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What's the worst job advice you received early in your career?

What's the worst job advice you received early in your career?

We're giving away free coffee for bad advice. Yup, you heard right.

What was the worst job advice you received early in your career (or at the start of a career change)?

The top 5 most-liked replies will each receive a $20 Starbucks card to help them power through their work day. Winners will be selected on June 8.

Here's one I heard: to be a developer, you have to be a rockstar coding prodigy wrapped in a hoodie. Kinda like Mr Robot:

mr robot.gif

Our developer evangelist andrew.harris said impostor syndrome is pretty common for junior coders, but he was encouraging"We all encounter impostor syndrome as young developer. But we got in this game to solve a problem and your idea is just as good as the next dev if you can prove it will work."

What's the worst advice you heard when you were trying to start your career? 


Worst advice I'd been exposed to was this: 

Work longer hours and burn the midnight oil as much as you can; this will make the product top notch from the extra effort.

As a young developer, we're given the impression that in order to be successful, our salt is derived from putting in as much extra time as possible.  We had a chart in the office at one point, were the departmental "priorities" were laid out for us in order:

  1. God
  2. [Manager's name redacted]
  3. Family
  4. Everything else

As weisenheiming as it was, to a younger group of developers it was seen as something a bit canon. After some time, it becomes the de-facto for the group, and unfortunately, the outcome of such "dedication" ends up taking its toll on both the mental and physical well-being of the practitioner. 

In short, don't burn yourself out just to fit in to a group that has been lashed into thinking "more is better". We're "knowledge workers", not laborers - our brains need downtime to recuperate and retain the ability for learning. If your management team thinks otherwise, find another team (or employer) which respects and rewards a healthy mind.

If you work really hard and do a good job it will get noticed and promotions will follow

Now, I'm not saying don't work hard and do a good job - that's obviously good advice - but if you want a raise/promotion you've gotta ask for it. And you've gotta constantly promote yourself to show you're doing a good job *and* that what you're doing provides value.

There's a lot of thankless work in programming. A lot of stuff that's extremely valuable but is totally invisible to users/management. It's up to you to promote yourself. Good work can easily go unnoticed.

I am not sure if these are the worst but surely not the best anyone should keep hearing from his friends and family :

1. Just settle for one career path and do not keep thinking of a change  or switch:

    Every individual should grow but not necessarily only in their area of their educational degree or only in the initial job they took after college. Every now and then they have to keep moving towards a bigger challenge in life to keep them engaged. Switching jobs or changing career paths within the company for the right reasons is never a wrong thing to do according to me. 

2. Don't fear rejection :

   Sometimes a little fear is good and appreciated i feel . It keeps oneself ticking and always thinking of how to solve the problem at hand.We should listen to everyone but most importantly we should listen to ourselves as well. Our personal experiences teach us most than others experience being shared with us. 

3. Be Open to input always: 

Considering this a common advice given these days, you don't have to take everyone's advice every time. But yes spend some time listen to it as it may not be applicable this time but will help someday with some other problem. 

Some bad advice I received early in my career was to “Follow the money,” because everything else is a waste of time. What did this entail?

  1. To follow a career path that paid the most. Regardless of what you think you want to do, focus on the money. 
    •  Don’t take into account fulfillment, or passion, just go make money.
  2. To only focus on having conversations with people with a higher salary than you, and try to influence them.
    • Forget networking with your co-workers, only speak to executives
  3. You need to promote success. The “Fake it till you make it” stance by showing you is successful.
    • Forget crippling debt, you will be able to pay it off later

This might be similar to the ABC of, Glengarry Glen Ross… to me it seemed to be a lot of wasted opportunity to learn and advance my skillset.

On the other hand I have received equally awful advice of a different spectrum, which was as follows:

  1. “It’s just a job”
    • Are there any rules that say it can’t get better?
  2. “Don’t ask questions,” or “Don’t rock the boat”
    • This mentality is why “It’s just a job”
  3. “Just come in and do your 8, and go home.”
    • Only further perpetuates why “Its just a job”

I personally prefer to question everything and think critically, I also enjoy a good challenge in my work. The status quo of just punching a clock and warming a desk might work for some; or the “chase the dollar” dream for others. This is not what has worked for me.

My advice would be, take every piece of career advice with a grain of salt, and find what works best for you.

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