The Internet is filled with career advice. A lot of it is good, and most of it is probably well intentioned, but according to freelance writer Kelsey Manning, a lot of it is just plain wrong.
In a great Levo.com piece (reposted on Fast Company) called “5 Common Pieces of Career Advice You Should Never Follow,” Manning ticks off some of the job tips that really tick her off. First up: “Always have a five-year plan.” As she says, it’s great to have an idea of where you’re heading, but these days, the name of the game is “pivoting” and taking advantage of unexpected opportunities as they arise.
Sometimes, pivoting means changing jobs frequently, and that’s OK with Manning. The next piece of advice she shoots down is that one about not being a “job hopper.” Nowadays, it’s pretty normal, she says, and what’s more, it’s better than being a “quiet loyal workhorse who never leaves or makes the money she deserves.” Over the course of a lifetime, she reports, people who stay at companies for more than two years make 50 percent less.
Not that money should be anyone’s main concern. But it should be a factor. The next bit of advice Manning debunks is actually two bits: “Follow the money” and “Do what you love and don’t worry about money.” Neither of these is smart, she says. It’s about balance, and echoing wisdom from author and former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Kate White, she recommends folks “think about where your interests and talents intersect with the greatest potential for financial success, and head toward those points of intersection.”
Manning’s next one has to do with actively seeking opportunities. She says to ignore those who say, “Don’t be grabby — let your work speak for itself,” since good things come to those who advocate for themselves and ask for what they want. If you’re eying a promotion, telling the boss might not be a bad idea.
Lastly, Manning scoffs at this one: “Don’t apply for jobs you know you won’t get.” After all, applying for any job means tightening up the old resume and possibly practicing your interview skills, and these things will help you in the long run. And hey, you never know — you might even get offered the gig.