Caution: Bad Career Advice Ahead

Last Updated Jan 20, 2011 12:17 AM EST

Have you ever heard some bad career advice? Followed it and found out that that wasn't such a good idea in the first place? These people were served up some terrible advice. They didn't listen, and now you've been warned. Prepare yourself for some bad advice.

Emily Wikle: Don't Make Waves
Emily's company hired a group of foreign workers through a special visa program. As part of the program, the company arranged housing and, she writes, "then sent them to a landlord who totally took advantage of them. They were being charged way more than they were supposed to be, and were barely making enough to feed themselves." When one of her employees told her about this situation, she asked her boss for advice. Her boss's advice? "Don't make waves. Just keep quiet."

Emily didn't listen and jumped over her boss's head to the company's general manager. He was unaware of the unethical landlord and immediately fixed the problem. Emily says, "Being able to get those hardworking kids out of a crappy situation and into a great situation is one of the proudest moments of my entire career. It's always better to do the right thing than to be afraid of making waves."

Kirsten Beitler: Don't Take This Seriously
Kirsten received bad advice from a college professor who told her that "he wasn't going to take me very seriously in class. You know, since I wasn't going to take art seriously and would just get married and have kids any way, not be a 'real working' artist. " Why try if you're not going to use it, right? Despite her professor's prediction that she wouldn't be a "real working artist" she runs The Drawing Room Art Studio, where she teaches art classes. Good thing she ignored his counsel to not take art seriously. Her students thank her.

Eric Forsyth: Drop Out of College
Eric was only three months away from graduating with a bachelor's degree when a freelance position turned into a fulltime job offer--on the condition that he accept right now and drop out of school. It was a fabulous job offer for a high profile company. Too fabulous to pass up, the hiring manager warned.

Eric realized that while this was a great opportunity, too many future doors would be shut if he lacked a college degree, so "It was painful, but I turned the offer down within hours of thinking about it and I finished school 3 months later."

The manager who had told him this was a once in a lifetime opportunity left the company during that 3 month time period, and Eric made sure to keep in contact with the other people he met on his internship. When he graduated, he got a job there anyway. Eric says, "It would have been a huge mistake in the long-run to drop out of college for a supposedly golden opportunity. This guy honestly thought he was doing me a favor, but it's hands down the worst career advice I ever received."

Reva Friedel: Lie About Your Salary
This bad advice didn't come from just one person--Reva had multiple people telling her that lying about her salary was the key to job hunting success. They even suggested she ask current and former bosses to back her up on these lies.

Reva says, " I can't speak to my success in terms of securing a higher salary, but I can say that I've always been honest and as a result never have to worry about a lie coming back to haunt me, ruin my credibility, etc. That, and proving my worth in the long term are success enough for me."

Katrina Esco: You Should Kiss Some A**
Katrina found people telling her that the only way to succeed in her public relations was to suck up to people. Instead, Katrina opted for the nicer way. She said, "Nobody likes an a**-kiss. Just be smart, work hard and be open to making friends."

Apparently, the nicer way was the better way. Katrina's method helped her work up the ladder to a spot on the Creative Services team at Schipul. She's successful in her career, even during tough economic times.

Rowan Manahan: Your boss has your best interests at heart.
Rowan's teachers advised him that the best way to career success was to "Be grateful that you have a job at all; keep your head down and willingly do whatever your employer asks of you. Trust your employer and in particular, your manager - they have your best interests at heart and they understand how the world works far better than you ever will."

Rowan learned early on that no one cares about your career like you do and keeping your head down just gets you overlooked. Instead, he kept his head high and trusted himself to manage his own career, and others. He now runs a successful career management firm, Fortify Your Oasis, where he gives good career advice to others.

  • What's the worst career advice you've ever received?
Photo by blech, Flickr cc 2.0