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Scholarly Advice vs Life Experience
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Just for fun, now that commencement (graduation) season is past...

What's the worst advice you've heard given to new graduates?
What are students told that has been disproved by your professional experience?
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I only share my tasks, challenges, successes, etc.
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To be honest, I've never hard bad advice. I would say however, that some of the advice is idealistic and not conveyed with the necessary dose of reality.

Take for example the advice that you can do whatever you want. While that is true, some paths are more difficult than others.

I would not want to dissuade anyone from doing theater or TV. I would point out, however, that ithis ndustry is based largely on discrimination: you have to fit the director's vision of the role, regardless of your skills and experience.
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Do what you're passionate about and you will be successful.

While there is some truth to this statement, it lacks important context.

I guess this is true if there are multiple definitions of success, or it doesn't matter how long it takes, but if you want to be able to provide at least the basics for yourself, and possibly a family, the things you are passionate about are not guaranteed to get you there.

Ignoring, or not being aware of, these factors can lead people to frustration and failure.

I'm passionate about blacksmithing and knife making, but I'm not going to quit my day job to pursue a career making custom knives. Maybe in 10 years I'll make good enough knives, that people want to buy, to be able to start coming up with an exit strategy from my career in project management and transition into knife making. Success in this endeavor will take time, effort, and planning to be successful as a knife maker. In the meantime, I feel I am successful as a project manager, but this is something I've been doing for 16 years, and I've had to make some sacrifices to be doing the work I am, today.

I guess an important distinction is that I've become passionate about project management and change management. Twenty years ago, I was not aware that either was a career option.
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The worst advice is probably that "it will all work out at the end" You must apply real hard work to life both in your professional career and personal life because their no magic bullet that will do all the work for you.
Also applying theory to practise is a big learning gap itself. Student must learn to question the rules that govern various fields of science as they also constraining for their own development. Disproving theories is as much a part of learning as proving them.
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I agree with the sentiments added by the others. I also would like to expand on it a bit to the beginning of college - I wish there was more guidance given to students about the commercial value of their respective subject of study. Too many students go to a four year college with majors such as Violin; German; Psychology; etc., without a realistic view of the job opportunities that will become available by the time they graduate. I imagine they have been told advice more along the lines of "follow your heart", "do what you're passionate about". While I love that in principle, I think we need to institute a mandatory course to teach students a bit of the cold hard truth of how marketable their skills will be, without higher education beyond a bachelor level degree.
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1 reply by Eric Simms
Jul 12, 2019 5:34 AM
Eric Simms
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I agree that students need to learn about the marketability of their skills, but I can't imagine schools formally teaching this. If they did, I suspect most students would avoid pursuing liberal arts degrees. This would cut many schools' income and the lack of liberal arts in society would soon create major problems.
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Agree with Stephane.
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Jul 11, 2019 5:59 PM
Replying to Erika Brosz
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I agree with the sentiments added by the others. I also would like to expand on it a bit to the beginning of college - I wish there was more guidance given to students about the commercial value of their respective subject of study. Too many students go to a four year college with majors such as Violin; German; Psychology; etc., without a realistic view of the job opportunities that will become available by the time they graduate. I imagine they have been told advice more along the lines of "follow your heart", "do what you're passionate about". While I love that in principle, I think we need to institute a mandatory course to teach students a bit of the cold hard truth of how marketable their skills will be, without higher education beyond a bachelor level degree.
I agree that students need to learn about the marketability of their skills, but I can't imagine schools formally teaching this. If they did, I suspect most students would avoid pursuing liberal arts degrees. This would cut many schools' income and the lack of liberal arts in society would soon create major problems.
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The worst advice I was given, and it's still given today, is find your passion and work in that field. I learned early on that that which you enjoy may not be a good career, may not remain enjoyable, and may not provide the lifestyle you desire. I spent a year in the field I thought I'd enjoy and discovered that all the older men were angry. I didn't want to be angry, so I changed careers.

It is far better to find things you enjoy in the career you have.

Kids today are lucky because they have the ability to eavesdrop on careers with the "reality" shows. I now know why crab is so expensive and that I couldn't do the job those guys on "Deadliest Catch" do. "Dirty Jobs" was a fantastic show.
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1 reply by Wade Harshman
Jul 30, 2019 8:56 AM
Wade Harshman
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Bob, I've given similar "anti-advice." The flip side to following your passion is that the thing you love becomes a chore. In my case, I was once a musician, and I got to the point where I was making money but absolutely hated music. For me, it was a better hobby than a career. Individuals will have different experiences, obviously, but it's something people need to consider when they decide to follow their passion.
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Jul 29, 2019 3:19 PM
Replying to Bob Thomas
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The worst advice I was given, and it's still given today, is find your passion and work in that field. I learned early on that that which you enjoy may not be a good career, may not remain enjoyable, and may not provide the lifestyle you desire. I spent a year in the field I thought I'd enjoy and discovered that all the older men were angry. I didn't want to be angry, so I changed careers.

It is far better to find things you enjoy in the career you have.

Kids today are lucky because they have the ability to eavesdrop on careers with the "reality" shows. I now know why crab is so expensive and that I couldn't do the job those guys on "Deadliest Catch" do. "Dirty Jobs" was a fantastic show.
Bob, I've given similar "anti-advice." The flip side to following your passion is that the thing you love becomes a chore. In my case, I was once a musician, and I got to the point where I was making money but absolutely hated music. For me, it was a better hobby than a career. Individuals will have different experiences, obviously, but it's something people need to consider when they decide to follow their passion.
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1 reply by Bob Thomas
Jul 30, 2019 9:55 AM
Bob Thomas
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Wade - Good for you, in giving the "anti-advice". It's a terrible thing for a young person to become disillusioned with life early on because they followed bad advice. And there's lots of bad advice out there.

If I'd followed that bad advice, my life would be very different, and not where I wanted to be. Instead, I learned to enjoy what I could in each job, and take advantage of opportunities that arose. I've gone places and done things that I could never have imagined if I hadn't taken the opportunities that were presented.
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Jul 30, 2019 8:56 AM
Replying to Wade Harshman
...
Bob, I've given similar "anti-advice." The flip side to following your passion is that the thing you love becomes a chore. In my case, I was once a musician, and I got to the point where I was making money but absolutely hated music. For me, it was a better hobby than a career. Individuals will have different experiences, obviously, but it's something people need to consider when they decide to follow their passion.
Wade - Good for you, in giving the "anti-advice". It's a terrible thing for a young person to become disillusioned with life early on because they followed bad advice. And there's lots of bad advice out there.

If I'd followed that bad advice, my life would be very different, and not where I wanted to be. Instead, I learned to enjoy what I could in each job, and take advantage of opportunities that arose. I've gone places and done things that I could never have imagined if I hadn't taken the opportunities that were presented.

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