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Are You Getting Bad Career Advice?

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Who do you turn to for career advice? A recent survey found that the typical “go-to” people in our lives—trusted friends, family members, spouses, professional colleagues—often give us bad career advice. In a survey by The Creative Group, more than 50% of the executives who participated said that their bosses and coworkers had given them advice that had a negative impact on their careers. Spouses, parents and family members did a little better, yet more than 30% of the survey participants noted that they had received poor counsel from these sources, as well.

Seeking advice can be helpful in making important decisions. says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” The key factor, of course, is the quality of the advice you receive. Here are some tips for getting good counsel when making critical career decisions.

How to Get the Right Advice

Take a look at why you want career advice. Think about your motivation for seeking advice. Do you really want honest feedback so you can make the best decision, or do you just want someone to agree with your point of view? Have you accepted responsibility to make the final decision, or are you secretly hoping that someone else will make the decision for you? Being clear about your motives and goals in seeking input will help ensure you get the counsel you need to make the best possible decision.

Consider the source of the advice you receive. While you can ask family members and friends for their input about your career situation, assess their advice in light of their background and experience. Others can be well-meaning, but not be knowledgeable about the career field or situation you are asking about. Remember, also, that people’s recommendations often come out of their own value system. If your parents place a high value on job security, for example, they are probably not going to encourage you to join a start-up company no matter how bright its prospects.

Do your own homework. Don’t just depend on others’ input in making your decision; do your own research about the situation you are facing. Identify the possible courses of action, and the pros and cons of each.

Ask the Lord for His guidance. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” ( ). Invite God into your decision-making process early on; don’t just ask Him to bless the decision you have already made.

Seek expert advice. Often, the most objective and best advice will come from a professional with specific expertise in the area of your concern. If your career issue has to do with personnel or legal issues, consider consulting with a human resources professional or an attorney. If you are wondering how to best manage your money in preparation for retirement or a career transition, look for a certified financial planner. If you are dissatisfied with your career, and don’t know what you want to do or how to make a career change, hiring a professional career coach/counselor can be a smart strategy. When you don’t want to risk making the wrong decision—wasting time, energy and money in the process--a professional can be your best investment.

© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.


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About The Author

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Kevin and Kay

Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck are national certified Career Counselors and authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. Their websites feature hundreds of job listings from churches, ministries, and Christian employers; a resume bank; and many other career/job search resources and articles. They also offer career coaching and testing to help you discover work that fits your God-given design, as well as assistance with writing a powerful resume, interviewing effectively, finding job openings, and other aspects of a successful job search.