Overheard a conversation in a grocery store recently that made me think about how career myths can stall careers. One woman was explaining why she was destined to be stuck in her bad job forever, because it was a “safe” place to be. I get it. Not everyone is confortable taking certain career risks and life responsibilities might make it really hard to see beyond the immediate paycheck. That’s why, ever so often, we all need to take a look at what we are doing and see if we are falling prey to any career myths that could be stalling our careers.
Career Myth #1 It is too late to learn something new
This is a career myth that haunts many working professionals. Either employees feel they are too old to learn something new or feel that learning something new will not be rewarded or even noticed by their company. If you think this career myth you is stalling your career then change it by taking small steps. First, remember that education, training and knowledge is yours to keep. You take it with you. Look for training at your current company, ask to join a new project team, take one course at a local college or sign up for a webinar. The Atlantic quotes the National Center for Education Statistics that of the 17.6 million undergrads in college, 38% are over the age of 25 and 25% are over the age of 30.
Career Myth #2 I have to stick to my “safe” job
If it is one thing the recent economic disasters have taught us, is there is no safe job. Every industry has experienced cutbacks and some occupations have disappeared for good. Some in-demand skills are obsolete and the number of long term unemployed is bigger than ever. Don’t let this lull you into a sense of security thinking your job is safe. Although it is smart and wise to think about being “safe”, this might not be the best path to greater career success. As you evaluate whether this career myth is stalling your career, resolve not to discard opportunities because at first glance they don’t fall into your “safe” zone. Spend the time and dig deeper, do the research, find related professions and scan the environment to see which changes are heading your way.
Career Myth #3 Work life balance is a career myth
If you are one of those people who think that there is no way to have work-life balance, you might be working with the wrong company or haven’t explored all your options. Most smart organizations understand that a healthier bottom line and improved productivity come from happier employees who love what they do and understand their value in the workplace. If you are want to bury this career myth, think about a meeting with your supervisor to discuss ways you might be able to stay productive at work and lower stress of juggling work and life. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation.