Collective World

The Best Career Advice Is The Advice You Give Yourself

By the time you have your first job, there are so many people to thank. The people who taught you how to read and how to write are important to thank. Maybe there were teachers in school who taught you these things. Maybe your parents taught you these things. There might have been other people. Your siblings, relatives, even friends, or a TV program, might have taught you how to read and how to write to make your first cover letter and first resume to land your first job.

And of course a huge part of getting and keeping your first job is responsibility. There were surely so many people who not only taught you responsibility but people who modeled it for you. In addition to people close to you in life, every time you walk into a business there are people modeling responsibility. 

Once you are at work, people are modeling what to do to have a successful career. A boss can be a huge influence on your career. What is their background? What are their values and approaches? How do they get from point A to point B? And what do they and managers do when something goes wrong?

All of these people and more can influence your career, especially when you move on to the next thing after your first job. Now that you have a foot in the door, what do you want to do next? Do you want to do something similar? Do you want to do something different? Do you want to do something completely different?

All of these people in your life who modeled good behavior for you and who taught you so many things are there for you to guide you in your next career move. But are they qualified to guide you more than you can guide yourself?

These amazing people for the most part were not there with you at your first job. They didn’t see you perform at work. They didn’t see your boss’ interactions with you. They didn’t see your learning curve. Sure, they might have heard some anecdotes from you. Maybe they even visited you at work.

At some point you have to trust your own feelings. At some point you have to trust your own intuition. Coworkers and your boss can teach you so much at work about procedure. They can teach you about good practices. But can they teach you what to do next?

Sometimes somebody in the field can advise you on good options for your next gig or ways to improve your career in general. Somebody can suggest a training program for you to do. Somebody can suggest a good job for you to apply to. But in your heart is it a good fit?

Maybe this school somebody is suggesting feels too far away from home. They don’t know that you’re more comfortable closer to home. Maybe this job somebody is suggesting to you is too managerial and even though you have managers in your family you would personally rather not have people under you.

We are taught from a young age to speak up when we have problems. Today, therapy culture is ubiquitous. We never want to hold things inside because then we will supposedly explode. But it isn’t holding something inside to effectively work through your own problems. It may in fact be more cathartic than seeming so vulnerable by speaking up around other people.