A lot of frequently disseminated knowledge surrounding job hunting and career maintenance has been passed down by our parents. While I’m sure they all knew what they were doing back in their heyday (looking at you, dad), a lot of their information can be outdated. The job market and the global economy have changed drastically even in just the last decade. Following the advice of those who came before you is not always beneficial. In fact, it may even be hindering progress in your career. Yikes!
Fortunately, you can dispel these myths today and make real changes. For those of you feeling stuck, we have all been there at one point or another. Here are 3 myths that might be holding you back.
Myth: Frequently Changing Jobs Is Detrimental
One of the most challenging myths to dispel is the idea that unwavering loyalty to a company will yield returns in the long run. That may have been true in the past, when people could expect to be employed by the same company for the duration of their working life.
But companies in today’s market operate very differently. An increasingly globalized economy has opened the workforce, and employers are no longer willing to settle for job contenders that don’t have the exact right cocktail of hard and soft skills they need. Further, contenders armed with a wide professional network will see better outcomes in the long run.
To be sure, a new job every six months is a huge red flag for potential employers. However, you should not let the fear of seeming “flakey” keep you from making progress in your career and as a professional. As long as you can clearly and professionally articulate your reasoning for switching jobs, you will not endanger your status with future potential employers.
Myth: At-Will Employment Gives Your Employer All the Power
At-will employment gives both employers and employees the power to terminate employment at (almost) any time. However, there are certain laws that employers must adhere to in the termination of an employee’s contract.
Your employer cannot fire you for belonging to a protected class or group, or because you objected to being forced to work through breaks or not being paid for work completed. Injuries, unpaid overtime, and discrimination are just a few of the reasons that employers are prohibited from firing you for.
If you feel as though your employer has violated the law, you have the power to protect yourself before you are wrongfully terminated. You can raise concerns with your local or state employment agency, for instance. While you might not feel the need to exercise your right to terminate the mutual employment contract, knowing that your employer does not possess all of the power will hopefully raise your confidence so that you can make informed career choices for yourself.
After being fired, you might even be entitled to money if you believe your employment was terminated for an illegal reason. If you are a protected class or you were fired for raising concerns about working conditions, you should consult with a qualified wrongful termination lawyer.
Myth: You Only Need to Reevaluate Every 5 Years
Any company worth its salt is evaluating its needs on a yearly or even quarterly basis. So why shouldn’t you? You have a responsibility to your company and, more importantly, to work as productively as possible at the top of your ability.
If you are being underutilized or undervalued at your current job, you are doing a HUGE disservice to yourself, your employers, and your coworkers. Nobody is benefiting when you are just treading water.
But taking an honest and critical look at your career gets increasingly difficult if you are not doing it regularly. It is hard to have a realistic perspective on something that happened five years ago versus five months ago. You should be regularly taking note of new skills—both hard and soft. This is done for your current benefit, as well as your future self, who might need that up to date resume in a pinch.
Further, you need to be able to sell yourself if you want to move up in the world. Regardless of whether it is for a new position or for a promotion within your own company, you should
So do yourself a favor: every year, take a look at your resume and see what you can add, change, remove, etc. And if you are not able to make any changes to your skills every year, you are in a rut. It’s time to make a change.