You can find a mountain of bad career advice online.
“Do what you love and the money will come.” So if I stuff my face with fancy cheese all day, money will come?
“Good things come to those who wait.” Cool, instead of researching and networking, I’ll wait for the job fairy to leave a fulfilling career under my pillow.
But there’s one piece of advice that’s even worse than those… dare I say it’s dangerous for career changers. Yet I’ve seen it over and over again on Reddit and Quora.
“Adjust your mindset.”
It’s usually in response to someone wondering if life is just a monotonous routine of working and sleeping. Or feeling lost about what they want to do. Or they know what they want, but their job is stealing their life.
Adjusting your mindset is not going to lead you to fulfilling work. It can’t help you learn how to work less and enjoy life more. All it does is make you ok with mediocrity.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times where you should adjust your mindset. But in this context, it’s the worst advice you could ever give.
Why It’s Dangerous Advice
This advice really means, “Settle for mediocrity. I don’t know how to get out of my rut, so it’s impossible.”
It tells you to maintain the status quo and give up any thoughts of improving your situation. Even when you know it doesn’t feel right.
I used to be a pharmacist, and honestly I hated the job. But I was taught that an adult doesn’t complain. That this is just how life is.
So I sucked it up for a while, thinking I’d eventually find some enjoyment.
My mental health took a downward turn. The burnout was real and it started to affect other areas of my life [LINK].
What if I never made a change?
What if I just “adjusted my mindset” and stayed in my rut until I was 65?
I feel a shooting pain in my fucking stomach when I think about that possibility. But thankfully, that’s not what happened.
I wanted more freedom, so I learned how to work from anywhere in the world to make myself more mobile. I wanted to make a bigger impact, so I looked into companies with a mission I can get behind.
Sure, there were hard, uncomfortable parts to the journey. But ever since I entered my new role, I’ve never felt as low or as lost as I did back then.
So there you have it, the worst piece of advice for career changers I’ve ever seen and why it’s the worst. But what should you do instead?
Take a little bit of action everyday
Instead of finding ways to rationalize a job that sucks the soul out of you… take one small piece of action everyday to change it.
That sounds overly simplistic. Of course you have to take action to change something! But the key here is a small piece of action.
A lot of people stay in their rut because it’s easier to justify your current situation than to change. Change can be overwhelming when you think of where you are now vs. where you want to be.
A scrawny person is not going to become Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a month. They’ll have to start with a few pushups, a few reps at the gym.
That’s something they can control, something they can do right now.
You should do the same. If you’re totally lost, don’t worry about logistics like your resume right now.
Figure out what kind of impact you want to make on an industry, for yourself, or for a cause. Start by writing it down, it’ll guide your decisions tomorrow and beyond.
Nothing starts until you take action, even small action, today.
I’d love to know:
What are you going to do today to help you get where you want to be?
If you’re not sure, start with the Career Change Cheat Sheet.