Avoid This Bad Advice

Have you ever been having a professional conversation where someone is trying to give you advice and found yourself thinking “this doesn’t sound quite right.” We have too. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad advice out there and it can be hard to parse out what we should listen to and what we should ignore.

Two weeks ago, GovFem brought you some of the best advice that we have heard. We continued our crowdsourcing efforts to bring you the worst pieces of professional advice our colleagues, peers and friends have received and what they wish they had heard instead:

“Someone else will take care of it so don’t worry about it. Basically, being told not to take initiative. I wish I was told to take more initiative because once you hear that it is easy to become scared to ask to help on projects or tasks that are not specifically given to you.”

-Katarina Hong, Office Administrator, Granicus  

“Depend on your organization to develop your skills and knowledge.” Instead, pursue professional development on your own so you don’t fall behind.

-Bill Brantley, Project Manager and Trainer at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office  

“Someone once told me, if someone gives you advice, they owe you for a lifetime… Which sounds backwards. You might think, wouldn’t I owe someone for giving me good advice? But the truth is, by taking the time to give you good advice or direction, they are investing in your future, and, in turn, have a vested interest in the outcome.”

-Niki Grant, Sales Specialist, GovLoop

“I once had a class based on women in leadership and one time a lady guest speaker came in and told us that sometimes women have to play the damsel in distress when you get what you want. I was disappointed upon hearing that. It made me feel like we had to make ourselves look like the weaker sex in order to be taken seriously. I’d rather just be confident and be myself in striving for my career.”

-Francesca El-Attrash Ukaejiofo, Staff Writer, GovLoop

“Take any job you’re offered after graduation.” – When you’re a recent graduate, you’re tempted to take the first job you’re offered to see where it goes, but sometimes that strategy doesn’t always work out. Some jobs just simply are not right for your personality or work style and it can make you miserable. Also when you go into a company you could work there for longer than you think so it’s worth thinking about if you really would enjoy it before you take the offer. Instead I would think about it like this: “Explore lots of job options after graduation and take any opportunity… but not ANY opportunity.”

-Michael Steinberg, Editorial Fellow, GovLoop 

“Do it for the money. Not every job early in your career needs to be about money. If you build skills and knowledge early in a field you enjoy, then most times the money will come eventually. Companies and agencies value smart and skillful people, not the ones with the most money. Obviously the cliché is that money doesn’t buy happiness, but it’s at least important to stop and think if the money is worth being in a field or position you hate. Not to mention if you don’t enjoy something you might not be that good at it.”

-Courtney Belme, Editorial Fellow, GovLoop 

“You’re not here to win a popularity contest is advice I got a lot growing up, but I’ve found in my professional life that the idiom is only half true. While you shouldn’t shy away from advocating your beliefs or causes at work, that doesn’t mean you should voice your opinions at all costs, without regard for others’ feelings.
Your reputation is just as important as your work product in many cases, especially when it comes to promotions or being picked for teams. Be conscious of your demeanor at work, even as you promote yourself and your views.”

-Hannah Moss, Senior Editor and Project Manager, GovLoop

Got another piece of bad advice you received? Leave it in the comments with what you wish you would have heard instead!


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