1 min read

Most career advice is terrible

Man, a lot of career advice is bad, especially for someone in their 20s who is just starting out.

We've all heard this advice, something like, "To find career success just hone in on that one thing you're better at than everyone else in the world, that one thing you're ✨uniquely put on this Earth✨ to do, and give it everything you have."

But I mean, statistically, aren't we all likely to be super average? We all suck at almost everything. So this advice that everyone is somehow uniquely genius in one thing is bullshit. Sure, people exist who really are phenomenal in one category or another, but they're the .1% and they already know what they're excellent at.

Or the Dilbert creator's career advice, which is slightly better. He admits that the above advice, "become the best at one specific thing" is really fucking hard, and suggests  "Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things." But this still sucks if you're young because you don't have experience and you're just like, totally average or even below average at basically everything. You haven't built up skills in anything, and you probably don't even know what you like or what you even could be good at if you tried it.

And you wonder, where is the advice for someone completely normal like me, who may suck at almost everything but who WANTS to make it? Who just needs a guidebook or some pointers that make sense?

I wonder that too.

I think the answer is something like an experimental approach. Where if you're starting your career (or starting anything new), you make a hypothesis and go test it in the easiest and quickest manner possible, and learn if you're right.

So for example, you think you might be killer at sales. Okay, what's the easiest and quickest way to test this? Maybe respond to some craigslist ad for a weekend gig that involves sales; maybe it's doing a promo gig at an event or selling popsicles at a festival or going door-to-door selling cable subscriptions. At the end of just 2 days, you'll have a much clearer answer of if sales is for you.

Why don't people give career advice like this? It just makes sense.