The following are misguided ‘words of advice’ (or myths) given to those entering the workforce from well-meaning individuals.  These misconceptions can impact the career choice(s) an individual makes.

Myth #1 – Choosing a Career is Simple

Hogwash!  Within Canada, there are 30,000 positions listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC).  It is not simple to determine what you should do for this period of your life.  It is important to learn about yourself (current skills, values, and personality) and weigh that against your current interests.  The latest ‘hot’ job may not fit.  Thereafter, you need to do homework about what occupational options are available within your field of interest, what training/certifications and skills you require and then make a plan on how you are going to accomplish your goals.  First, however, you should research what the realistic possibility of employment is within that field – there are a lot of highly qualified individuals who are not working in their chosen career due to a low supply of positions.  Do not let this myth derail your choice for right now!

Myth #2 – Follow Your Passion

Well-meaning people advise you to ‘follow your passion’ or ‘find your purpose’. This is a great goal, but it often takes time to figure out what that is.  Some are fortunate to get on with an organization and build a successful, purposeful, career.  Others move from job-to-job through which they gained the experience they required, learning what they like and dislike.  Each transition helped them to determine their passion and purpose. All work we do should allow us to figure out what we are innately good at and motivate us towards the career that fits.

Some, honestly, never figure it out as a career.  That is not a bad thing as they may have things they love to do as hobbies.  A great mechanic or painter may not do it as their full-time career but find time to pursue their passion on the weekend/evenings.  Find your passion in life, whether it is a career or a hobby.

Myth #3 – Choose Your Career Wisely, You Will Be Doing It Forever

Working with the same company from ‘hire to retire’ is not feasible for most.  Mergers, acquisitions, poor management, internal drive, and bad corporate culture (among others) affect tenure.  It is realistic to anticipate you will participate in multiple career changes in your career.  Many individuals with a post-secondary degree transition into a different focus when their initial path does not line up with their current interests or goals. 

Your resume should demonstrate, with every change, you gained training, knowledge, and additional skills.   Consider your past work history, skills, and education to find your next meaningful opportunity.  While you do not need to restrict your job search to careers related to your degree or training, once you pick an industry it is often beneficial to remain within a closely tied industry.  Hiring managers need to see the potential fit when considering you for an opportunity.

Myth #4 – Choose A Career with the Highest Earning Potential

We all need money to live, thus a competitive wage or salary is important, but it is not the only factor you should consider when choosing a career (or a specific position within that career).  Countless surveys have proven that a great salary does not indicate job satisfaction.  When selecting a career path, consider all the factors like work hours, possible advancement, work location, safety factors, benefits, community (if relocation is involved), and salary.

In 2005, Olivia Crosby wrote an article for the US Bureau of Labor Statistics entitled “Career Myths and How to Debunk Them” with additional insight and links for review on this topic.

Have a job offer?  Check out https://grasslandsgroup.com/grsblog/2020/06/19/job-offer-how-to-decide-to-accept-or-not/

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