I frequently speak with students—particularly those at the University of South Florida, an organization with which I have an ongoing professional relationship—and something I try to do is to provide them with realistic expectations about the job market. Many young people enter into the business world armed with little more than a flimsy resume and a set of false expectations they’ve inherited from their parents, or perhaps gleaned from TV and film.
As such, I thought it might be worth taking the time to dispel four common, persistent myths about career.
Truth: I’ve worked for two companies—Apple, was an incredible ride, and Adobe, well, it was a different experience–but I can honestly say that I’ve learned some things in both environments. These jobs have all been great for me at different seasons of my life, and I’m thankful that I never felt compelled to hunt zealously for that one perfect job—because frankly, the thought of that just seems like a recipe for anxiety. Instead of getting caught up in some kind of a quest, try thinking about something that will bring you some level of satisfaction and personal/professional growth right now, at this stage of your life.
Truth: It isn’t always easy, but you can switch careers any time you want. Will there be financial constraints, or educational hurdles you’ll have to overcome? Maybe. You can always transfer skills from one job to another though, so don’t feel like working hard and learning one trade is the equivalent of getting stuck in a rut.
Truth: You should probably pick something that squares with your personality—I’m very garrulous and extemporaneous, so a desk job where I never interacted with other people wouldn’t suit me well—but you might also pick something that will challenge you to learn new skills. Otherwise, you’ll end up bored pretty quickly.
Truth: Okay, sure, maybe this will happen—but honestly, how many people do you personally know who have found an amazing job on LinkedIn? Social networking is important, but real, face-to-face networking trumps it. Every single time.
That’s just what I think, of course—but I would certainly advise all young people to be critical and discerning about the conventional wisdom of the job world.