Advice for Those Who Need It Most?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

It's easy to encounter career advice on the web, but have you ever had a thought like the below cross your mind?

Most career advice on the internet is from people who had some sort of meteoric success. Why read advice from someone who's had a mediocre career? But there's massive sampling bias. All this advice will try to draw grand, sweeping narratives and also typically fails to sufficiently factor in luck.
If so, I've found a short post for you!

Almost everyone will, through mistakes or circumstances not entirely under one's own control, find oneself in a situation where there is no clear-cut, best path forward. And while that doesn't mean we can't learn from those "grand, sweeping narratives," it also doesn't mean we can't learn from those who have been in similar situations to our own before.

The general solution is to enter such situations with open eyes -- and to keep them open. The following example, informal language and all, is illustrative, I think:
Sometimes, you need advice on the stubborn twenty percent remainder... (Image by Austin Distel, via Unsplash, license.)
When picking a job, yes, your manager matters. But if you have an amazing manager at a shit company you'll still have a shit time. In some ways, it'll actually be worse. If they're good at their job (including retaining you), they'll keep you at a bad company for too long. And then they'll leave, because they're smart and competent. Maybe they'll take you with them.
The whole thing is a quick and entertaining read, and the author, who has solicited war stories, may follow up down the road with more advice in the same vein.

-- CAV


Jennifer Snow said...

I've also read a recommendation to get some advice from people who have FAILED. I like this short poem by Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanac):

"Although thy teacher do not as he preaches,
yet, nevertheless, if good, do what he teaches.
Good counsel, failing men may give, for why,
he that's aground knows where the shoal doth lie."

Gus Van Horn said...

Good for advice and for a chuckle. Thanks!