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The Worst Career Advice We've Ever Gotten
© eldadcarin / Adobe Stock

These days, it seems there’s no shortage of helpful career advice

At Fairygodboss, we’re working hard every day to hook you up with some game-changing tips about tricky topics like what to wear to an interview or how to pump at work. But sometimes it’s just as helpful to hear about what not to do. We all learn from our mistakes — and oftentimes, we fall into career mistakes precisely because we took some bad advice

So today, we’re giving you a roundup of career tips we suggest you ignoreAt Fairygodboss HQ, we’ve compiled some pretty terrible advice that we’ve gotten — some of which we’ve taken and some of which we haven’t. We hope that you’ll not only get in a good laugh, but will also learn to recognize that not all advice is worth following.


“At my first job out of college, there was a much older, much more senior man who made some pretty inappropriate comments. Another woman I worked with overheard him once and when he walked away she looked at me, saw my horrified face, and with a straight face, said, ‘Sometimes you will just have to deal with things like that.’ The next day she came over and apologized after being urged to do so by another male who had seen everything. Sometimes women don't get it, either!

On another note, my mom was horrified that I took an unpaid internship in college, and she advised against it. I took it anyway, and it ended up being a great experience and led to a job offer immediately after graduation." -Anni, Fairygodboss Director of Growth

* * * 

“Early in my career, I was always told that you should very cautious about interviewing for another job outside your company -- because if your current manager found out you were interviewing, you would be penalized. How crazy! Later I realized that you should always be out there interviewing, networking, and getting a sense of what your value in the market is. A good manager will understand and support that. And if yours doesn’t, you probably have the wrong manager.”  -Romy, Fairygodboss President and Co-founder

* * * 

“When I entered law school I was very sure it was the right thing to do, but after my first year and then my first legal internship, I started to get the feeling that practicing law was very different than studying law and learning about how law is interpreted and made (something I still find very interesting). Someone told me to ignore my doubts and just give law a chance, instead of applying to non-legal jobs right out of law school. It wasn’t the greatest advice, even though it sounds perfectly logical. Ultimately I only gave my legal career 6 months, but I did have to spend a couple summer months indoors studying for the New York Bar exam. Sometimes you have to just follow your gut instead of what looks like it makes sense on paper.” -Georgene, Fairygodboss CEO and Co-founder

* * * 

“The worst career advice I’ve ever gotten was to ‘be patient.’ As a female in mostly male-dominated industries, I have often found that I've been told to ‘just be patient’ for everything, from project timelines to promotions. In reality, I've found that it's in my most impatient moments that I've been able to contribute the most, progress the fastest, and energize those around me to do so, too!” -Karen, Fairygodboss Head of Customer Success

* * * 

“I once started at a job and very quickly realized it just wasn’t a good fit for me. I began brainstorming what my next move would be, but a lot of people told me I should wait at least a year before even considering finding a new job; they said otherwise it would look bad on my resume. I didn’t wait a year, and I loved my next job, where I stayed for nearly 5 years. No one’s ever looked at my resume and questioned why I only lasted 6 months in a previous position. I get that it doesn’t look good to change jobs constantly and that you always need to give a new job a chance. But if you’re feeling certain that you’ve wound up in a position that’s not good for you, don’t waste time trying to make it work. Move on to something you feel better about!” -Sam, Fairygodboss Editorial Director

* * *

Anyone who pauses to give you career advice probably has your best interest at heart, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily know what’s best for you or your professional development. If you’re questioning what someone’s telling you to do, you may be wise to listen to your instincts!


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