Everybody wants to enjoy a great career. However, as you are probably well aware, not everybody enjoys one. There is a wide array of reasons this is the case, and some of those reasons are out of the control of the people involved.
However, what many people do not understand is that they are the primary reason they have not enjoyed a great career.
“What?” you might be asking yourself. “You’re obviously talking about other people. How can I be the problem? There is no way that I’m the problem!”
While you may believe that’s the case, there are people in the workforce who are working under false assumptions regarding their career. In other words, they adhere to certain career myths that are impeding their progress at best and perhaps even stopping it altogether.
Common career myths: it’s a trap!
These career planning myths take many different forms, manifesting themselves in a variety of ways. Below are just a few examples of this:
- The myth is really disguised as “conventional wisdom,” even though that “wisdom” is in reality outdated and no longer applies to the current marketplace.
- The myth was handed down to the person from somebody else, perhaps even a family member such as their father or mother.
- The myth was hatched in the person’s mind because it falls in line with their unique perspective or how they believe the world should work (as opposed to how it actually works).
No matter how they were created, these career myths are a trap! You should flee from them. But before you can do that, you have to identify them.
Career planning myths . . . revealed!
One of the major problems with career myths is that they stop people from planning properly. That’s because when you believe the wrong things, you can’t take action that will actually lead to tangible benefits. But once you identify them, you can disown them and free yourself to take action that will actually benefit you.
Below are the top five career myths that you MUST stop believing:
Career myth #1—“I’ll have my current job as long as I want it.”
The only people who hold this belief are those who have never lost their job before they were ready to lose their job. This includes being fired, laid off, downsized, right-sized, however you want to term it. When that hasn’t happened, you’re more likely to believe that it can’t happen to you. Then you start getting comfortable, and being comfortable is just one step away from being complacent. Complacency and career advancement/satisfaction rarely go hand-in hand.
Career myth #2—“I have plenty of time to do what I want with my career.”
The fact of the matter is that almost everybody thinks they have more time to do something than they actually have. When you’re talking about your career, which covers a period of multiple decades, the tendency to believe that is even greater.
As just about every knows (or eventually finds out), time can “get away from you.” The younger you are, the more you seem to think you have. That is nothing but an illusion, a career mirage that can lead to unfulfilled potential. Do not bank on the belief that time is on your side. Acting with a sense of urgency, no matter how old you are, can and will serve you well during your career.
Career myth #3—“If I wait long enough, luck will eventually bring me to the right job.”
There is something to be said for patience, and there is a place for patience when it comes to your career. But simply waiting for something good to happen is not going to cut it. You must be proactive in your quest to improve your career.
Remember, there are two kinds of luck: good luck and bad luck. In my experience, you create more good luck for yourself by being proactive. When you just sit back and wait for good things to simply “happen,” good luck has a way of making itself scarce.
Career myth #4—“Playing it safe is the best way to play it.”
It is absolutely true that some people are more risk-averse than others. People are different, and personalities vary. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s to be expected. However, taking risks and taking chances is often the only way to grow your career by leaps and bounds. You can NOT be afraid to take risks every now and again.
In fact, true career growth—the kind that can help push you to the top of your profession—often demands such risk-taking. I’ve worked with people employed at many levels of the corporate structure. I’ve placed Board of Director Members at publically traded companies, and I’ve placed individual contributors at lower levels in organizations and just about every level in between. Those at the top are invariably those who have taken the most chances during their career. You can’t be afraid of the success that you want to achieve. You have to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there.
Career myth #5—“The devil I know is better than the devil I don’t.”
Some people are disenchanted with their current job. Even if they don’t hate it, they certainly don’t love it. But they don’t really want to look for another one. If they somehow come across a new opportunity, they justify in their mind their non-pursuit of said opportunity.
They focus on how many unknowns are involved and how much worse it could be than their present situation . . . even if the opportunity is clearly better than what they have now! This is the best example of being your own worst enemy, and it is to be avoided.
Constantly combatting career myths
One of the annoying things about career myths is that they’re persistent. That is, they almost continually attempt to grow back once you root them out of your belief system. That’s why you must constantly combat them.
One of the best ways to do so is to know exactly what is happening in the marketplace, especially within your chosen field. Do you know how people are finding great new opportunities and taking advantage of them? Do you know the “best practices” for career advancement and satisfaction?
This is where working with an experienced search consultant or recruiter can help you. A recruiter works “in the trenches” day in and day out. They help job seekers and candidates all the time. They know what works and what doesn’t work.
In short—they can easily separate the fact from fiction and truth from myth.
Don’t fall prey to the career myths listed above. Scour them from your consciousness and commit yourself to taking the concrete steps necessary to reach your goals. Don’t let your judgment be clouded by thoughts based on half-truths and motivated by fear of the unknown.
Take control of your beliefs and take control of your career!