June 17th, 2016

Updating 4 Old-School Pieces of Father-Figure Career Advice

Dads and father figures. They don’t lack advice, and certainly enjoy doling it out. Some of it’s incredibly helpful to our careers and personal lives, and some of it’s, well… not. Either way, to celebrate Father’s Day, let’s review a few old-school pieces of father-figure career advice and update them for 2016.

“Get a job at a great company and work there until retirement.” 

Members of the Traditionalist and Baby Boomer generation often stayed, or stay, with a single company for their entire careers. Changing jobs every few years was considered a big negative. Nowadays, in some cases, sticking with a company for years and years could stifle your progress and make you complacent.

Fatherly career advice via @ajilon: http://ajilon.co/1tu7X3h #FathersDay #Dadvice

You could also miss out on developing new skills, expanding your network and earning better benefits and pay. It’s proven; workers who stick with their jobs for more than two years could make up to 50% less than job-hoppers! Just keep in mind that every situation is unique—try to find the perfect balance.

Updated advice? Fast Company recommends changing jobs about every three years in order to optimize your career. And remember, changing jobs doesn’t necessarily mean changing employers.

“Use student loans. You’re investing you in your future.”

Well, again, everyone has a different set of circumstances, especially financially. But in most cases, this advice could speed up your slide down a slippery slope. It may have worked when it cost a lot less to attend college and graduates were all but guaranteed jobs with solid salaries. Fast forward to today though, when college tuition is rising faster than inflation. There are members of the workforce from several generations that are still paying off student loans.

Updated advice? Don’t borrow more than your estimated first year’s salary. Yes, borrowing more could work out, but it’s usually not worth the risk.

“Don’t ever talk about money.”

If your dad’s advice stems from Uncle Bob bragging about how much he paid for a new sports car, he’s probably right, but talking about money at work shouldn’t be off limits—it should just be approached tactfully. Keeping information about salaries and bonuses secret could damage professionals that face stereotypes about age, gender or race. A complete lack of wage transparency could do nothing but damage your bank account if you’re the one that’s underpaid.

Updated advice? Analyze your job responsibilities, conduct salary research and ensure you’re fairly compensated. If you have legit concerns, talk to your boss. Approach them when the timing’s right and make your case. If you land a counteroffer, consider it carefully.

“Just stick to what you do best and work hard.”

 OK, that makes perfect sense on the surface, but let’s dig deeper. Today, with so many new technologies and trends across all industries, companies expect their workers to adapt—to learn new skills, refine their knowledge of new tech and develop whatever soft skills will benefit the business. In many jobs, figuring out your strengths and working hard are obviously imperative, but there’s so much more to it than that.

Updated advice? Yeah, work hard, but also work smart. Expand your skills by mixing and mingling with the right people and attending conferences and seminars. And don’t be shy about showcasing your new skills, without sacrificing your core responsibilities. Bosses love ambition.

There’s no question about one thing: great father figures always mean well.

Sometimes, their advice just needs a bit of updating. Today’s work environment is simply more dynamic and requires a revised approach if you want to climb the ladder. This Father’s Day, let’s honor the role-model males in our lives by building on—and tweaking—the career foundations they gave us.

For better career advice, visit ajilon.com.

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