People in Your Dream Career Might Discourage You
If you're thinking
of entering a new career, you have probably heard that
you should talk to people currently working in that
There are a number of ways to get the scoop from industry
insiders about how to break into their career including:
joining professional associations, attending networking
events, going on information interviews, or asking for
advice on Internet message boards.
However, if you are hoping that everyone who works in
the industry will welcome you and be willing to help,
you may be disappointed. Instead of getting fabulous
career advice or job leads, you may be left feeling
discouraged about the career and thinking you should
consider doing something else with your life.
Think again. If you are left feeling less than excited
about a career after speaking with someone working in
it, you are probably talking to the wrong person. Here
are some reasons an industry expert may not be helpful
want to feel special
Many successful people
got where they are today because of their talent and
effort. When asked how they did it, however, their story
may sound like the one that parents used to tell about
walking in the snow for miles every day to get to school
and home again - uphill both ways. In other words, they
make it sound much more difficult than it is. And while
it's possible it really was difficult for someone else,
you might have what it takes to achieve success in your
chosen career more quickly.
Few people will tell others that it's easy to break
into their career or that almost anyone with determination
can do it, even if that's true. By saying that it takes
a rare ability or many years to succeed in a career,
someone who is already working in that career validates
themself and what they have achieved.
Keep this in mind when speaking with someone working
in the career, and don't say you hope to get a job like
theirs right away. If you acknowledge their success
and show respect for their achievements they may be
more willing to assist you.
Someone who is struggling in a career may have spent
years in the profession without achieving the kind of
success they had hoped for. This type of person may
try to "help" you by pointing out the "reality" of the
profession you want to work in. They will tell you that
at least 80% of those who enter their field will drop
out or never achieve great success.
But that's true for the vast majority of careers. In
a recent issue of Harvard Magazine, it was reported
that the average person will have six different careers
in their lifetime, which means the average person will
leave five careers. Why let that stop you from following
your heart now?
Another reality is that virtually every career - from
acting to real estate - has only a few people who reach
the top. It is insulting for someone to assume you will
not be one of the successful ones. However, someone
who has not made it to the top themself after years
of struggle simply may not be able to see how a newcomer
If you can overlook their discouraging attitude, this
person may actually be able to help by filling you in
on industry jargon, types of employers, and other career
information. Just don't waste your time trying to convince
them that you will succeed where they haven't.
have a scarcity consciousness
People with a scarcity consciousness believe there will
be less work for them if more people enter the profession.
They see newcomers as potential competitors and will
do what they can to discourage others from entering
The moderator of a message board for one career said
in response to our recent posting that if everyone who
wanted to enter the career actually did so, "it would
stop being a fab job for everyone else as there would
be very few who could ever make a living doing this."
Fortunately, there are people in every industry who
have not only achieved success, but are willing to help
others do the same. As Mark Twain said, "Keep away from
people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people
always do that, but the really great ones make you feel
that you, too, can become great."
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