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Who to Turn to for Career Advice

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Sometimes making decisions in what direction to take your career can be tricky. Should you be vying for this promotion or that? Should you be attempting a transfer to XYZ company? When you have doubts about what to do next, it is natural to voice them to your friends or family. But beware the sort of advice they give. Too often, people speak off the cuff, and your coworkers who are in the same position as you might vent their ire at career frustrations, inspiring you, perhaps, to do the same, rather than maintaining an attitude of aspiration. Who then should you turn to for advice?

Some good advice is available on the internet. The best advice will come from those you respect the most, those you most would like to be. This is especially useful when such people are similar to you, have gone through similar career tracks. Having gone through the same, they will know the pitfalls, know the frustrations, know the plateaus and cul de sacs.

If a man attempted to follow his dreams, to be, say, a great musician, and gave up, instead, after failing to land a gig, this is not the person to turn to when looking for inspiration how to make it big in the music industry. He can tell you of his regrets, he can give you his cynical notions about how nobody can make it in the music industry, but in the end, what is this going to do for you?

Instead, talk to those who have succeeded in what they do. Use your networking skills to find others in your profession who have made it. Even if they are merely “the lucky ones,” they nevertheless will have a positive verve that might rub off on you, and encourage you to persist, despite the dissuasion we all face in our jobs and in our lives. By talking to successes, or people we admire, to those who have made it in their industry, we will be hearing about how to make it work, not hearing excuses about why it didn’t work.

Certainly it helps to feel sorry for yourself a bit, and lament with a friend who suffers likewise. Such talk is in fact a sort of therapy, and makes it all bearable. But don’t let such talk turn you complacent, and make you think, “this is as good as it gets, I shouldn’t try for anything beyond this.”

Talking with those who succeed at what they do might also give you a surprising lesson: you don’t want that sort of success. By hearing what it cost them, and what they gained, you may realize that “success” for you means something else. Nothing makes us stop wanting something more than getting it. We might realize that we didn’t want this after all.

Either way, taking advice from those who have succeeded will be most informative in informing you on how to make your career goals, both the immediate and the long term. Don’t listen to the bitter, the cynical, the spent, and bested; listen to those who strived and won. That, after all, is where you want to be. Getting the right attitude will get you there.


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Who to Turn to for Career Advice by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes