5 Common Career Myths

We all grow up believing certain myths about our career. These beliefs are based on what we observed growing up in our family of origin. These myths block us from finding true career success and prevent us from making positive changes.

Career myth #1: The more money I make, the happier I will be.

Two years ago Jason came to see me. He had gone to law school to “make money and not give his own children a tough life like he had with his father being a janitor.” Jason hated law school and hated practicing law even more.

People who make a lot of money are not necessarily happy. Finding a career that is satisfying is more important. Knowing your abilities, skills, values and interests will help you make a good choice. When you find a career you like, you are inwardly satisfied, want to do better and are more motivated.

Career myth #2: There is a perfect job out there.

There is no such thing as a perfect job! You have to decide on the three most important job attributes among many such as a good salary, job satisfaction, Intellectual stimulation, great boss, lots of vacation time, great hours, etc., and settle on the rest.

Career myth #3: The better the school I go to the more successful I will be.

Going to a prestigious school like Yale will give you contacts and a good job initially, but long-term career success still relies on your performance. Take for example a woman I coached last year who went to a local state college and received a degree in marketing. Her strong determination to make a difference, develop contacts and arrange fabulous internships landed her a great job with an outstanding company…and her student loans are nowhere near that of a Yale graduate.

Career myth #4: If I go back to school for more education after my bachelors degree, I will find a great job.

Nowadays, there is no guarantee that further education will assure you a job. Most self-made millionaires or entrepreneurs (Bill Gates for example) claim they started their businesses because of their passions, not because of a degree.

If you do decide to return to school, think about the following questions:

  • Does the degree match my values and passions?
  • Will the degree offer me positions that I could see myself working in for the next 10-20 years?
  • Does the economy have a need for my new skills or knowledge gained?

Career myth #5: If I go into a profession such as social work or counseling, I will likely be poor for the rest of my life.

When you are motivated to work hard and you are passionate about your mission, you will most likely have a lot of self satisfaction. This path can serve as a stepping stone to other careers in the same field with higher pay. Often, people who work at higher-paying jobs with high social status feel imprisoned in hierarchical bureaucracies.

Finding a suitable career or making a career change is a challenge and takes work. Persistence and motivation can never be stressed enough to move forward in life.

Anne Gottlieb Angerman, MSW, is a career coach in Denver who specializes in helping people make a career change and find their passions. She has worked extensively with adults who want to find their niche, which she does through a combination of assessments and coaching. She can be reached at anne@anneangerman.com or 720-489-9409.