At every level of the institution, people let false beliefs unconsciously influence their career decisions, writes Thomas Magaldi, manager for career and professional development at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a member of the Graduate Career Consortium.
It's important to acknowledge these myths and their influence so you can move past them, Magaldi argues. He identifies three common superstitions.
Myth 1: Everyone else is happier than you
The truth is that everyone has anxiety about their career prospects or how they are doing in their current role, Magaldi writes. Magaldi shares an example from his own career, writing that he envied people who got a job right after graduation because he knew that obtaining a doctorate degree would be a long process and might delay financial security.
But Magaldi says he met one of the people he envied—and found that she envied people in his situation!
The lesson, Magaldi writes, is not to dwell on potential downsides of your career path just because other ones look more attractive. Instead, focus on aspects of your path that are most fulfilling to you.
Myth 2: Career exploration is a one-time thing
Magaldi writes that, early in his career, he realized he was only interested in a faculty role at a small liberal arts college because that's what his mentors did. Many in higher ed fall into this trap, he argues.
Magaldi encourages all professionals to regularly explore different career options—he recommends setting aside one hour per month. For example, he suggests looking at the careers of alumni on LinkedIn, setting up informational interviews, or attending career events.
Magaldi urges professionals not to eliminate any career paths—even those outside of your comfort zone—until you have spoken to someone in those careers.
Myth 3: You're stuck doing what you do now
No matter what your current role is or what you studied, you've picked up valuable skills, Magaldi argues. Some of these skills will be transferable anywhere, such as resilience and resourcefulness. Show future employers that you are willing to continue growing and learning.
If you don't feel confident about your value, Magaldi recommends trying something new. You could take online courses, read magazines related to fields you're interested in, or listen to podcasts (Magaldi, Inside Higher Ed, 6/5).
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