Entering (or even worse re-entering) the job market is scary and confusing. To do so successfully it will help to know the rules (myths or misconceptions) in order to play the game effectively. Alternatively you could put your head in the sand and learn the hard way.
1. You are motivated by Money
While money is important, few people ever leave a job because they can earn more elsewhere. So it seems strange that salary is often the number one reason people chose a new job. Studies have repeatedly shown that people are motivated more by Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose, Impact and Creative input. Are these on your list for criteria in the job search?
2. You should follow your Passion
The reality is that most people don’t know what their passion is. So passion can get confused with interest, then quickly become a disinterest either by the task or the required surrounding tasks. So interests are often best left to being a hobby. The other side of this myth is that passion can also be developed as it follows mastery. Just ask Jiro as he “Dreams of Sushi”.
3. You can find security in certain careers or jobs
Technology can disrupt any industry, company and job, so regardless of skill set, you should always be thinking of how to upskill yourself to stay relevant. Besides job security is not necessarily a good thing (prisons are secure). We are often happier with variety. Having this lack of security can lead to creativity and innovation.
4. Your greatest Social Impact will come from working for a Charity
You don’t need to be working for Unicef to make a difference. Working for an Investment Bank and donating 10% to the right charities can have more impact. Bill Gates, a techie, has probably made more impact in medicine than 99% of doctors. 80,000 Hours explains this perfectly. For other ways to make an impact have a look at out our Recommended Social Organisations.
5. You need to love what you do
Most jobs have a lot of diverse tasks, you are unlikely to love all of them. It is probably better to focus on loving how you do it. Just have a look at how Fred did it.
6. You are now educated
You can never stop, we recommend you start a “private university”. The Education system is designed to demonstrate capability, not necessarily equip you for our world. Even if it did, the world is changing so rapidly you will need to evolve with it.
7. You should avoid stress
The right type of stress (challenge) is needed. Stress will test and build your resilience. Feeling stressed can be an indicator you care and will help focus you (get more satisfaction).
8. Employers want experience
Employers want to reduce the risk. Once someone hires you, they are stuck with you. This makes it risky. So they use experience as a bad proxy for ability and expertise. (Is it 10 years of experience or 10x 1 year of the same experience). Check your CV for anything that makes you look risky, anything that poses a question, even if it is answered later.
9. You should search for Work-Life Balance
Searching for work-life balance assumes there are two people, you are two people. But you are the same person and you take one “life” in to the other. Life Balance is probably a better concept.
10. Employers are looking to select the best candidates
It is generally a negative selection process or exclusion. In a negative selection process people focus on what they don’t like rather than what they do. They are looking to exclude candidates who look risky. Assume someone is only going to look at your CV/Application for 10-30 seconds. So less is usually better. Have you Created the best CV you can?
11. I have no contacts/network
This is an absolute cop out. There are 2-3 degrees of separation between you and most people you need (who actually need you to). Networks can be developed without being creepy, but it does take effort. Consider attending summits or conferences in the field you are looking in. Reach out to acquaintances and casually mention what you are looking for.
12. I can/can’t do whatever I want
While it is great to have a “Growth” mindset, the reality is you need career capital. You can focus on your strengths, but also work on your key development areas (probably best returns).
What other myths or misconceptions have you come across? – Include in comments below.