I was wondering what your thoughs are about insensitive and misguided career advice: folks telling young people what they “should” do career wise.  When I was young I received a lot of bad and discouraging advice that just “shot me down”.  I was far too open to it because I was so in need of some kind of advice.   All of my real interests were dismissed as “useless” by these self-styled tough-love “realists”.
Now as a counselor I do some career counseling, and I’m starting to hear this again: People who are young and not so young being ordered around by (well meaning?) others in regards to their career choices. I find some people near tears because they are so tired of being “pushed” by others in their lives. Like me, they stop being “open” to any input because so much of what they get is inconsiderate, aggressive, and useless.
What do you think people should say to this kind of intrusive advice? What do you think is the thought process behind this kind of insensitive and misguided advice?
1 reply
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    I think we all give insensitive, bad advice at times. Because all our advice is filtered through our own, imperfect selves. The best thing to teach people is how to sort through advice themselves. You have to sort through good at and bad advice your whole life.

    It’s ridiculous to get angry at someone for giving you bad advice. That someone takes the time to try to help surely is not that terrible a thing to do. Even if they are wrong, they are still trying to help. I think your own anger and resentment is probably misguided.

    We all have the job of learning to trust ourselves and act on what we think is best even if people don’t agree with us. Thats something that takes a long time to learn, and it’s hard work emotionally.

    Here’s a post on how to get good at taking advice. And some posts on how to make the process of taking advice and getting advice better. But really, it’s all trial and error and learning about yourself.

    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2012/02/24/some-advice-about-taking-advice/

    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2011/07/22/why-most-career-coaching-fails/

    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2009/12/15/underrated-career-skill-asking-questions/

    Penelope

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