Friday, September 18, 2009

Seven Myths

If we are not careful, we can get drawn into the swirl of myths that destroy careers. Here are seven dangerous ones:
  1. "Money corrupts." Wrong. There are plenty of perfectly nice people who are wealthy and yet are not captured or corrupted by their wealth.
  2. "Planning deadens the soul. Spontaneity is better and more human." Can spontaneity be fun? Yes, but it can also be self-indulgent and irresponsible. Moreover, the opposite of planning is not spontaneity, but drift. The most successful artists are highly self-disciplined in their work life.
  3. "Everybody does it." No, they don't. And even if they did, so what? Do we use a calculator to determine what's ethical? ("If we can get two more people on board with this scheme, it's ethical.")
  4. "Don't waste your time on boring jobs. Find out what you love and then make that your career." You can learn a great deal (along with some money) from unappealing jobs. The hard truth is we often don't know what we want until we learn what we don't want. Jobs that may seem dull on the surface can be very interesting once you get on the inside.
  5. "Be yourself." Yeah, sure, provided you are a nice and productive person. If not, try being someone else.
  6. "Strive for perfection in everything you do." This is a handy formula for paralysis. You should strive to do well and to improve, but life requires balance in all things. There are times when achieving "satisfactory" is wiser than going all out for "outstanding."
  7. "Be open with your feelings. Let it all hang out." This works only if you are surrounded by saints. In other circumstances, your candor will have armed current and future adversaries.


Dan Richwine said...

My favorites from this list:

Find out what you love and make a career of it - Michael, what I love is working with pre-school kids, but that doesn't pay beans, so I work as an accountant and do what I love when I can.

Be Open with your feelings - Why? What good will that do? If I did that, I would have been fired long ago for telling off many of my co-workers. And do you know what? Very often I was absolutely wrong about someone, and if I had shot off something simply because I believed it at the time I would have lost an opportunity of getting to know several brilliant, dedicated men and women who have rubbed me the wrong way from time to time.

The #1 advice I would give someone starting out? Cultivate your patience.

Deb White said...

Oh my. Where to begin. A fun quote perhaps? "Where money matters intersect with messy lives, the facts end up in payroll." Have you heard about Pink Slips and Parting Gifts? It's my newly released business novel that HR professionals are starting to talk about! It's the story of a memorable merger filled with juicy details only a human resources insider could know, but everyone in a corporate setting can appreciate. Check it out on Amazon, B&N, or your favorite online bookseller!

Have a great weekend!

Deb Hosey White

Cheri Hottinger said...

I am "myself" everyday and know that I frustrate people all the time. Makes me smile.

John said...

I also have collected a list of myths.

1.) A forty-hour work week is enough.

2.) Politics is an echo of morality.

3.) Professionals are always smarter than laymen.

4.) Dying is optional. (I think lots of people actually believe this one.)

5.) There is a connection between intelligence and success.

6.) Success is always the result of correct choices.

Rob said...

Reluctance to do boring/low level jobs, many gen Y's, seem to live by this myth that they have been indoctrinated with, funny thing is if you read the biographies of very successful people they always seem to have spent some period at the bottom and their rise upwards took years, it just didn't happen overnight. The question remains was their time 'at the bottom' a waste?

All the other points are worthwhile too, as well as Johns....Is dying optional? Damn I cannot remember which box I ticked...