Beliefs influence your way of thinking. How you see the world dictates your behaviour in real life. Every day, I see that this lesson applies directly to how twentysomethings make career decisions and conduct their job search.
The only issue with career myths that are disconnected from reality is that they shrink your creative capacity to imagine the many career possibilities available. Additionally, they place false expectations that lead to ill-informed career choices. It is safe to say that career myths are negative looming thoughts that prevent young, rising professionals from becoming their best selves. Career myths make twentysomethings consider extensively things such as which grad school they are heading, career changes they are bound to face, and the value of experience versus education.
Consequently, career myths can make us feel stuck, and when we are unable to move in any direction, we panic. Our irrational minds believe that the only way to get rid of that sense of panic is through job security, and once we have it, we keep ourselves there because we are too afraid to do something different. Specifically, we are too scared to be different.
However, career myths are just that – myths. I am writing this article because I want to assure you that the rumours you have heard are not true. You have more power than you think you have when it comes to careers and pursuing your dreams. By raising your awareness of career myths and false assumptions out there about career development, you can better prepare yourself to map out a plan for success.
Myth #1: No other career choice is better than following your parents’ career path.
This is a common belief among Chinese societies. Children would engage in good conduct not just towards parents but also outside the home to bring a good name to one’s parents and ancestors. Hence, it makes sense that when parents believe that a particular career path is suitable for their children, they would instinctively follow them.
Really? No, seriously. Really?
Your parents dream of you taking over the helm of the family business, whether it be a restaurant, family practice or mattress company. There is no denying that the business bears the name of your family. However, if it is their dream and not yours, then why should you follow that path?
Let’s be real here; you are a twentysomething living in 2021. You have every right to chase whatever career you want, as long as it originates from your heart. If your parents really love you, they will respect your career choices, even if they differ significantly from what they had expected. So, the myth that following your parents’ career path is best for you is busted.
Myth #2: Once you secure a career, you are married to it for life.
Excuse me but who the hell said this? I can personally speak from experience that this is completely false. 100% inaccurate.
I have met lots of people who have done just about everything you can think of. They have held positions in various industries. They inspire me to do anything I want whenever I want in life because it is never too late. Hence, I once worked as a freelance photographer before working as a talent acquisition trainee. Now, not only have I returned to reignite my career as a photographer, but I am also working as a freelance writer.
The point here is that it is never too late to make that career change. You are never stuck, so this myth is also busted.
Myth #3: The only way to get a good job is by having a university degree.
This myth may be true decades ago, but now, things are different. Yet, university lecturers and parents remain adamant in their belief that having a degree is a sure way to get a job that we like and pays us well. While holding a university degree does make you stand out in the job market, there is no conclusive proof that a degree will someday guarantee anyone a satisfying job.
You want proof? I am a masters student, and I had a job that I did not like but decided to go for it anyway because I had no other choice and received a paycheck that is equivalent to the ones you’d find in the black market.
That experience has taught me a valuable lesson: the real world does not appreciate how much pressure you place on a piece of academic paper.
Myth #4: Having a graduate degree will boost your salary.
This belief is true in a small number of cases but not all.
For instance, if you want to work in medicine, law, finance, you have to go through grad school, which will then enhance your value to the company, and therefore they are willing to offer you higher salaries. Remember, this is circumstantial. Not everyone makes more money, and not everyone must enter grad school to earn lots of money. So by right, you should enter grad school purely because you want to.
No doubt possessing a graduate degree can yield several benefits ranging from a more outstanding resume to a better understanding of a particular subject. However, do not enrol in a grad course because you are forced into it by your parents. Grad school is not meant for everyone and costly, so think twice before making the jump. Hence, the myth is yet again busted.
Myth #5: Career or family. You can only choose one.
What the f*ck?
Sure, it can be exhausting balancing time between your career and family. However, do it right, and it will serve you well. Keeping up with a successful career and raising a family are undoubtedly two-full time jobs. However, lots of people have successfully made both ends meet. That means you can too. All you need is to do is have a well-thought-out plan, get your priorities straight and practice good time management.
Whatever happens, do not surrender to those who attempt to convince you otherwise. If family and work mean enough to you, you will find the ambition, way and time to commit to both. So, the myth that you must choose between having a career and having a career is busted too.
Final 2¢: They are just myths
Career myths can disable your rational thinking and influence you to make choices you regret later. While we want to remain optimistic, it does not take much to get lost in a void filled with negative thoughts and false assumptions. A lot of things can occur when you are looking out for your dream career, and sometimes the obstacles we encounter can seem like impenetrable brick walls.
As dire as that may sound, do not worry. These hurdles are meant to strengthen our revolve in searching for our dream life. Do not allow anyone want to take away your dreams in life, especially when it comes livelihood. Look for a job you are deeply passionate about and one that will give back to your life as much as you give it. Life is too precious to be anything but happy. Never forget, career myths are just that – myths.