I always assumed that people who write advice are experts, perfect, or (even worse) hypocrites. But lately in my career my definition of “expert” is constantly challenged, particularly when it comes to advice. In a recent career development seminar I attended, the main presenter was probably in his late 50’s, and had only two jobs in his entire life. No, I didn’t say two kids, I said two jobs. I don’t think I even have a friend who’s only had two jobs at the ripe age of 30. I have already had five, and am gearing up for #6 this fall. While the presenter I mentioned above was very much a career development expert in many ways, he lacked firsthand experience of the crap we face in today’s job market, or really even the past 20 years.
I guess this is a plea for there to be more honest anecdotes and advice on careers. Job markets and career expectations have obviously changed, but most advice I’ve found is really just filled with cliches, dated methods, and intense advertisements. Broad advice from established experts is good, but sometimes the most meaningful advice I’ve gotten has been from someone who takes the time to give me anecdotes on how they’ve gotten through a difficult career or relationship choice, a big move, or just a tough day at work. In my opinion the best advice isn’t always from an expert who has everything, but often from someone who wants to share thoughts on how they once figured out how to be 2% better for a day.