Career Advice Tip: Be Wary of “You Should…” Statements


How often have you heard someone dispense career advice that begins with “You should…”?

This may be helpful if you are struggling with ….

How to fix a broken toilet? “You should probably call a plumber, you’re not very handy.”

You need ideas for your nephew’s birthday present. “You should get him a gift card that way he can buy what he wants.”

How to remove gum from the bottom of your shoe? “You should buy a new pair, it’s easier than trying to use peanut butter.”

This directive career advice may not be as helpful if you are in the middle of a job search or contemplating a career change.

Recently, I was speaking with a client who is going through an extensive job search. He is highly marketable and sought after for both full-time employment and consulting assignments. However, he is constantly confronted by former colleagues, family members, friends, recruiters offering “you should” advice.

“You should take this job, what if another one doesn’t come along”

“You should move to a different city with a lower cost of living”

“You should start your own consulting business. You’re too old, companies only hire young people”

The onslaught of this directive advice had him spiraling and questioning his decision-making abilities. As we discussed and evaluated his various options we brought the focus back to his belief system and the career and life he wants. It was time for him to listen to himself. This shift in thinking and behaving is a departure from the past when he relied heavily on the counsel of others when making career choices.

Making career decisions requires grounded objective thinking and a clear sense of what you want to do and why. When confronted with directive career advice from others, apply caution. Consider the source, their current situation and motives. Are they projecting their situation on you? Are they trying to sway you for their benefit? Is the basis for their advice speculative and subjective? There’s a difference between, “you should…” and “have you thought about…”

The best career advice comes from those who spend the time to understand your situation and only want what’s best for you. Use the Amplify Guy Workbook as a great way to get grounded in discovering what’s best for you.