GeneralHr Library

Debunking Popular #Career Myths

Source | LinkedIn : By Prabir Jha

It is often understood that successful careers are about higher designations, bigger organizations and fatter wallet possibilities. While some of these may indeed be a cocktail of rewards, careers are not just these alone. In my own experience as a career coach, I have been appalled to see how widespread the disillusionment with organizations, their leaders and their own careers is. They remain stuck because of the career myths that we all have conveniently rationalized our situations with. However, myths are often just that and need to be contested.

Careers are yours, not theirs: The challenge with the subject is that we forget that we own our careers. However, much of our actions are in response to what the world may think. We start to make decisions to live up to a Pygmalion expectation. The reality is the external world has more to worry than be obsessed with any of us. Everyone may have an opinion but it always squarely remains ours.

Careers are about various peaks, not just the highest one: People believe that being in the so called ‘big’ job(s) is proof of a successful career. Just being in a big job, even in a large organization may, however, not be intrinsically fulfilling or inspiring. It may actually be more titular; maybe in a culture that is excessively draining. The classical big jobs may be mere bureaucratic parking slots rather than addressing core design essentials of your own career. The apparent smaller assignments may actually be more challenging, more complex, richer in experience and more satisfying. Every peak, small or large, can be career enhancing, depending on the variables.

Careers are internal, not external: You own your career, not your organization. I have so very often witnessed the passenger syndrome in employees. There is the eternal expectation, often misplaced, that their organization will take them to a desired destination. It never can be the case. If you are on the wrong train, you can never get to your destination. Or if you do not know your destination, you do not get onto the right train. In the future workplace, career anchors will get even more self-controlled. Careers will be more a product of active self-steer than an organization owned reality.

Careers are not linear; they have their jagged edges: Over time a career graph may look like a nice slope but in real terms no career has been an easy ride up. There are often lateral steps and at times some strategic come-downs. Some career moments are rough air pockets. Both successes and disappointments contribute to an eventual career trajectory. Realize that not every successful careerist was always a hero. He was once just a boy-next-door.

Career choices can also be counter-intuitive: The best career moments lie at the fringes, not at the end of the tunnel. Careers are not always about doing more of the same, albeit larger. It could be about doing something different- lateral shifts, different functions, various industries, even a presumably lower order start up. In the New World, one cannot remain a prisoner of one’s education or past experiences. Successful careers are more about deeply embedded life interests, not just formal educational qualifications.  The next big career opportunities will be at various intersects, some seemingly very counterintuitive. It will take a good trapeze artist inspiration to know which handle bar to shoot for. Otherwise organizational seduction is bound to dull many promising careers.

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