Are you following career advice that does more harm than good?
Wildly successful people never follow conventional wisdom. They just go out there, decide what they want, and create the circumstances to get it! So should you! ~Prolific Living
There is no shortage of smart and hard-working employees out there and if you’re reading this, I bet you’re one too.
But have you noticed how very few of that smart hard-working group achieve high levels of success in their careers?
Fewer still go on to find a worthy professional pursuit, feel fulfilled in their careers, or make a lot of money in the process.
Most of them end up having mediocre careers and come short of the massive success and recognition and rewards they dreamt about early in their careers.
And a large number become embittered, angry, cynical and blame the “broken system” for their failed careers.
To make it worse, the company forgets these well-meaning hard-working employees as soon as they leave the workforce, either through family circumstances, health situations, a layoff – restructuring of workforce – or forced retirement.
Why? They told us to work hard and be smart and then we can have all the success and riches we dream.
The problem is they didn’t tell us the whole story about success. Only half of it.
Reminder: Did you know we have a step-by-step course here to teach you everything you need for getting recognized, getting promoted and creating your dream career at your job?
Success is a different beast than what you were told.
First, success is counter-intuitive. Success does not follow a logical path in life or in career. If you want to succeed, you’ll want to focus only on what works, ignore everything that doesn’t work, and follow this rule every day.
The good news is that success is not random. Success is not a pure stroke of luck or a chance meeting with someone who makes magic happen for you.
Success is the result of a sequence of activities and endeavors that you need to take on. Therefore you can create as much success in your career as you desire. As long as you follow the proven strategies that lead you down the right path.
That brings us to what works and what doesn’t. Why don’t we start by eliminating the obvious.
4 conventional career advice best to ignore.
Let’s dive into the 4 pieces of career advice you must ignore if you want to create a successful career, make a difference at your company and get recognized for all of your hard work and sweat and smarts.
1. You just have to work hard to get ahead.
Working hard is an admirable quality and you do need to put in a reasonable amount of sweat equity into your career, no argument there. Some days are worse than others, the beginnings have a long learning curve and you may have certain times of the year that are particularly challenging for some organizations.
In those times, you’ll find yourself working hard.
However, never make the mistake of thinking that your hard work is enough to get you recognized and put your name in the ranks for the next level promotion.
It isn’t. If getting ahead were that straightforward, you would not need career experts or coaches.
It takes more than hard work to create success in your career. A lot more. Do the work but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all it takes to get ahead.
What to do instead:
Work hard, but set expectations, understand your management’s value system, and align yourself and your work directly to company goals.
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. ~Steven Covey
2. You need to let your work speak for itself.
Don’t ever assume that your work has the magical power of conveying by itself the wonderful results you created for your team and organization. It doesn’t and like most hard-working employees who are never recognized, you’d be missing the big opportunity here to showcase your value and worth to the company.
What to do instead:
Spell out the value and benefits you created with your work by clearly communicating these results to your boss and your team and thanking them for the opportunity.
3. You must get certified or get an MBA to get promoted.
If you have a deep desire to get an MBA, then go get an MBA. If you have a special interest in getting certified in your field, then go do that too, but don’t do either with the expectation that it will give you the blank check to your next-level promotion and raise.
In some cases, your management may spell out this requirement and 90% of the time, it is an excuse to block your advancement and test your understanding of how the rewards and recognition really works.
Sometimes there is an exception. Sometimes you really need the certification or the MBA but it’s rare.
Here’s your test to find out the truth. Look around and if you can find even one person above you who does not meet this requirement but has obviously been promoted and recognized, it is clearly not a ‘requirement’, rather a mere suggestion.
What to do instead:
Understand the incentive behind getting an MBA or certification by asking why you need it, how the skills benefit the next level job and what other options you have to acquire such skills if you choose not to do either of those.
4. You should not ask for a promotion or a raise.
This career advice has been around for a long time. I should know because I followed it early in my career and it held me back from advancing.
You may get promoted and get a raise without ever bringing it up. That has been known to happen. But if you want to be a leader and in charge of your career, then you need to feel comfortable and develop the skills to have professional conversations about these topics.
Big promotions and raises never happen without a powerful conversation between the employee and the employer. If you want to move up and play the big game and create a power career for yourself, you should indeed ask for the promotion, the raise or both.
The caveat is that you must know how to ask for it, how to position it, when to time it right, and whom to have which conversation with. These are details that I share with my students of Crack the Code to Get Promoted because it’s too important to leave them to chance.
What to do instead:
If you have earned your promotion and compensation adjustment – raise, stock options, flex time – then you need to have the conversation with your manager, position the ask and set expectations for future follow-up.
You can have a successful career and a happy family life. Don’t compromise. Here’s how.
Your career is a success when you’re using your strengths and talents to make a difference at your company as well as having the happy personal life that you have fully earned.
Is your career doing that for you or is something missing?
If you liked this article and learned something new, especially about career advice you should ignore, here’s what you should do next.
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