Ask anyone about your haircut, and they might shrug and say it looks “fine.” But ask for career advice? You’re likely to get an earful of trite sayings, blanket, sweeping statements and outdated, traditional work tactics that won’t serve you well if you’re trying to advance.
While executive advisors can definitely cater to your specific industry and goals, life coaches offer a varied perspective. Because their purpose is to analyze your whole life — not just your 9-to-5 routine — they offer a more holistic viewpoint. They often motivate their clients to look past the stale beliefs they’ve maintained over decades, leftover from parents and early mentors, to accept what really speaks to their souls.
Here, they share the worst pieces of career advice they’ve heard and offer better suggestions.
Bad advice: “Stay at a job you hate”
While, sure, everyone needs a paycheck to maintain their lifestyle, when money is the only motivation behind your work, it might feel uninspiring.
Life coach John Moore explains that when employees look at their job as a means to an end, instead of a place where their creativity, talents, and happiness can flourish, the feeling of being “stuck” become inevitable. He said this mindset is “Puritan” and capitalizes on the idea that work isn’t supposed to be fun.
Good advice: “Seek a job that gives you more”
Would you settle for a partner who was there for you only 50% of the time? Or one that requires your attention constantly, without giving you anything in return? Probably not — so why accept the same treatment from your employer?
“Being in a job you hate, or that you’re disengaged with, is taxing on your mind and body,” Moore said. “There’s no way you can do your best work and you’re on a non-stop train to Burnout Town. Have a conversation with your employer and be honest, you’re unhappy and you feel like you’re not able to serve the company like you’d expect. You can end things on good terms, or maybe change them, and take away lessons learned.”
Bad advice: “You can only succeed if you’re perfect”
For life coach Elaine Cohen, the worst advice she’s ever received was directed toward her, from another coach. Instead of being encouraging of her budding career, this particular “mentor” was demeaning and preyed on an insecurity that nearly everyone shares: the quest to be perfect, but falling short.