10 Career Myths to Puncture

By: Akindele Afolabi


A myth according to the Webster dictionary is considered an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true. There are many of them in different parlances and their effects are usually very strong on the people that hold them true. The plausibility of the myth is perhaps due to the association of the root of the myth to a god or goddess or some supernatural forces that is considered beyond the grasp of man. There are however no tangible evidence to prove the credibility of myths.

The scope of myth has outlived cultural context and crept into virtually all areas of man’s endeavour; politics, finance, relationship, business, career etc. providing a paradigm for conduct. But when myths are juxtaposed with facts, they crumble like a pack of card, leaving a devastating effect on the adherents.

This is why you must be conscious of the following ten career myths which most people hold dearly but could wreak havoc.

  1. Big, Reputable and Profitable organisations offer job security:job security is long dead, buried and defied every attempt at resurrection. Ask the employees of Kodak and they will tell you what digital photography did to job security.


  1. If you perform well, you have a secured job: you should believe this only if your performance alone is able to keep your organisation immune to disruptive innovations, changing economic indices and the increasing empowerment of customers through the information available to them to make knowledgeable decision about where and how they spend their money.


  1. I am good at my job, I do not have to promote myself: if you think you are being humble by not blowing your own trumpet, then take a break from this article and read law 6 in the book – 48 laws of power by Robert Greene. If you don’t promote yourself, who will?


  1. Top performers get the promotions and the big pay increase:not always true, top ‘politicians’ do also. They are not the usual star performer, but somehow, they know the right people, they know how to navigate in the organisation and they have good relationship with people. In actual sense, the people that are promoted to leadership roles are not usually the technically competent, but the people oriented ones.


  1. A university degree guarantees getting a job:not even with a first class do you have a guaranteed job. If this was true, then tackling unemployment will not be a good campaign manifesto. We only need to look at the statistics of unemployed graduates to know that their certificates are not tickets for jobs


  1. Ability and hard work will get you to the top: is there a top to get to in the first instance especially when your organisation is operating a flatten structure? Understand that there is a difference between activities and result and what organisations are after is result. The sad truth is that getting result is not always by hard work. You can try smart work.



  1. You can have a balanced work/family life and get to the top: except one’s family is the client, hardly can one balance the work front with family life and still be at the top. Several factors come to play here though and could change where the swing lands, if however you get to the top on a balanced platform by a stroke of chance, you should expect that soon the balance will tilt to one side.


  1. Your job should offer work life balance: the craving for work life balance actually came out of an insatiable desire for satisfaction on the job. It is not work life balance that people need, but job satisfaction and that is why work life balance differs with individual. You should rather find your job satisfiers and work life balance will be less of a concern.



  1. If your performance is outstanding, you will be rewarded. Although this may vary with organisations, it is nevertheless not usually the rule. Some organisations believe that you are being paid to be outstanding, so your salary is the reward you get for that.


  1. Networking and mentoring are not necessary for success if you are a star performer. People always remember those they have a relationship with more than those that would pass as acquaintances. Thinking you do not need other people because you are good is a fallacy that can prevent you from getting to where you should be.



While most of these myths have contextual impact, they should generally be approached with an open mind in the absence of facts.

About the Author:

Akindele Afolabi is a Career Management Consultant with Career Edge Limited. He helps organisations and individuals to take ownership of their career management initiatives.



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