5 Common Career Tips You Should Ignore

We're not sure how some of the career tips out there start, but many just seem to stick anyway -- even when they don't have a lot of merit or apply to many situations. Exercise caution if you're following any of the five common recommendations below.

Not all professional advice is good advice. Just because a suggestion is made by multiple people or sources doesn't mean it's right for your own situation -- or even for others.

Think carefully about whether there may be exclusions that apply. Following are five common career tips worth ignoring:

1. Working more hours bolsters success. Well, not necessarily, especially if you’re working longer hours because you’re not using your time efficiently. A lack of organization or failing to prioritize tasks could be the real reason you’re burning the midnight oil. If you find yourself working late or on weekends more often than not, you may need to consider replacing some of your time-wasting work habits with more productive ones.

2. Always volunteer for additional assignments. Not if you already have a full plate and/or can’t reasonably handle additional work. Overextending yourself can lead to burnout, and not being able to deliver because you’re in over your head can hurt your credibility. The best time to take on an extra project is when, a) you can fit it into your existing workload; and, b) you have the required skills and knowledge to successfully complete it.

3. Turning down a promotion is always unwise. Not if the only aspects of the new position you find appealing are an impressive title and more money. Before immediately accepting, consider whether your new responsibilities truly interest you, help you achieve career goals or improve your work/life balance.

4. Don’t bother with the ‘little people.’ Focusing your efforts only on pleasing those who control your future is not a good game plan. Colleagues on all levels also play an integral role in your advancement. Without help from your peers, you’d have difficulty with things like meeting tight deadlines or gaining access to key contacts. Also remember that your coworkers’ opinions of your abilities and qualities are very likely to get back to management — both their positive and negative opinions. Impressing the higher-ups may be the ultimate goal, but success begins by fostering relationships with those around you.

5. Don’t indulge in water cooler chit-chat. This would be a good rule to follow if you have no interest in connecting with your colleagues on a more personal level. As long as you don’t participate in malicious gossip, there’s nothing wrong with sparing a few minutes each day for some non-work related talk with co-workers. Doing so strengthens relationships and makes you seem accessible instead of stuffy and stand-offish.

Not all professional advice should be interpreted as a hard and fast rule. Otherwise, it can end up thwarting your career momentum instead of boosting it.

What are some other career tips you've heard that aren't always smart to follow? Share them in the comments section below.

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