• The best and worst career advice your parents ever gave you

    July 29, 2016 by

    It is only natural that you will seek your parents’ advice when you are getting ready to start your own career. After college, this is the source of many widely-awaken nights and several concerns and you should be able to rely on your folks for guidance on this matter.

    And you are very likely to follow what they tell you, especially if they are successful people. But, the thing is that sometimes they might mislead you just out of trying to keep you away from frustration and disappointment. Or, in other cases, they might not know your industry of choice well enough to understand its particularities.

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    So here is a curated list of the best and worst career advice that parents have given to their children. This way, you can prepare yourself to identify better when you should follow their lead and when a thank you and a smile should be the end of it.

    # The Worst

    So, let’s start with three pieces of advice where parents got it all wrong then.

    You must get a degree.”

    Most parents still think that if you don’t get a degree from a university, you are ruined for life. That you will never be able to get a good job or even to provide for yourself, as the best opportunities are available only for those with a wall full of certifications.

    But, while it can be true for some careers, which require specific qualifications and licences, such as medical doctors and law professional, it isn’t mandatory for everybody.

    There are many companies out there happy to contract talents that have never been to any university but who have proved themselves as capable of doing the job better than their competitors. And this is because a large number of these businesses are owned and run by people who also have no degree, for starters.

    Of course, you need to develop several skills so to be employable, but most of them can be acquired and improved through technical courses, workshops, e-learning, and even self-taught.

    Plus, there isn’t anything stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur yourself, and you won’t need any certification for it.

    A job exists to pay your bills. You don’t have to enjoy it.”

    You will spend from eight to who-knows-how-many hours in your job in the future. And the day has only 24 hours, and you will be asleep through other 8 hours, plus all other mandatory things you must do, such as eating, commuting and having a shower.

    So, yes, you might not need to be absolutely in love with your job, but you must like it enough so to avoid that it will turn your life into a nightmare. Something has to attract you about what you are doing, from your daily tasks to your colleagues and boss, or you won’t be able to cope with it.

    You can do anything you want.”

    Unfortunately, this isn’t true. It is lovely to hear that but we all know that there are some skills that we just don’t seem able to learn them the right way.

    You might dream with the idea of becoming a surgeon, but you know you have never managed to cut a piece of paper following a straight line, for example. Or you wish to become a professor, but get bored when trying to write a 20-page assignment.

    So, yes, you can learn enough to become an average professional, but if you want to stand out from the crowd and be successful in your career, you will have to identify your strengths and choose a path where they can be improved and bring you proper results.

    # The Best

    Now that we survived all those bad ideas, let’s have a look at three pieces of advice from parents that you should really take into consideration from now on.

    You have to work hard to get what you want.”

    Nothing could be more true than it. The time when you used to lie down on the sofa and ask money to your parents is long gone, as you probably already noticed. And it won’t get any better.

    So if you want anything in life, you will have to work for it and hard. You will have to put it as your top priority, get your time organised, make sure that you know what you want, and be persistent about it, even if the challenges start to seem too overwhelming to you at some stage.

    Don’t lose your integrity.”

    No matter what you are aiming for, you should never lose your integrity. If nothing else, it will guarantee that you sleep well at night with a clean consciousness.

    It is very easy to think that bending some rules, or even ignoring them altogether, is a fair way to get a job or a promotion. That is a dog-eat-dog world, and if you don’t do it, someone else will do it anyway. So you protect and look after yourself first.

    But while this is understandable, it is a resource that can backfire quite often. If you lie about your skills, for example, you know that you will be unmasked sooner or later. If you do anything morally or criminally wrong so to protect yourself or your job (or somebody else in your job), you will get yourself in trouble at some stage.

    And the price you will pay for it certainly won’t be worthwhile.

    A job doesn’t define the person you are.”

    So, yes, you prioritize your career above everything in the beginning, even relationships and family, and this is OK. But, it doesn’t mean that, if you fail, you will have failed as a person as well.

    A job is just part of what you do in life, and there are so many variables gravitating around it that you can’t be accountable for everything that goes wrong there. For starters, it is also a responsibility of your boss to make sure that you get your work done correctly, not only yours.

    You might be a much better professional in another company, or maybe in another career. There is nothing wrong in making changes. Also, you shouldn’t take criticism personally – what is being said is about the task, not about you as a person, remember it.

    To Sum Up

    Our parents certainly are the first people we should look for advice when we are trying to start a career for ourselves. They have been there, they know us well, and want the best for us, so they will support us in our journey to the best they can.

    On the other hand, exactly because of it, be ready to understand that some of their suggestions might be just wrong or not suit your needs or of the path that you chose. So learn to listen to everything, and then to evaluate what you will do or not with the information you got from your parents.

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    Patrick Cole, guest writer

    Patrick Cole, guest writer

    About Patrick Cole, the author:

    Patrick Cole is an entrepreneur and freelancer. He is also a contributing blogger for several websites. Patrick loves self-education and rock music. Connect with Patrick via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

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