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3 Pieces of Career Advice Your Guidance Counselor Never Gave You

Topics: Career Advice
career advice

Money doesn’t buy happiness. Don’t job hop. And above all else, follow your dreams.

Except forget all that. It turns out, some of the career maxims we hold dear aren’t true anymore … if they ever were.

Earlier this year, Redditor MichaelLifeLessons posted this question:

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever heard?

The top answers were a reminder that good career advice sometimes contradicts the accepted wisdom.

1. “Money does buy happiness.” – CtrlDaltDelete

There are loads of studies out there that show that a big paycheck won’t make you happy – beyond a certain point. That point, according to a 2010 study, is somewhere north of $75,000 per year. (Your mileage may vary, depending on the cost of living in your area.)

However, while money might not buy happiness, it can stave off misery. Not only do you need enough to live on, but you also need to be paid fairly for your experience, skills and job title. Take our survey and find out if you’re earning what you should – or if your current meh feelings about your job are at least partly inspired by low pay.

2. “Quitting is underrated.” – theycallmebeezer

For years, the popular wisdom was that job hopping was a career-killer. No more. While it’s true that changing jobs every year for several years in a row will give hiring managers pause, most employers understand that a little movement is necessary if workers want to build a career. Not to mention that in some fields, it’s pretty hard to get a decent raise these days unless you make moves. (For exceptions to that rule, see this explanation of which jobs benefit from sticking around.)

Beyond that, sometimes your employment situation is untenable because of a boss or a bad fit, and it’s time to go. Quitting isn’t evil, especially if you have a new job lined up or a solid plan in place.

3. “Don’t follow your passion.” – Ghlyde, quoting Mike Rowe

Wait, what? OK, bear with me. Following your passion can lead to a successful career, it’s true … if your passion involves becoming highly skilled at something that the market will pay for.

Otherwise, it’s possible to work hard and get deeply in student-loan debt to prepare for a career where there are no opportunities and/or extremely low pay. In that case, you might have been better off preparing for a career that paid enough to live on and left you enough time to follow your passions after work. It all depends on what your interests are.

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OK, your turn: what’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? We want to hear from you! Share your tips in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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