Now that the holidays are officially over, I’ve just got to say this: Stop listening to your loud mouth relatives. Just stop.
Have you ever had a relative pull you aside at a family event (maybe even this holiday season)? Or, perhaps they write you a long letter. They have something they just have share with you. You’re doing your career ALL WRONG.
And, how did they get this valuable information? Is it because they also had a similar career path? Is it because they also made good choices? Is it because they talk to you often and understand your hopes and desires?
NO! It’s none of those things.
I’m going to talk a little out of school here. I can because I’m not related to you. The reason your uncle / brother / cousin / grandma is offering you this invaluable advice about your career isn’t because they know what they’re talking about. It’s because they have big mouths paired with small personal boundaries, and frankly, they’re probably bored.
These are the kinds of family advice I typically hear about:
- “You’re working at the wrong company. You should work for this company.”
- “You’re in the wrong career field. You should quit your job and go back to school for this field.”
- “You live in the wrong city. You should find a job here, near me.”
- “Don’t take a job somewhere else. I know that you hate your job, but it’s stable. Just stay there.”
- “Don’t leave your job to go back to graduate school. Who cares if you want to change your career path. This is the worst decision ever! Do you know how much school costs?”
- “I know that you enjoy your career and all, but seriously – you should be making more money. This isn’t really an adult career anymore.”
- “I know that you enjoy your career and all, but seriously – your job is too high stress. You should quit and take something that would allow you to focus more on what’s really important in life.”
The list could go on, and on, and on…
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that their advice is probably coming from a place of love and concern (probably). But, just because advice comes from love doesn’t mean it’s good advice. Let’s be real.
As a respectable working adult, you are the only one who truly, truly knows what’s right for you, not your mom / dad / grandma / grandpa / brother / sister / cousin / aunt / uncle. You know when it’s time to quit. You know when it’s time to stay. And, you know how much stress you and your spouse can take.
Without going too far overboard, there are a few times when it makes sense to listen to a relative. For example, perhaps the relative is a successful business person who has worked in the field you are interested in. Or, maybe the relative has inside knowledge of a particular company you’re interested in.
But, the most important thing – if you’re going to listen to a relative – is that the relative RESPECTS YOUR OWN OPINION and is OKAY with the idea of you rejecting their advice if it doesn’t work for you.
Does that make sense? If the relative only wants to give advice if you’ll take it (whether or not you think it makes sense for YOU), then you shouldn’t be listening to them – no matter how smart or well-connected they might be. Their advice is biased, and it’s not coming from the best place.
At the end of the day, YOU are the only one who truly knows what works for you: not your dad, not your sister, not your grandmother, not your cousin. YOU.
So, with all that said, listen to the advice that works for you, and pay attention when advice doesn’t work for you. Pay attention so you can be sure not to use the advice that doesn’t work for you. Listen to yourself, not your loud mouth relative. Have confidence that you know what’s right, and that you are going to figure things out, in your own way.
Let me end this passionate email with a personal story. While still in college for engineering, I decided that I wanted to earn a MBA. I wasn’t sure whether I should go straight to graduate school from college, or whether I should work first. So, I talked to MBA schools and other MBA graduates about their experiences. After gathering enough information, I decided that for me, it would be best to work for three years in industry before quitting my job to go to graduate school full time. This allowed me to bring more to the classroom, and to get more out.
So, I took a corporate job out of college, and each month, I put $1,000 per month in a bank account to help pay for my graduate school. MBA school rarely has scholarships, and I knew the price tag would be big for what I wanted to do. And, since I planned to study for my MBA full time, I knew I’d need money to survive.
At the end of the three years, I had enough money ($36,000 – not bad for a 21 year old) to get started. I applied to school, was accepted, quit my job, and moved cross-country to Los Angeles. I was able to complete my MBA in 15-months. And, guess what happened? I received job offers that were twice what I was making before getting that MBA. You heard me right. I was able to double my salary in 15 months by these choices.
But, do you know what I heard before all of this happened? Multiple people pulled me aside. They told me how crazy I was, and how I’d lost my mind. They said, “You have a good corporate job. What’s your problem? Why do you need to do this? You’re going to ruin your life.” They also said, “Why do you need to quit and move to LA? There’s a perfectly good school where you are. Why are you doing this?”
I’m pretty sure that all of these people who attempted to stop me from my goals would stand up today and say that they knew I was going to succeed. They could just see it in my eyes (or some other similar B.S.).
So again, please – listen to yourself. Only you can truly know what’s right for you.
Author: Angela Copeland
Angela Copeland is Founder and Coach for Copeland Coaching, a great way to jump start your job search. Follow her on Twitter @CopelandCoach for tips on finding the perfect job for you.