Self Help - Some Common Career Myths


Myth: Everyone must climb the ladder of success, even if it means doing things that do not interest me.
Truth: Success is subjective. Each individual creates his or her own definition of success. However, happiness or satisfaction is often part of the definition of success, and it is difficult to be happy in a career that is not interesting. If a career is uninteresting to you, will you really be happy?

Myth: If I say no to what others expect of me, I am insensitive and unlovable.
Truth: You have the right to say no to others' expectations of you and make your own career choices.

Myth: The choice of a major or occupation is irreversible. Once I make a decision, I cannot change my mind.
Truth: Most people (75%) change their majors at least once during college.

Myth: There is one right career for me.
Truth: There are probably several careers that match your interests, abilities, personality, and values. Over half of college graduates obtain employment in areas unrelated to their college major.

Myth: Nobody else is undecided. I am all alone.
Truth: If you are undecided on a career choice, you are not alone. This is a big decision that requires time and exploration.

Myth: Somewhere there is a test that can tell me what to do with the rest of my life.
Truth: No test can tell you what career path to follow. Testing provides some of the information that aids in career planning, but not all of it.

Myth: Others know what is best for me.
Truth: Only you know what is best for you. What others say is best for you is often a reflection of their value system, not yours.

Myth: Somewhere there is an expert who can tell me what to do.
Truth: You are the only expert on yourself. Career counselors can help you in the planning process, but only you can determine the best choice for you.

Myth: If things do not go the way I expect or plan, it means that I am a failure.
Truth: Life is full of unexpected events and set-backs. This doesn't mean you are a failure--only human. Often what we view as setbacks are opportunities in disguise.

Myth: People are either successful or complete failures in their career pursuits. There is no in-between.
Truth: Success can be viewed as an on-going process, whereas failure is a single event or experience. In general, the more successful the person, the more failures he or she has experienced.

Myth: If I get away from the pressure to decide, perhaps by taking a year or two off from college, I will be able to make a better decision.
Truth: Making a good decision requires time and research, but not necessarily time away from college. And, the passing of time by itself will not make the decision any easier to reach. However, taking away the pressure for an immediate decision is wise. Allow yourself a semester to take several exploratory classes, conduct information interviews, and gather the information you need to reach a satisfying decision.

Myth: I must choose between having a career and having a family.
Truth: You can have both a family and career; it will require careful planning, setting priorities, time management, and flexibility.

Myth: It is not OK to be undecided because being undecided is a sign of immaturity.
Truth: Being undecided is normal. Interests do not become firmly established until you are in your mid-20s. Well-defined career interests and direction have more to do with experience than maturity level.

Myth: Life is always fair.
Truth: Unfortunately, life is not always fair. Dealing with the unfairness of life can teach you the skills necessary to deal with adversity, which is part of the human condition.

Myth: Life is always unfair.
Truth: Fortunately, life sometimes is fair. Generally, effort determines outcome, and you have a reasonable amount of control over your career success.