Updated April 14, 2023
What are Career Myths?
Career myths are common misconceptions or misunderstandings about specific careers or the job market in general, which can lead to incorrect assumptions about one’s career prospects or poor career decisions. These myths can come from a variety of sources, including popular culture, family and friends, or outdated information, and they can have a significant impact on people’s career choices and professional development. Examples of career myths include beliefs that certain professions are no longer in demand, that certain degrees guarantee career success, or that promotions are solely based on merit.
Examples of Career Myths
Let’s look at some career myths examples in detail and bust them as we go along.
1. 30 is the new 20
It is not. Ask someone who spent their 20s figuring things out and now, in their 30s, regrets wasting those years. Question them: “Do you regret anything about your career in your 20s?” You will hear varying thoughts from them. Take notes; take an oath not to repeat them at all.
Let’s look at some background.
When we reach our 20s, we are still in a phase of immaturity and dependency. We are accustomed to getting fed by our parents or guardians. Since we are pampered from the beginning, we feel inundated with responsibilities once we complete our education. Having no idea how to deal with them, we try to figure things out by ourselves. We dabble in various jobs, either in search of a better opportunity or feeling exhausted by the current one. In the midst of this, a decade passes without our notice. We arrive at our 30s and feel that whatever we always wanted to be and wanted to sacrifice for has died down. People around us may call us “successful,” but inside, we are still figuring things out.
So, it is a reminder. Do not let this happen to you. Pick anything that interests you and stick with it till you learn the trade, and then you will find your way. It is too late to wake up after 30; do whatever you have to do right now.
2. Search for the perfect career
The truth is that there is no such thing as such. We cannot expect to land a perfect career immediately. At the end of our journey, we realize that we could have done much more if we simply would not have wasted our years looking for the perfect career.
So, what should you do if you are starting your career right now?
Look for something that you can do and learn—and then stick to it. Author Cal Newport explained that if you always go for passion, you will not be able to create the results you want. Later, you can do that. See your dream career as a summit. There are stairs, and they are hard to climb. You need to give all your effort and energy to reach the summit.
You can either choose to stand there and dream of magically reaching your summit, or you can start right away to climb the stairs one by one. What choice will help you reach your dream job? One step at a time. Take whatever career you can start with and then correct, learn, and change the direction if you need to.
Getting a perfect career immediately after coming out of graduation is a myth. You better bust it.
3. Anything is Possible!
There are two types of self-help books. The first ones tell you that you can do anything; everything is possible; no matter what your situation is, you can do whatever you wish to do! And there is a second type that tells you how to prevent and/or recover from setbacks, failures, and life’s embarrassments. The people who read both types of books get confused—what should they aim for?
When the youth are in their 20s and beginning to educate themselves, they read mostly books of the former type, the type that tells them that anything is possible in this world. When they try to apply these ideas in practice, they are severely disappointed. So, they then read the latter category of books, which instruct them on how to prevent the embarrassments they have faced by believing the former ideas.
So, what should you do?
Simple! Have a realistic goal and take baby steps towards it. Do not rush so fast that you may crash; do not go so slow that you may lag behind. Take small career steps toward reaching your goals.
4. Your dream job will not feel like work
Work is work until you get your dream job, no matter what it is—writing, painting, fashion designing, or business. You need to put in a lot of hours to get yourself going and be good at it. It is said that to be the best; you must invest 10,000 hours of your life, which means you must devote at least 10 years of your life to your craft, or, in other words, 2-3 hours of practice per day to excel in your field.
So, if we think that indolence may land us our dream job, then we are in for a big illusion. Only with effort can we arrive at our dream job. Once we reach it, keep working harder towards a greater destination.
5. You can get your dream job later
Time is limited. Life is short, and your career span is even shorter. You must know in your 20s what you would like to be and start finding opportunities that suit your vaguely defined desired goal so that you do not have regrets later. Most people in their 30s regret that they should have looked for better opportunities that would have helped them reach their dream jobs sooner. But time does not wait for anyone.
If you are in your 20s, ask yourself whether you are ready to take more risks now in pursuit of a better job than your current one or not. We must ask ourselves: Are we complacent? Are we able to do the current job very easily? If yes, then go out and look for a better and more challenging one.
Do not let regrets or fears dictate your career decisions. Drive yourself with passion, challenge, and the desire to make a difference. In the end, you will realize that every minor risk you took was worth it.
6. If you do not like your job, the best option is to quit
There is a multitude of things that you do not like to do. But when you do them, whether you like them or not, they become your habits and provide you with greater benefits later in life.
Likewise with your career! In order to do things that we like, we must bear through the things that we do not like. However, it is difficult to embrace this fact when you start out. With all the rhetoric of “follow your passion” around us, it is natural to feel annoyed and frustrated when the job does not satisfy us.
The best way to deal with this is to not quit, but you must identify exactly what you dislike. Upon inspection, you will find only a tiny number of dislikable things; while there are many advantages, most importantly, it is putting bread on your table.
Jim Rohn said, “Do what you have to do so quickly that you can do what you want to do.”
7. If your boss is domineering, quit the job
Yes, it is important to have a good boss who can understand your limitations and be considerate. However, the number of such bosses is quite low. When your boss is domineering, you develop an antipathy towards him. However, there is a flip side as well. Such a boss would be doing you a great favor by helping you push your boundaries and limits of endurance. You grow rapidly and develop extensive abilities over the course of time.
Quitting the job is not necessary; one can ignore the bad and focus on the good. With growing experience, you will make better career choices, and eventually, you will reach a point where such offensive words will not affect you anymore.
8. Job hopping is totally bad
Job hopping is not always bad. You should continually keep searching for the job that your heart aligns with. Job hoppers are not untrustworthy people; rather, they are simply normal human beings. One should not feel guilty for joining a job and, after a period of time, quitting it. Keep progressing, as every experience is valuable. You will either learn some skills or obtain experience in what to avoid.
The point may sound contrary to what we have said so far, but it all depends on individual circumstances. A man is the best judge of his situation here.
9. Young people cannot take responsibility
Many companies have a large number of young people in executive positions. They require the foundation, not mere rhetoric, from experienced mentors. Once the foundation has been laid, taking on responsibility becomes easy. Again, you are the best judge of yourself here. Either you will take charge or be taken charge of by someone else.
If you do good work every day and are proactive—doing things before you are told, no matter how difficult the job is, you can take responsibility and advance your career, no matter your age. Believe in your potential and pay no heed to the naysayers.