7 Career Myths

October 03, 2017

When considering the future of work, parents may need to let go of some of the myths they’re carrying around and passing on to their children. Here are seven for you to think about!

Myth 1 – If you choose a larger, and therefore more stable company you will have a secure future. No job is for life, no company can be considered totally stable and everyone is expendable. Companies are constantly reinventing themselves, and many jobs have completely disappeared and will continue to do so. In a recent survey of 1,246 young people aged 5 – 18 commissioned by engineering UK, one-fifth of youngsters said they expect to be friends with a robot in the future. 8% say they already talk to voice-activated assistants such as ”Siri”, like a friend. YouTube is the “go-to” for children. Technology, in all its forms, is moving apace and is now an international driver of change.  Organisations have to get to grips with new ways of doing business, and future employment will be affected - Amazon is a prime example!

Myth 2 – Parents/teachers/friends know best. Nobody has all the answers.  Our youngsters can be helped to discover the questions they need to ask and, with your help, do the exploration that will lead to answers about themselves and their potential future. Many more people will become actively involved in the exploration that your child will undertake in the search for a job bearing in mind that employers and agencies are always looking for talent. It is important that young people are discerning and can think for themselves about the many options becoming available as they start their career journey.

Myth 3 – There is one perfect job for you.   Rarely is a job absolutely right, all the time. Whilst it used to be the case that jobs were relatively static with fixed skill requirements, jobs are now constantly reconfigured as organisations transform themselves to find efficiencies, embrace new technologies and pursue the benefits of flexible working practices. There is a growing trend towards self-employment, and many people are choosing to become freelancers, consultants, and other independent contractors. 15% of all those in work in the UK are self-employed.  According to a Deloitte study of millennials, 67% say they expect to set up their own business. The “gig economy” looks as if it’s here to stay (at least for some time) as people seek a better work/life balance and a portfolio approach to income streams to help fund their lives.

Myth 4 – A job that pays well will make you happy.  The pursuit of money often leads people to stray down a career path that doesn’t suit them. There is nothing worse than becoming trapped in a job you hate because you need the money. Money is important, and not having enough causes anxiety and stress.  However, spending many years feeling miserable in a job you dislike can also affect your health and wellbeing. As parents, we all want our children to be happy, financially secure and standing on their own two feet, but we don’t want them to be so money conscious that they flee from a job they love.

Myth 5 – Other people are in charge.  Organisations often ask why employees don’t show more initiative. This shouldn’t be a surprise, however, since from an early age, children are generally expected to obey the rules, please their parents and teachers and be compliant. Current trends show that employees in the future will be required to be agile, creative and adaptable, able to manage major technological changes that will affect their work. This means that employees must learn to manage their career and constantly reskill themselves in response to the demands placed on them.  The challenge for parents and schools is to empower children to take responsibility for their own choices, acknowledging that determining their own future is a profound turning point for young people.

Myth 6 – The right credentials and qualifications, and a good CV, will get you the job. This will certainly help, but ultimately nothing makes someone more attractive as an employee than knowledge of themselves.  Quality research into how their individual skills and strengths align with the job they seek, along with natural enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the role being offered is very important.  The alternative – compiling a well-written CV that accurately reflects their skills and experience, mailing it to all and sundry and then sitting back and waiting - is not a good strategy, particularly with little or no work history. In the real world of job search and career management, being actively pursued and then tapped on the shoulder is extremely rare. Your CV must be full of achievements that confirm you as the right person for the job or promotion, not a chronicle of your life with which to introduce yourself.

Myth 7 – Work hard and you will be rewarded.  Not always! A career strategy and tactical use of your strengths is a much better plan. Life is not always fair; the reward is usually based upon how much an employer values your work, and not necessarily a by-product of how much you think your contribution is worth. For example, some workforce studies have shown that people who proactively network with other work colleagues across the organisation and their client base, do better in terms of promotion and salary than those who are glued to their desks all day.

Why not talk about these myths with your children or other parent/s? There could others that you can think of – it’s a great way to start a conversation!