With the New Year quickly approaching, many people are ready to reinvent or transform their careers. But here’s the reality: Whether you’re an entrepreneur ready to take your business to the next level or a mid-career professional expecting a promotion, now is a great time to take stock of the myths and half-truths that can hold you back from success.
Myth 1: Assuming the career path your parents or caretakers took is right for you. The “advice” starts in your childhood — “Get a good, stable job in the technology, education, healthcare, or _____ (fill in the blank) field with good benefits. Then buy a house.” Here’s the problem: When it comes to launching a career, one “path” does not fit all. Choosing a career based on someone else’s definition of success might leave you feeling sad, trapped, and unhappy. “Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?” –Danielle LaPorte
If you’re unsure about your career, get passionate about exploring and pursuing opportunities that interest you. Take a career test, try different activities, consider hiring a career coach, or interview professionals working in a field of your interest. If you’re certain about your career choice but unsure about how to advance in your field, attend industry-related events both on and offline, and build professional relationships with a diverse network of people who can advocate on your behalf and help you identify the skills and abilities needed to take your career to the next level.
Myth 2: “I’ll be successful and happy if/when I get the promotion/get a college degree/get a salary increase.” Money, power, and/or material things do not necessarily bring you happiness. Those “things” can be here one day and gone the next. Focus on finding your purpose. Learn how to create your own happiness. Shift your thinking from “I’ll be happy when” to “I am happy because.”
Myth 3: A college or advanced degree will land you a job. Nowadays, a college degree has become the new high school diploma. Showcasing your degree on your résumé may be enough to get you through the online system, but not enough to ace the interview. The truth is, there are a slew of other requirements needed. Depending on your industry, many companies are looking for thought leaders, social influencers, and candidates with solid online brands. Can companies find you online? Are you engaging with an audience, creating value and sharing your expertise across social channels? Earlier this year, Ernst & Young, a world-renowned professional services firm, reported that they would no longer require college degrees for candidates applying to join their teams. In a statement, EY announced: “We found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken.” Welcome to the new reality for job seekers.
Myth 4: Climbing the ladder of success is the only way to land a leadership role. With digital and social media tools at our fingertips, everyone has the ability to make a difference in the world. Bringing awareness to a social cause is a great way to demonstrate leadership skills. Find something you’re passionate about, create a platform, spread awareness about your topic using social media and traditional communication methods, engage a community, and be consistent to develop a solid reputation.
Myth 5: Entrepreneurship skills are for business owners only. It’s your career. Own it. One of the best things you could ever do for yourself is to become the CEO of your career. Sure, you may have the comfort of a 9-to-5, but there are key entrepreneurial skills employees need to succeed at work. For instance, adapt to change, seek out opportunities to engage across the organization, build your personal brand both in and outside of the workplace, and think beyond what’s in front of you.
Do you know of any career myths that hold people back from success? Share them in the comments section below.