales and negotiation comes in. I would say that having… Read more »
Megan
Megan
4 years 8 months ago
Worst advice: Work for the government, it offers great benefits and stability. How the advice affected me: I never even thought about working for state government until someone else mentioned it to me. Then, I thought it would be cool because I could have some kind of impact and make things better-more efficient and effective. Public service, how noble and rewarding, right? I worked at one agency, got frustrated, felt I could still make a difference; moved to another agency, same thing and another. Finally, I got so frustrated I made the jump to the private sector. Unfortunately, the unusually… Read more »
Katherine
Katherine
4 years 8 months ago
As a professional recruiter I have seen it all. I have had interviews with candidates that have absolutely no idea what they want to do. Worse yet I get emails all the time telling me to check out their LinkedIn profile and let them know if I have a job for them. My favorite emails are the responses to a job posting with the person having none of the skills, education, or experience that was required for the position. Biggest misconception of our role is that we “find” people jobs. Sorry. We are paid by the client to find the… Read more »
Doug
Doug
4 years 8 months ago
1. “Certified Novell Engineer is like a guarantee of employment.” The fact most people reading this post probably don’t even know what “Novell” is/was says all that needs to be said about that… 2. “Don’t toot your own horn,” “Let others say good things about you” and numerous variations thereon. Not intended as career advice, but rather as life advice in the small towns where I grew up. Unfortunately, in the corporate environment where I currently work, it tends to make my tounge cleave to the roof of my mouth when I get to those crucial, “Explain why we should… Read more »
Val
Val
4 years 8 months ago
1. The worst career advice? “Just go to medical school, no matter what it takes or how much money it costs. You don’t like it? It doesn’t matter, the job is the most stable job in the world. You can worry about what you like later.” Never mind that you give away 5+ years of your life going $200K into debt that you have to pay off until the day you die. For something you don’t even like. Never mind that a good chunk of that doctor salary is going into malpractice premiums on top of debt payments. Thank gawd… Read more »
Melissa
Melissa
4 years 8 months ago

#1. Do What You LOve & The Money Will Follow

Really? Where is it? I do love my work, but I make less than 30K working 3 jobs!

Theo
Theo
4 years 8 months ago

Hi Ramit,

The youtube screenshots are typically the frame from the exact center of your video. Hope that helps. 🙂

-Theo

Xmcd
Xmcd
4 years 8 months ago

Youve been workin on your presentation skills. Nice.

Jonathan Vaudreuil
4 years 8 months ago
1. Get a college degree (MBA/certificate/more training) if you want to be successful. I’m glad I got a college degree, I enjoyed learning in college a lot, but other than helping me land an entry-level Sales job when I graduated in ’04 the only residuals I have still are the student loans I’m almost done paying off. “You need more experience” translates to “I don’t trust you with this” in de-bullshitted English. 2. You know what almost no one tells you? Don’t work for assholes, don’t believe the hype in the interview. don’t believe the career path the interviewers tell… Read more »
Kat
Kat
4 years 8 months ago
1.) My parents told me to get a technical degree and I could do whatever I wanted. I did major in engineering, but struggled. I chuckle about it now because I find it funny that I, diagnosed with a math learning disability and qualified to take the SATs with extended time, thought it would be a good idea to get a degree that required about 5 semesters of calculus. I’d like to point out that although this wasn’t great advice for me, I don’t think its bad advice. On the contrary, both of my parents came from relatively poor families… Read more »
Robert Putt
Robert Putt
4 years 8 months ago
When you graduated college, where did you think you’d be in 5 or 10 years? Where are you now? Please share a specific story about the difference between expectations and reality. When I graduated college with a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering I was the quintessential subject that you discussed in this article. I didn’t think I was deserving as much as I assumed that I would lock in a position with a Biomedical Company. In 5-10 years I figured I would be making 6 figures designing biomedical devices. After 3 months of looking for a position I hung my head… Read more »
ray johnson
ray johnson
4 years 8 months ago
Where I thought I would be after being out of college was a millionaire who traveled the country ‘. with a few side businesses and real estate holdings. Instead I am a dead end job with minimal Propspects. My reason for this was that I thought would become a supervisor for walmart, which would lead to a management spot that would allow me to join the swat team. A position that allows you to travel the country fixing walmarts. Needless to say my plan was derailed when the store manager ask what were you doing in this four year gap.… Read more »
Sylvia
Sylvia
4 years 8 months ago

The worst piece of “advice” I ever received was from one of my ex-stepmothers questioning why I would want to get more education (over joining the Army or Navy but that’s another story)… “Why do you want to go to college? You know we can’t pay for that, so you’ll have to come up with that yourself. Anyway, you don’t need more education – you’re a very pretty girl and I’m sure you’ll meet a great guy and he’ll take care of you.”…… umm… yeah….. Even back then I knew that was an extremely flawed theory.

Kristin Patterson
Kristin Patterson
4 years 8 months ago

1) Worst career advice given to me by my mother and her relatives was to join the military.
2) Thankfully I did not take this advice. But because I have not been able to land a job since finishing grad school, the military seems to them like a good option.
3) I thought I would be an Associate at one of the big consulting firms. It didn’t happen but this time has allowed me to do things I enjoy and pursue a few business ideas.

Jenny
Jenny
4 years 8 months ago
1)Do what your boss tells you without question because you are a rookie… My boss was later kicked out of the industry for unethical and criminal behavior. Thanks! 2) I had to leave my dream job because I had to report my boss for unethical behavior. Trying to pursue a similar position in the same city as the newspaper that broke that story… fail. 3)In 5 years I wanted to be graduating from Law School. In 10 years I wanted to be an established attorney with the funds to pursue my hobbies, which are expensive. I’m still on track, but… Read more »
Dave Booda
4 years 8 months ago
I’d like to comment on the passion idea… I think the passion that people desire is deeper than “cooking” or “playing music”, that’s what most people consider when they search for a passion. To me, passion is about what that skill allows you to do. Your mother isn’t passionate about cooking, she likes cooking no doubt, but she’s passionate about service, about providing for people she loves. When you discover that a persons passion isn’t music, cooking or art but rather things like “inspiring others”, “justice”, or anything related to service, it allows you to see many more options in… Read more »
Matt
4 years 8 months ago

That’s funny, I was just looking at re-ordering business cards just before I read this. But being an artist, I make ones with my images on them, so I need to update them regularly.

Martha
4 years 8 months ago

The worst career advice I received came from my supervisor . . .

“You don’t need a mentor”

I wanted to cuss my supervisor out, but instead I will channel that energy to build multiple streams of income, ultimately surpassing their income.

Sarah L
Sarah L
4 years 8 months ago
1. Oh my gosh, you will love this. My dad is bent on helping me succeed, bless his heart, but he is an electrical engineer and really has no knowledge of the finance field. So the last time I was home over Christmas break, he dragged me to the golf course to teach me how to play golf because that’s what he believed I needed to know if I wanted to be successful in business. I’m not kidding you in the slightest. 2. Oh geez, I cringe at my own naivety. I was told not to worry about internships until… Read more »
Sarah L
Sarah L
4 years 8 months ago

Oh I forgot to say that for #2, my lack of experience has been a HUGE obstacle for me finding a full time job in the finance industry.

Rob Petzold
Rob Petzold
4 years 8 months ago
What is the most ridiculous piece of career advice you’ve ever heard? I was told to take a specific promotion thy I really did not want in order to get the opportunity I did want. How has bad career advice kept you from achieving your goals? In the above situation, the opportunity I took cost my career at this particular firm because I was set up to fail in a location that was set up to be consolidated. When you graduated college, where did you think you’d be in 5 or 10 years? Where are you now? 5 years after… Read more »
Josh
4 years 8 months ago
RE:Q1 Follow your passion is the worst career advice…and this is why: It’s only a small part of the game. Some passions are not meant to be jobs- they’re meant to be hobbies or charities or entertainment etc. What needs to accompany this “passion” idea is this: Do some self analysis as to what you value in a job/career (is it mobility, or part time work, or solo work, or physical work) as well as what strengths/skills you have (am I a good writer/sewer/singer/speaker etc), and lastly what am I passionate about. Then see how these three (values, strengths/skills, and… Read more »
Andrew
4 years 8 months ago
1. I had something else, but Lindsay Lennox (above) was so spot on with her answer that I’m going to go ahead and agree with her on that. It’s startling how much of a difference this mindset has. Once I accepted that taking side work to support the fun work was how my creative career was supposed to function, I was able to make progress. 2. Pass 3. Someone asked me this recently and I was shocked to discover how on target I was with my plan. What I didn’t anticipate was the money factor. Somehow, I was completely ignorant… Read more »
Peter Weis
4 years 8 months ago

The best advice? Why would you quit the job you have or look for another job when you have a steady job already.

IH
IH
4 years 8 months ago
1. I made it all the way without being fed one piece of career advice, which is especially odd considering I worked three jobs to get through undergrad. However, they were the types of jobs where people twice my age had been there forever and had simply given up. That atmosphere in an of itself was enough to keep me going, though. But, to answer the question, during career counseling at my college, I’d requested an advisement session because I was interviewing for a position at a film studio. All the adviser said was that people who worked on film… Read more »
Paul
Paul
4 years 8 months ago
1. The most ridiculously unhelpful advice I ever read for designers/photographers, in the mid-1990s: A simple 4-step plan to success: 1. make unique and incredible work 2. print and arrange the best images in a large, expensive, leather-bound, name-embossed portfolio case. 3. make appointments and show your portfolio to all the top agents. 4. choose the agent who offers you the best terms Easy! 2. As an aspiring photographer, I accepted my parents’ advice that it was risky and that I should keep it as a hobby but have something to fall back on. 5 years of university followed, doing… Read more »
Bryon
4 years 8 months ago
This could not have come at a more excellent time in my life. Before I was reading this, I was thinking of all the check lists people put out there that do not really work! Q1: If your good at it, it should be your career. That’s what has me in the hell hole I’m in today. Took an accounting class (not to mention a computer class) in high school and excelled. Decided accounting would be the career -after all everyone has to manage money and accounting jobs would be plentiful. NOT!! 14 years after graduation of undergrad, I now… Read more »
Dan W
Dan W
4 years 8 months ago
My worst career advice was unfortunately the one I followed. It was from my college professors, who said: “The job market is really moving into this field. If you want to be a success, you should move that way, too.” Seems reasonable, and at the time, is sure looked that way. The problem was, of course, that they didn’t do any actual RESEARCH into whether this was really true. Sure, there was a short term demand for the type of position, but was that sustainable? Was that something that companies needed long term? Or, was it something that was needed… Read more »
Dan
Dan
4 years 8 months ago
Worst advice from a resume counselor: You need an objectice statement for your resume. – I bit my tongue and did not say my objective is to get a job…. And that a reasonable person would read the executive summary I wrote at the top that was matched to each job announcement… Bad career advice has conflicted with my goals when I’ve been told “you need more experience” or “put your time in,” and best of all “trust me”… I trusted all the way until I was following guidance, and had my promotion paperwork pulled when my boss didn’t stick… Read more »
Ga
Ga
4 years 8 months ago

This may be the best email yet, especially the use of “urinating” with “financial literacy.”

My college advisor asked me if I wanted to take interesting courses or get my degree easy and cheap! Being young, I picked easy and cheap. I now have an MBA instead of that MFA or MSW I could have really used and loved.

After college I expected to make a decent wage with a nice title. Instead I got cancer.

Mercy
Mercy
4 years 8 months ago
Q1. The worst piece of career advice given, that is drummed into our heads from when we were kids, is read hard, work hard in school, and when you finish your education, you will get a very good job. There was even a freaking song composed that used to be played on radio everyday! This in turn has created many disgruntled and disillusioned individuals because nothing that we were promised has ever come our way. Q2. I have always been told that I should first pursue a “sensible” degree like medicine, IT, business, etc and then go ahead and do… Read more »
Peter
Peter
4 years 8 months ago
Rammit, I don’t normally leave comments, but I feel driven. 1. Worst Advice: Put your head down and shovel your way through the piles of crap left behind by others. 2. By “putting my head down” I have given myself (I am normally a very strong personality) a complex about pushing and driving harder to get greater results. Obviously a bad thing, this hesitation is not how I will get the next promotion and now my boss badgers me around like I am her brow beaten husband. 3. I knew I would climb fast and would be in a VP… Read more »
A-ron
4 years 8 months ago
I think the worst career advice I’ve ever received came from myself (and subtly echoed by my dad at the time), when choosing between studying something artistic or something practical: choose something practical so you’ll make money. I’m not sure I have any career goals, nor have I ever. My goal as a kid growing up was to be a “rock” star, a musician of some sort. The greatest hindrance to that goal has been my families insistence on being “practical,” so I was gently steered away from doing anything other than the status quo (get good grades, go to… Read more »
dave
4 years 8 months ago
Every career advice that you receive is HORRIBLE! Why? Because NOBODY cares about your career. When you’re at the interview, ask yourself, how can i make this firm/person money? if you can’t figure that out or have the passion to crush it then you’re not going to get the job. nobody cares about your feelings, your debt, your college diploma… they only care if you can make them money. Be your own CEO – because nobody is going to do it for you. if you’re wasting time emailing resumes to ABC corporation you don’t deserve a job. that already tells… Read more »
Su
Su
4 years 8 months ago
1. I didn’t get career advice. It’s almost as if giving career advice to women 35 years ago was considered as being in bad taste so no one did it (not counting generic articles, etc.). Also I had some pretty solid filters re the “be a teacher or a nurse” tradition my female relatives followed. My parents wanted me to have some bankable skill, so I learned computer programming but it was never much of a career (unless you enjoyed the equivalent of doing crossword puzzles for a living). Much later, a prof quoted Joseph Campbell at me–“follow your bliss”–which… Read more »
Georgia
Georgia
4 years 8 months ago
#1Career advice: 1. Send out as many cvs as possible, something will stick 2 Just get a JOB and be thankful for, no need to spend energy looking around 3. Find a political influence to get into XYZ company 4. If they haven’t post a job is pointless to contact the company #2 Still being at a job that I find meaningless and future-less just because I’m “lucky” to have a job + Lost opportunities to approach companies I’m interested because they haven’t post any jobs #3 After I got my Msc I thought that within 5 years I’d reach… Read more »
Roscoe
Roscoe
4 years 8 months ago
Probably the most ridiculous piece of career advice I’ve ever got was that, if I really wanted a job, I needed to work on the goddamn cover letter. I got this from a career counselor at my college (STRIKE ONE!) and the job application was for low-level Chinese language analysis (I spoke a bit of busted Chinese from spending a year teaching English there). I spent three days on the damn cover letter, bilingual, and had to wait two weeks for the career counselor to approve it. I never heard back from the company after I sent this masterpiece. But… Read more »
Dan McCue
4 years 8 months ago
1) staying in a job that’s a bad fit is better than taking a chance to find something better. It doesn’t matter how good the benefits are if you are not growing or advancing toward your goals. Also wish I had learned more about how to negotiate. If only I had read Dale Carnegie in high school…. 2) Too much focus on search and resume. My network has consistently given me better and more interesting oopportunities than job searches. Also, there are no mistakes in job descriptions. 3) I was doing more or less what I expected I would be… Read more »
Ujjwal Trivedi
4 years 8 months ago

“GET AN MBA”

I get this advice even now – People say not having an MBA will be a roadblock in my professional growth some day.

It have already grown from being a “software developer” (implementing ideas written down in documents) to a Business Analyst (generating ideas and innovative products) – WITHOUT AN MBA. I networked, displayed my skills when needed, captured opportunities – and one day Just Got Lucky!

Elaine
Elaine
4 years 8 months ago
The MBA is a tough one… with no business experience or business degree, I really want to believe the advice that getting one will allow me to transition into the field at a mid-level. I know this is too good to be true in some ways, and I know not to go to a school unless it has a good reputation, high placement and regular recruiting in the field, I have a solid plan, etc. I have been gearing up for b school for over a year now and summing up all the research and interviews I’ve done… People with… Read more »
Chelsea
Chelsea
4 years 8 months ago
Worst piece of career advice: the suggestion that I get a head-hunter out of college. I graduated w/ a liberal/fine arts degree. A lack of advice or concern about career seems to have hurt the most. Growing up as a bigger fish in a smaller, nearly rural high school & getting into my college of choice seemed like all that was needed to win at the next round of Life. My family assumed I would figure things out & career wasn’t something we discussed until I was away. The resources at University were there but only if you asked. I… Read more »
Laura
Laura
4 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, So the worst advice I’ve heard/seen coming around is mostly people telling others to start their own company if there’s no good job offers out there. Not everyone is ment to be an entrepreneur, still people seem to think that “with the bad market and all”, it’s easier to make money when you’re self-employed… When I graduated from my first college (Music Therapy) I thought I could do great things with music in businesses. I wanted to do workshops about group dynamics and conflictescalation, through music, butI found out most people really don’t get it, or think “oh,… Read more »
GettingBackonTrack
GettingBackonTrack
4 years 8 months ago
1. It’s a tie between three things: a) The college career counselor told me I cannot start a business right out of college and that it’s better to get 20 years of work experience before attempting to do so. (I ended up ignoring her and tried anyway.) b) Stupid resume distribution as a strategy. I implemented a tip to submit my resume to an e-mail blasting service that sent it blindly to hundreds of organizations. I ended up getting one job interview at a completely mismatched company. Also, I spent way too much time answering job ads and updating my… Read more »
Erik
Erik
4 years 8 months ago
1. When I was struggling with my major in college and had to change it to something else. My mother’s advice: “You like to read, just become a librarian!” So I changed my major and spent several years working towards a degree. 2.How has bad career advice kept you from achieving your goals? A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE PLEASE. I ended up wasting my time and money earning a degree that is useless to me. I second guessed myself and didn’t make time to get clear on what I really wanted. I just let someone else decide for me what I should… Read more »
ex-libris
ex-libris
4 years 8 months ago

Erik – I thought I was the only one dumb enough to listen to similar advice given to me by my parent. Wow.

Bryson
Bryson
4 years 8 months ago
To question 3: I never went to college. I taught myself what I needed to know to get my first job, and worked through connections with friends to get it. Then I kept learning on my own, consistently over-performed and haven’t received a raise under $10k yet. Now I’m closing in on that magical $100k/year mark while all my friends who went to college are realizing that the degrees they got are really just nice big piles of debt and no jobs. And no matter how much I try to get them to read your stuff about getting jobs they’re… Read more »
jack foley
4 years 8 months ago

yea at some time, you have to get real about your passion and ask yourself

does my passion really pay?

If Not ask yourself

Do you want to live your passion every day or do yuo want to be rich..?

Your call..

Jen
Jen
4 years 8 months ago
See, this is bad advice, too! Because you set up life/work to be, “I can either make 25K a year as a freelance artist/writer or I have to get an MBA or be an entrepreneur NOW to make the BIG BUCKS.” Neither is that helpful. For example, I could spend my spare time learning to code because developers can make the big bucks in software, but that doesn’t play to my strengths and so my question becomes, “what shit that I don’t like can I handle to get paid 200K a year? What is the absolute lowest amount I could… Read more »
jack foley
4 years 8 months ago

yea at some time, you have to get real about your passion and ask yourself

does my passion really pay?

If Not ask yourself

Do you want to live your passion every day or do you want to be rich..?

Your call..

Jeff
Jeff
4 years 8 months ago

1- That career choice does not pay well.
2- which led to a career that is not personally fulfilling.
3- I was not that far off, but then I got comfortable and stayed there 8 years too long. December 31 was my last day. I do have a great skillset and have 3 interviews this week. Now to make sure its a dream job that I land.

yannick
4 years 8 months ago

1. Worse career advice: I have received lots.
2. I have ignored most of it, I think. The one I have followed too much is applying online of company sites, even if that got me some interviews and job offers in a couple of cases. In one case I took the job.
3. When I graduated from college, I thought 5 to 10 years later, I would have started my own business. I still have not, which may mean that the corporate world turned out to be better than what my cynical self may have thought initially…

Christina
Christina
4 years 8 months ago
1A: Worst general advice is to “market your online personality” or “control your search results!” – there are hundreds – if not thousands! – of people with my name in the US alone. If I search my name, 3 or 4 different women are on the front page. If even one other one of them is also trying to “control the search results” then were competing with each other and no one gets anywhere. It also assumes everyone has done stuff worthy enough of a front page Google search or even wants to! 1B: To stay in a job because… Read more »
Mustafa
Mustafa
4 years 8 months ago
1.Worst Career Advice I have received.Stick to one job for life.As too many job changes look bad in your CV.Today employers are looking for people who can multi-task. 2.It made me stick in a company where I was doing the same job for 7 years.No chance of promotion or getting an oppourtunity to learn new skills/talents.I spent 7 years in a steel company learning data entry only.When the accountant left I was supposed to know his job whithout him having taught me anything.The new accountant who came was not knowledgeable and wanted to use my knowledge to gain credit.When this… Read more »
Eric S. Mueller
4 years 8 months ago
The absolute worst job advice I’ve ever heard happened a couple of years ago while I was in a job that went beyond sucking. I was talking to somebody at church, who asked how things were going. I mentioned I was tired of my job and wanted to look for another. His response? “You should consider yourself lucky enough to have a job in THIS economy!” Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted to grow up to be, stuck in a crap job in a crap economy and considering myself lucky. The worst job decision I ever made was staying in… Read more »
Stickypurplecat
Stickypurplecat
4 years 8 months ago
Picking the most ridiculous piece of advice is tough, but I wound up settling on “Wear a suit.” The guidance counselors/teachers in my high school spent four years vomiting this phrase out at kids because they figured if they could get it drilled in our heads the Craigslist penis effect would kick in and they’d get the job by virtue of not showing up in ragged jeans and sneakers. This might get you in the door at a fast food joint, but whenever you’d ask these people what happens AFTER you show up in a suit at an actual interview… Read more »
Martin Focazio
4 years 8 months ago
1. What is the most ridiculous piece of career advice you’ve ever heard? “Keep your head down, your mouth shut and don’t make waves” – A friend at Microsoft, when I asked him how I might handle a difficult scenario in my job. I disregarded him, I poked my head into places it wasn’t supposed to be, I opened my mouth with ideas I had for how I wanted my company to adapt to my career, and I upset a few apple carts instead. 2. How has bad career advice kept you from achieving your goals? For a while, I… Read more »
Laura
Laura
4 years 8 months ago
Ramit, This post came at an auspicious time, as I’ve left one position as a career counselor for a small liberal arts school, and am about to start a similar position at a top tier research university. I can tell you that I’ve never given any of these points of advice to a student. Generally speaking, the most ridiculous advice that I hear around me seems to be from people who insist that resumes need to have objectives-very few people could write a good objective to save their lives. I’m excited to see how this Dream Job program develops. Too… Read more »
Ryan J. Riehl
Ryan J. Riehl
4 years 8 months ago
Worst advice: “If you won the lottery today, what would you do tomorrow?” No joke, a career counselor asked me that my freshmen year. I told him I would stay in school, because I didn’t know what else to do. He just made a face and moved on. That screwed me up because I kept trying to answer that question through introspection. I thought I had to come up with a better answers. So, I picked an easy liberal arts major so I could figure things out. Of course, no one suggested building a valuable skills set, experimenting with different… Read more »
Michael
4 years 8 months ago

Late to the game here…

But this was the best advice I ever got… from Think and Grow Rich.

Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win – essential to success.

Once you remove all reserve options, back-up plans, etc, you’ve got no other option than to succeed. Mentally, having no choice but winning its a very powerful thing.

Brent
4 years 8 months ago
1) Make sure to wear a white under tshirt under my white buttonup shirt when you interview. 2) Using “What color is your parachute” workbook to find my “passion” I got stuck on the write 7 stories about when you enjoyed a task/working — I’ve been deeply procrastinating on this part of this workbook for more than 6 months. 3) At 10 years I thought I’d be a full fledged doctorate scientist, probably teaching at the Air Force Academy. I’m currently unemployed (Air Force veteran). When I was about to get out of the Air Force I applied to a… Read more »
David E
David E
4 years 8 months ago

Worst career advice I got: was considering architecture school, and an engineer told me, “well you better be really be good at math…” (my least favorite subject.) But later he made a comment about what skills people who work on an ambulance need, and as an EMT I realized he had NO IDEA what he was talking about. made me realize he just loved to sound smart by telling young people how things worked, even when he was just guessing.

Adam
Adam
4 years 8 months ago
1- You need to be a business major in order to get a job other than customer service or sales 2- Coming out of college in 2010 I actually somewhat believed the advice from step 1. This is a classic case of disqualifying YOURSELF from opportunities by not using testing to actually confirm/deny assumptions. For this reason I interviewed for a lot of jobs that were entry level in the fullest sense of the phrase, and which would add little value to my skills. 3- When I graduated college I was full of insecurity because the next 5 years seemed… Read more »
Anders Kjaersgaard
Anders Kjaersgaard
4 years 8 months ago

1. You need to do the things you hate, before you can do the things you love.
2. Didn’t learn the RIGHT things, that kept me running around in the fog. I was advised to study x education. I wasted 3 years on that.
3. Just out of college.

Geoffrey Williams
Geoffrey Williams
4 years 8 months ago
Dude, Ramit that was possibly the most well written article I’ve ever read. Honestly, every paragraph I felt like you were specifically talking about problems I have and trying to talk me down from the “feel-good” candy of blaming other people. You have a sobering and truthful voice on the business and financial world that honestly reminds me of a Carl Sagan explaining the universe to people trying to understand (Sans the “Just had sex” ha!) Ok, I’m done expanding your ego… 1. The advice I ALWAYS get when I ask anyone over 40 about job advice. “Did you get… Read more »
Cc
Cc
4 years 8 months ago

Dude just do it! Ask around who needs a website and offer a discount, everyone needs a website. In all my years as a web designer I have never had trouble selling a website, especially a discount priced trial site. Seriously, just talk it up and people will come to you in no time.

Wendy Werpetinski
Wendy Werpetinski
4 years 8 months ago
I am dying to know – who are the people that are lying to you? I have seen this theme of betrayal before in my reading about the different generations in the workplace (I am a Gen Xer), but it never says who was doing the betraying. Several of you have mentioned this – who was it who was telling you you’d make a million in your first five years out of school? That would make me mad too, but it never happened to me, so I’m really curious about how it happened to your generation. Can anyone shed some… Read more »
Elaine
Elaine
4 years 8 months ago
The Millionaire dream… mainly the American mindset where we celebrate the individual and look at examples of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg and other anecdotes of people that started companies with wild success. It’s nothing new, 100 yrs ago the dream/anecdotes were there too (Carnegie, Rockefeller, Hearst, etc). Other bad career advice… People who are close to you but don’t know the world beyond their own experience, but we trust them because they’re older. Usually anyone at least 20 years older who was unhappy with their choices and recommends a different route, or who was successful in their field but… Read more »
Laura
Laura
4 years 8 months ago
1. Worst advice: that I should get a Master’s degree. I have several friends I graduated college with who are now in a Master’s program, and I just think “Why waste time with more school when you could be gaining experience?” I can’t think of a single job in our field that requires anything higher than a 4-year degree… it’s all about who you know and your experience. Who knows? Maybe they’ll prove me wrong. 2. “Send out as many resumes as possible”: I wasted a lot of time with this, and my husband is now doing the same thing.… Read more »
Stephen
Stephen
4 years 8 months ago

1. What is the most ridiculous piece of career advice you’ve ever heard? Be specific please.

ANSWER: “Follow your passion, and the money will follow.” What do people do when their passions don’t command economic rewards? Like playing guitar? Singing? Poetry?

Even worse advice: “Do what you love. You’ll be poor but happy!”

2. How has bad career advice kept you from achieving your goals? A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE PLEASE.

“Poor but happy” and “follow your passion” have left me with too many options, vague concepts, and few concrete targets or clarity. That leaves me stuck, gunning my engines.

Chris Parsons
4 years 8 months ago
1. “Don’t worry about your starting salary, just find a job with good benefits and a steady paycheck”. 2. Took a job after college graduation with good benefits and mediocre pay – worst of all, it was for a company that doesn’t reward hard work or results, only seniority. 3. For starters, I thought I’d be making about 50% more than what my job offers actually were. I thought having a decent college degree equaled good pay, and in my imaginary world (since college students get absolutely no view into the real world), I thought that meant $60k+. I thought… Read more »
Wolfram
Wolfram
4 years 8 months ago
1. “For a successful career in Academia the number of publications and citations is the only thing that matters.” 2. My primary obstacle was obliviousness about the game being played around me. I cannot blame specific advice, rather the absence of it. I simply didn’t know what I didn’t know. 3. I thought I’d have a stable position as a University Professor in my field, do great research and am happy and fulfilled by it. Instead, I learned that the reality of being a researcher was: * The Academic track record, merits and accomplishments play only a minor role. *… Read more »
Aaditi
Aaditi
4 years 8 months ago
(1) “We want you to work at the best of your ability.” – desi dad. I think this was code for hyper-specialized med. (2) analysis paralysis – I’ve tried other things that I like BUT DOES IT REFLECT MY BEST ABILITY (3) When I graduated college, I thought I’d figure out my career path between 5-10 years. The idea was to alternate project-based employment (like political campaigns) with travel stints (1-2 months) until I “figured out the rest of my life”. Right now, after 3 such cycles, I’ve taken up my first FT “permanent” job for the health insurance as… Read more »
Heidi
Heidi
4 years 8 months ago
A few years ago, right after I accepted a job offer I got another interview for a position that was 100% in line with my interest. They gave me an offer that basically made it my “dream job” at that time. Worst advice: I told a close relative about the situation and he told me to “be responsible and take the first offer since you’ve accepted it. Don’t burn the bridges. If you deem yourself professional, you must honor your words…” blah blah blah. Had I listened to his advice, I could have been stuck with an okay job, mediocre… Read more »
Gowri
Gowri
4 years 8 months ago
Worst bit of career advice: Follow your passion, you will live a fulfilled life. My passion was making things work, especially electronic gadgets. Dropped out of engineering college because I did not get a seat in Electronics, did a cerrtificate course in TV repair and joined a TV company as a staff service technician. Trust me, I was in seventh heaven when I laned that job, I was doing what I loved and was living my passion! Was paid a pittance, made to travel all over the place, lived a hand to mouth existence out of a suitcase for about… Read more »
computer consultant
4 years 8 months ago

I can definitely relate to reddit comment about not wanting waste time/energy and this being a bigger deterrent to actually do something than the actual fear of failure.

Almost everyone who went to college has/had a notion that a job will be guarenteed to them.

Chris Ennen
4 years 8 months ago
During my senior year in undergrad I was in a class with a guest lecturer for the day. I was focused on getting into the oil and gas business, and all the job postings I saw had requirements of three to five years industry experience. I had a job offer that I was going to take so I could get the experience. I expected that I would be able to get a better position in the industry after three years of working. I was also accepted to three different graduate school programs. The guest lecturer told us his story and… Read more »
Doka
4 years 8 months ago
#1 – To start a blog related to the field you want to get into. I didn’t actually do this, but what a waste of time!!! Kidding me?? #2 – I was told to show how I “stood out” by putting my various interests and skills on my resume. No one will ever flat out tell you “We didn’t pick you because we can’t tell wtf kind of job you’re wanting to get here”, but that’s the result you get. #3 – Its only been … less than 1 month since I graduated college, lol. But in 5 years, I… Read more »
Caitlin
Caitlin
4 years 8 months ago
Ramit, I loved your video about passion in your third point. You are so right. You made me realize that I had the right steps, but I was putting them in the wrong order. That realization made my day. Thank you so much! As always, I deeply value your posts and love your hilarious/spot on/incredibly useful perspective! My answers: 1) If you do what you love, money will automatically come. 2) Bad career advice messes with my expectations. I end up focusing on aspects that don’t matter, which only leads to frustration. For example, I can’t stand working from an… Read more »
Garrett
Garrett
4 years 8 months ago
Worst advice ever: why are you looking for a new job, you already have one that pays as much as I was making when I retires. The advice doesn’t inspire or provide any direction to where to move next. I know it’s my fault for not moving on when I know this is not the place for me. I had no specific plan after graduation, I learned to start planning where I want to be in the 1 year of grad school that taught me one thing I didn’t want to do. From there my plan was to get a… Read more »
Jonathan
Jonathan
4 years 8 months ago
Wow. All I have to say is these comments are somewhat depressing. I grew up in a family that never really gave me advice, but supported whatever I wanted. Due to the lack of advice, I was always skeptical of anyone who ever gave me any (i.e. dumb guidance counselors, news/blogs, books) This skepticism allowed me to only pick and choose the good advice rather than listening to everything. So I can’t say I ever really followed too much bad advice. 1. The college with the highest US News ranking is the best one to go to. 2. N/A 3.… Read more »
Raul Felix
Raul Felix
4 years 8 months ago
I’m not a college graduate and I am a U.S. Army veteran. Currently working as a contractor overseas (cause it pays really well) while slowly doing my degree online. Probably one of the worse career advices I’ve gotten was that employers care about your military experience. They don’t, unless you have a very specific job. Most of my military experience went underneath “Oh, you jumped out of airplanes, are a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and have been on over 250 missions, but how does that prove that are capable of being a (bartender, secretary, bank tellers, personal assistant.)”… Read more »
K00kyKelly
4 years 8 months ago

Certain employeers do highly value military experience, specifically defense contractors. Take a look at Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, etc. They need people on board who understand the culture and how to communicate with the military.

C
C
4 years 8 months ago

The federal government gives preference to veterans. Go to http://www.usajobs.gov . First, look at the job series to see what qualify for, create 1 or more resumes and search agents. There are no guarantees. Being a veteran gives you points towards being selected.

One note of caution: Being shot at tends to make one a straight-shooter. We tend not to be appreciated, to say the least. I’m one because I’m autistic and don’t even know where the party line is.

Wendell
Wendell
4 years 8 months ago

Worst career advice: You can do anything.

Result: Tried running a painting business, did engineering internships, and worked at a small internet startup, only to end up purusing a law degree. I wish I would have picked one industry and dedicated myself to it until I had a good basis for finding problems that could be solved by starting a business.

Now: working as an attorney for a company for much less than market rate for attorneys at firms, no partner track.

Jessica
Jessica
4 years 8 months ago
1. What is the most ridiculous piece of career advice you’ve ever heard? Be specific please. When I gave my two week’s notice at a job, my manager told me that becoming a contractor/consultant with only two years of experience was the worst mistake of my life and I’d be unemployed within a year and I should stay. I’ve been at my contracting job 4.5 years now and customers ask for me by name to be on their project. Many of the much more experience engineers I worked with changed companies to the new one I went to and when… Read more »
julia
julia
4 years 8 months ago

Worst career advice: go to university! You’ll figure out what you want to major in while you’re there.
How has bad career advice kept me from achieving goals?
By downplaying the importance of job search/self-marketing skills. I stuck myself in a bad cycle of bad jobs/bad experience/bad job history

I had no idea where I’d be in 5-10 years. That was a big part of the problem.

Rosie
Rosie
4 years 8 months ago
In my second year of law school I went to a social to meet previous “successful” graduates. I ended up talking to one woman in particular, standing beside her bedraggled looking husband, who told me the worst career advice I’ve received so far: expect to work 6 days a week, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day for your $150,000 paycheck. After 6 or 8 years, you may get noticed for your efforts and get promoted. You may even make partner. Then you can take 2 weeks (yay!) vacation. Maybe. This is how it is. This is what you want.… Read more »
terry ann liberrian
terry ann liberrian
4 years 8 months ago
3 – first time, i thought i’d go to law school and be a lawyer 5 years out. when i worked at the law library and met the profs and students…well, let’s just say it was a much less appealing option. second time (masters in library science) i thought that in 5 years i’d be managing a branch. so, here i am, at the 6 year mark and i KNEW that i did NOT want to do that any more. morale is: every time i think i’ll be doing something in 5 years, i find out it isn’t really what… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
4 years 8 months ago
1. The worst career advice i was given when i graduated college was in order to get a job i had to create a list of 100 companies i wanted to work for and mass email my resume out to 10 companies a week. Then follow up with a phone call. I spent a lot of time writing cover letters and making phone calls and I didn’t get a single interview or job offer. 2. After finally finding a job because i “knew someone who knew someone,” I landed in a job i didn’t particularly care for in an industry… Read more »
Rosie
Rosie
4 years 8 months ago

My friend was told that in order to get a job he had to blast his email to 10 jobs per week and follow up with a phone call, too. I guess for that “personal touch”. I believe he even paid for this advice, and the crappy excel spreadsheet with the “carefully screened employers”. Turns out, one of the guys on this list that he sent his resume to had died about 3 weeks prior. When he followed up with the phone call, the receptionist (apparently a family member) burst in to tears. Oops.

Dave K
Dave K
4 years 8 months ago

1. “Take whatever you can get right now.” I did and now have a job with no room for advancement other than to quit.
Quiting is not easy since they pay for my healthcare. My mom would also kill me.

2. I have wasted hundreds of hours email blasting my resume out. It got me nothing but
low paying mediocre jobs.

3. Graduated spring of 09 with good grades/Fortune 500 internship/multiple leadership positions. I thought I would have had a decent semi-enjoyable corporate job with a business starting on the side.
I am currently miserable at my $13 an hour slave job.

Megan Cassidy
4 years 8 months ago
The first paragraph about the business cards is pretty terrible. I loved getting them and felt super fancy, but they ultimately won’t lead to anything unless you make the right contacts and follow up. Bad career advice I followed…taking the first job offer I got, because the economy was bad. The salary was terrible, but hey, it was a job. I ended up enjoying it, meeting amazing people and it set me up for the awesome, fulfilling job I have now. Five years ago, I figured I’d be working at a local TV news station, in a city I didn’t… Read more »
Tiffany
Tiffany
4 years 8 months ago
The worst career advice I ever got was/is: “Be thankful you have a job”. I received this advice from close family members and co-workers when I revealed that my job was literally making me sick and I was seriously considering quiting. Of course I thought they were right at the time after seeing unemployment claims rise and rise. But then I thought, I work for my paycheck, exchanging time for dollars. My company is not doing me a favor but paying for a service — it’s a fair exchange! I have been out of college for two years now. I… Read more »
Robert
Robert
4 years 8 months ago
Most ridiculous (in retrospect) advice: Be good at lots of things – then you will always have some kind of employable skill. This same bad advice hindered me for years. The time it took just to be “proficient” in multiple programming languages, networking technology, and databases…..well, I didn’t get much sleep, and since I was spread so thin, I never became an expert at anything – which kept me from excelling. The advice to be a generalist plays on fears, but it kills high performance results. Generalists don’t make big bucks, are generally considered easily replaceable, and at least in… Read more »
john
john
4 years 8 months ago
Worst career advice I’ve received was to take what you can get and always have a backup plan. This type of advice is like telling me I am almost certain to fail. I think advice should focus more on how to succeed rather than what to do if you fail. I agree with your take on the endless shit for career advice online and in books. Get a list of companies or cusip numbers of industries you are interested in and mail out resumes? Are you fucking kidding? I feel career advice has prevented me from pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors as… Read more »
Jessica Nelson
Jessica Nelson
4 years 8 months ago
The worst so-called advice for those planning for their career I often heard is to make a choice between vocation schools and universities. It sounds like if you choose one, you will never have the chance to get the other. That’s ridiculous! These days this choice is becoming easier. Vacation schools and universities all have their online programs now, so you can learn anything you want anytime. Here are the links I found for more info on them: http://www.indexonlineschools.com/categories/vocational-schools/ http://www.indexonlineschools.com/categories/online-universities/ Both of the two options are good in their own way. Simply speaking, the decision largely depends on what you’ve… Read more »
wake up
wake up
4 years 8 months ago
Because this post is critical of Ramit, it will probably get deleted by Ramit as he deletes everything critical of him. So Read it while you can! “In true IWT style, we have an extraordinarily rigorous process for studying advice: We buy every course, product, and book. We study them intensely, keeping blind notes and comparing them. ” I call Bullshit on this. Thats a pretty strong statement to use the word “every”. Please list all of the products, courses, and books you have studied (and by studied I dont mean just looked at their reviews on amazon). 1. Cards… Read more »
Wolfram
Wolfram
4 years 8 months ago
@wake up: You are very aggressive in your writing style. I agree with your point on “every product on the market.” On the other hand, your comment on the “I just had sex” video is immature and undermines your credibility. I don’t understand what you write about points 1-4. Is that anything but a recap or do you have any point? About point 5: I can confirm from my own experience that having a blog/website does NOT get recruiters and/or clients to find you! Depending on what you are doing a blog/website/online portfolio can be helpful to establish credibility and… Read more »
Joseph
Joseph
4 years 8 months ago
1. “Even if you fail a subject in college, you’ll get a job offer after you graduate because you’re majoring in Electronics Engineering.” 2. I was young when I heard that, about a year from college. While I didn’t plan on failing any subject (I did anyway), hearing that made me believe that I could take it easy. I ended up having being average throughout college, and really disappointed I didn’t do more. 3. It’s still less than a year since I graduated. I spent 8 months after college preparing for and passing the licensure exam. Right now, I’m applying… Read more »
twong
twong
4 years 8 months ago

On taking responsibility for myself…

I feel like I have been taking responsibility for myself up to attending university. Compared to the kids who were just messing around and not studying hard to get into a good university, I was doing, and EXCELLING

twong
twong
4 years 8 months ago
On taking responsibility for myself… I feel like I have been taking responsibility for myself up to engaging the workplace when “doing well in school” didn’t get a good life. Compared to the kids who were just messing around and not studying hard to get into a good university, I was doing, and EXCELLING at, everything my parents told me to do. So why wasn’t I being responsible for my future? On people giving me untested career advice… I noticed that my parents and relatives who are parents have gotten awfully silent after I started engaging the workplace post-university. When… Read more »
Alexis Grant
4 years 8 months ago

So true — I actually had a post in my queue about how bad most career advice is, but you beat me to it! This is why I focus on providing GOOD advice on my blog and those I edit (http://blog.brazencareerist.com). We all need it!

Brolin
4 years 8 months ago
1.) Graduate college with any degree (doesn’t matter) and you will get a job. Too many guys in my fraternity took this advice, and now wonder why they can’t get out of their jobs to get a career. 2.) Didn’t affect me, thankfully. However, my mom’s advice was get something that is tangible (i.e. teaching certificate, CPA, even something from a trade school, etc.). I listened and added accounting to my finance major. Now I am on track to get my CPA a few years after graduation while I am at consulting firm now. 3.) Only been graduated for three… Read more »
Ramit Jr.
Ramit Jr.
4 years 8 months ago

This is terrible:

http://blogs.smartmoney.com/paydirt/2012/01/06/how-to-marry-a-millionaire/

“You should tip yourself. Why do we stand in line at places like Starbucks and buy overpriced lattes and throw the change in a tip jar? If I saved that tip, I could have $3 extra a week.”

$3 a week x 52 wks a year = $156 a year

Feeling good about yourself, feeling generous, and not being a dick: likely to unleash more positive emotions and motivation that will net you more than $156 a year.

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david marsh
david marsh
4 years 8 months ago
The worst advice? “Just get your foot in the door.” This sounds reasonable at first, but then you realize what an amazing waste of time this is – aim high to start with. It is true that you can have an impact on an organization as you are earning your stripes, but (to me) you are not trying hard enough if you get the first job that you interview for with very little negotiation – what were you stretching for? What did you leave on the table? The effect it had was to slow down my career progression – I… Read more »
Joe A.
Joe A.
4 years 8 months ago

1.
“Follow your passion and you’ll figure it out!”
“Just work really hard and you’ll be successful.”

Justin McClelland
4 years 8 months ago

This post was spot-on. I think SOOO many people are lead astray with bad career advice. Hopefully your tips that you just gave will open some eyes. But for me…thank God for entrepreneurship.

Nelson
Nelson
4 years 8 months ago
1. Go to school, try to get a professional job ie. Doctor, lawyer, accountant and if not, try to get a good white collar job at a bank or some office. 2. Well, I finished school 8 years ago with a diploma in corporate finance and paid my own way working in the summer and after school at menial jobs at $10/hour. My first job out of high school was as a proprietary trading firm based out of Las Vegas because my passion back then was valuing stocks. What I found out was that I hated day trading, I hated… Read more »
Jeff Crews
Jeff Crews
4 years 8 months ago

I am fortunate enough to have a great job. However, I used to read success stories (and still do) of some very successful people. Not only did it motivate me when I was younger, but it also showed me ways to be successful. The job I have now was not my passion, but now it is! PASSION!

SW
SW
4 years 8 months ago
1) Not to beat a dead horse, but I would say the worst piece of advice I’ve been given is, “Follow your passion. The money will follow. Just do what you love to do!” Well, shit. I don’t have an answer for that. A close second is the invisible script that states to always take the highest paying job offer. This is built into people’s desire to gain social status and to avoid being viewed as a failure for having a job that pays less than their peers. But is a shitty job for an extra 5k worth it? No… Read more »
Hooker
4 years 8 months ago

Without being too specific, I identify with this post a lot. When I graduated college and went into health care, I was given advice from practice coaches who hadn’t actually been in practice for 20-30 years. Most of their advice, I found, was outdated and ineffective.

I don’t know how it happens exactly, but it seems that once an “authority” writes an article or book about steps that need be taken, the advice is copied and disseminated again and again until it’s simply accepted as fact…even though it may be incorrect.

Nice article….again.

Martine
Martine
4 years 8 months ago

The worst career advice I ever received was to get a job. I’m doing much better on my own.

Kevin
4 years 8 months ago
–Worst advice: If you want to learn filmmaking, you NEED to go to film school, spend $40,000 a year, and expect to be the next Spielberg when you graduate. Forget about how technology and the internet has completely made it plausible to do without film school. –“You just need to FIND your passion” (as if its hidden in a cave) has made me spend hundreds of hours doing writing exercises writing down my likes/dislikes, remembering things I liked to do as a kid, and every other BS thing to “figure it out” (Think Steve Pavlina’s advice of write down things… Read more »
Matt Hartrich, New York
Matt Hartrich, New York
4 years 8 months ago

Just keep sending out resumes until someone responds is bad advice that some career counselors give. It prevents you from taking a focusing on companies that better match your skills and doing more than just sending a resume.

LaughingMouse
4 years 8 months ago
1) Get on LinkedIn! 2) My goals haven’t been all that well defined, ever, but I think the detriment to this advice is exactly what you have been talking about on a lot of the other points, which is: No one tells you HOW to do it well or even WHAT to do! So I have a profile on LinkedIn. So I friended, or connected, with everyone I know, hell I friended people I met once, way back, at that thing, you remember? But now what? How do I leverage this into a job?!?! 3) When I got my BA… Read more »
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Annette Walker
4 years 8 months ago
Thanks for being a voice of clarity. Your advice is good. People who want to succeed should take it seriously. Ok. Toss up between 2 true stories. I’ve had lots of bad advice. These are 2 early ones that taught me that even those I should trust could be way off base. ME: I am going to major in engineering with a specialty in computer simulation and human factors engineering. MOM: You can’t do that. You are a girl and stink at math. That is the stupidest idea ever. DAD: You can’t. To get a job in a train yard,… Read more »
K00kyKelly
4 years 8 months ago

Major kudos for sticking to your plans.

Check out SWE (Society of Women Engineers); I hear Stanford has an awesome section. swe.stanford.edu

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[…] the hundreds of comments about the lies we’ve been told, one of the code words was BETRAYAL. We feel betrayed because we […]

Chris Proctor
Chris Proctor
4 years 8 months ago
Question #1 – The worst career advice I ever got was from my own father. He told me that I should do is major in accounting. That was what he did. He said that no matter what, I could find a job doing lots of things with an accounting degree. He thought the idea of being bored stiff by accounting had no basis in determining what I should do. Question #2 – Luckily, I did not take my father’s advice. Question #3 – However, I kind of got stuck in the job that I am in. I decided to get… Read more »
K00kyKelly
4 years 8 months ago

Major kudos for sticking to your plans.

Check out SWE (Society of Women Engineers); I hear Stanford has an awesome section. swe.stanford.edu

Shea MacAran
Shea MacAran
4 years 8 months ago

The worst carer advice I ever got was that you “have to have a college degree to get anywhere”. Bullshit. Ask you need it’s to be self motivated and willing to think outside the box. If youre not, no amount of college degrees will save you.

Socorro
Socorro
4 years 8 months ago

Have your read Tony Beshara, The Job Search Solution? He is the top job recruiter and helps people find jobs.

L. Marie Joseph
4 years 8 months ago
I’m right where I want to be! I kept fighting until I found a career/pay/culture that my attitude, background and skills fit like a hand and glove. I took a lot of risks worked nearly free just to get the knowledge. I love the I.T. field because it’s the future and heavy in demand. This world is shifting, more college educated people are the ones needed. Skill up or you’d be left behind. It’s just that simple. Gen Y are making their on rules, no wonder only 7% of them work for corporate America. You have to change with the… Read more »
Arti K
Arti K
4 years 8 months ago

About expecting those self-assessment tests to reveal your dream job.. I took one of those just after high school, and based on my unique combination of empathy, mathematical ability and artistic interests, the test suggested that my top job choice should be … Funeral Director.

jack foley
4 years 8 months ago

Passion is an interesting context..

Yes it is true that you shouldn’t go after a passion that doesn’t pay but I do believe that if you work on your talents – they will make room for you…

think about how you can provide a service incorporating your passion..

drg
drg
4 years 8 months ago
What is the most ridiculous piece of career advice you’ve ever heard? Be specific please. The most ridiculous career advice I got was from a presenter at a conference about the IT industry. I asked him about his take about employees and social media and whether or not it was a good thing to be on it. During his presentation, he discussed very thoroughly how he believes social media will affect business and flat out said that all businesses need to be engaged in social media (whatever that means). To answer my question, he said that he would never consider… Read more »
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4 years 8 months ago

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Shev
Shev
4 years 8 months ago
The worst piece of advice I received: “Keep your options open” which worked towards me taking generic courses and nothing specific. That was when I was in the eighth grade. 3 years later, when I was deciding on a graduate level course, someone who influenced my decisions then (members of the family) told me take up XYZ as a career since it is “not stressful”, “you will have good quality of living”.. It was only at 20 years of age and jolted by the terrible choices that I had taken in the past that I took decision-making in my hands.… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
4 years 8 months ago
1. My employer said I should take a pay cut to relocate and have more “opportunities”. Really they just wanted me to be a sucker and take the paycut with absolutely no guarantees. I stayed in my current position and location, and so far, it seems they at least respect me for not taking their crappy offer. And by staying where I am, I have the cushion to spend time on this Dream Job track and hopefully make a better path for myself in the long run. 2. Bad career advice: “You can do whatever you want” (based on my… Read more »
Edie
Edie
4 years 8 months ago
1) Have a mentor or do a job shadow! This was one of the silliest and worse done advice EVER, because there was no follow up at all. 2) Bad career advice kept me from having a sustainable career because I tried to follow the rules of academia in the working world. It does not work, and retarded my career for a crucial 5 years. 3) Ten years ago, I envisioned being a water scientist, happily doing tests for water quality and helping set water use policy. This is not what happened. Instead, I traveled the world, took on a… Read more »
Jessica
Jessica
4 years 8 months ago
1. I think ‘go to school and get good grades and everything will fall into your lap’ is pretty much the winner there. 2. I’m sure that me waiting around expecting to get some great job because I’m so awesome or not wanting to have any career experience because I wanted to focus solely on my studies is a biggie there. 3. I figured I’d AT LEAST be employed, probably as a teacher somewhere in a school. No one even told me what it took to BECOME a teacher. Just that if I had a degree I could teach. Now… Read more »
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[…] How many of us have heard career experts telling us to “go out there and network”? […]

Augusto
4 years 8 months ago

Dear Rami….
I have been trying to set-up a strategy to get people in what I think is a very good and profitable business…is about networking ….but what do you think is the best way to establish it…via Internet ….I am talking pure Internet….

Thank you

claudia rowe
claudia rowe
4 years 8 months ago
Unpleasant opinion follows so apologies in advance: A lot of these posts are whiny blather. ALL of us received poor career advice, all of us have worked, at one time or perhaps even two, in jobs that made us want to eat our own livers, all of us had terrible career advisors, well meaning, clueless mentors and parents who were out-of-career-touch. And, I assume, none of us are dead yet and are mostly prospering in or, at least, maintaining our jobs. I came from a long line of doctors/surgeons or economists. Because it never occuirred to me that life could… Read more »
GG
GG
4 years 8 months ago
The whole “Be yourself and do the job you’re passionate about” schtick. Who knows what the hell they’re going to be good at in the real world when they’re just coming out of education? How many people figure it out only when they’re 30, 40, 50? How many career counselors and employment advisers even _know_ what jobs are out there in the real world right now, much less what they actually entail day to day or what the genuine skill sets are? Do they actually talk to people from all over society every day, or do they just have their… Read more »
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Erika
Erika
4 years 8 months ago

I’m finally in a job (freelancing) that I am passionate about — intellectually challenging, money is good, and flexibility is fantastic. It only took me until now to find it, and I couldn’t have done it without finding some good coaches and support on the way.

The “What Color Is Your Parachute” and personality test routes never worked for me (I’m supposed to be a social worker??). If I was reading this as my 10- or even 20-year-ago self I would take your course in a heartbeat.

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[…] recently wrote a post called The worst career advice in the world. It received over 200 long comments and was very well regarded. The article was syndicated by […]

Brian Johnson
4 years 8 months ago
I’m 23 years old. I was my high school valedictorian. Got lots of scholarships to the business school of my choice. I chose business school because I figured I wanted to own my own business. But of course I had to go to college. You can’t be the valedictorian and not go to college. So I went. I even graduated early. Got my degree in marketing (probably the easiest degree to get, by then I didn’t have much faith that I was accomplishing anything.) Trying to get into the job market, I quickly found that nobody wanted to hire anyone… Read more »
Judith
Judith
4 years 8 months ago
I’m graduating right now and started this week looking for a job. So far, I still have to figure out which one was the good and which the bad advice, but already I know that “with a degree in business you can do whatever” is completely bullshit. Unfortunately a degree in business often is not even wanted in business jobs – I want to work in international sales at a company in a technology field (everything from cars to machinery would be fine), and often they want engineers in the sales department (but why??? I just spend the last four… Read more »
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[…] recently wrote a post called The worst career advice in the world. It received over 200 long comments and was very well regarded. The article was syndicated by […]

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[…] recently wrote a post called The worst career advice in the world. It received over 200 long comments and was very well regarded. The article was syndicated by […]

Career Guidance
1 year 2 months ago

Explore for the list of career choices and the place for finding right career guidance and get help in suggesting top career options by our experienced career counselors.

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1 year 1 month ago

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[…] finance adviser and entrepreneur Ramit Sethi actually has an entire blog post dedicated to some of the worst career advice he’s read — this one takes the […]

Dee
Dee
8 months 21 days ago

“Leave my shoes out of it!” haha that did make me laugh!True often interests turn into passion.

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7 months 22 days ago

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DG Welch
DG Welch
6 months 18 days ago
1. The worst advice I consistently got: wear a suit / conservative clothes/ heels to an interview. 2. Bad advice kept me from goals: I never owned a suit, so either I wouldn’t go out on interviews, or I would spend $100s on new clothes I never wore again. I would end up with no job, and a suit. 3. After graduating with a M.A. degree from NYU in Anthropology, I figured in 5-10 years I would be a tenure-track professor at a decent school, going on field research every summer with my students. Reality: I’m an unemployed, single parent,… Read more »
Dillon
Dillon
3 months 4 days ago
1. The most ridiculous career advice I have been given was from my mom two days ago. She said: “Well just take something even if you don’t like it and then you can always change jobs after that.” So basically she said to sell yourself short and justify it to yourself with the expectation that something better will come. 2. Bad career advice came in High School when I was constantly reminded about the average starting salary of whatever I wanted to study. Not saying it’s bad to consider the marketability of a degree, though I would argue that struggling… Read more »
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[…] in your pocket at all times,” so that you can always hand one out to a potential job lead, he wrote on his blog. This is not how you […]

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[…] in your pocket at all times,” so that you can always hand one out to a potential job lead, he wrote on his blog. This is not how you […]

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