Don’t let these 5 career myths hold you back

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Did you know that nowadays people of working age will have six to seven career changes in their lifetime? Because of technological advances and the accelerated rate of change and business-model innovation (among other developments), gone are the days when you could expect to hold a single job for the rest of your life.

In a rapidly changing environment, the in-demand employee must be flexible and have a positive attitude toward lifelong learning. According to a 2016 Deloitte study, employers have a growing need for people with diverse skill sets, and knowledge and interest in several areas.

Are your beliefs changing with the times? Or do you still believe the following career myths?

  1. You have only one dream career.

    Some people regard careers the same way they do romantic relationships: You only have one soulmate and you’ll never be happy unless you find that one person.

    This belief is dangerous because when you focus on only one thing, you fail to open yourself up to many other possibilities – both in your career and your life. Just think about it. Every day, you learn new things. Every day, you build on your skills and grow. You are constantly changing. With this, so can your passions, talents, and needs. There can be so many perfect jobs for you out there! Don’t limit yourself to one.

  2. Career choices need to last a lifetime.

    Once you choose to be a nurse or an accountant, there’s no turning back, right? Well, change is the only thing that is constant in this life. If the business environment can change, so can career paths and goals. Of course, if you have established a career, do everything you can to make it work. And if you are happy in it, then great! But if you are not happy, or if you see that it will not work in the long run, don’t get stuck in it. You do have choices. (Read: Thinking of a career shift?)

  3. You can work only in your field.

    According to career coaches, this is one of the main reasons why some newcomers get frustrated when job hunting. Some limit their job search only within their field, concentrating on the job title. Then they complain that job opportunities are too few. You can widen your prospects by making a thorough evaluation of your job experience and soft skills first. Then, check jobs not in terms of job titles, but job skill requirements. For example, if you are a professor, don’t look only for teaching jobs. Educators have research skills and presentation skills that may be applicable to research and development in private firms or even HR training. If you do a personal assessment, you may discover that many of your skills are transferable and may be perfect for a job that is not strictly in your field.

  4. The only way to move up is to get more degrees

    In many countries, the way to reach the top level is by beefing up educational credentials. Having a Master’s Degree or an MBA is often required for managerial positions. In the Canadian workplace, education is important but having experience and the right soft skills often weigh more. The reasoning behind this is that employers see that technical skills can be taught. However, soft skills like patience, effective communication, problem-solving, or the ability to collaborate with teams may be harder to teach on the job. So if you are interested in climbing the corporate ladder, you may be better off taking a leadership training course or honing your business communication skills instead of getting another degree.

  5. “I’m too old to start a new career”

    The increase in life expectancy and better health have allowed us to carry on productive careers even past retirement. People now work well into their 70s and 80s. In fact, many retirees have found fruitful second careers that they are more enthusiastic about than their former job. The key to this continuous growth is lifelong learning. As long as you are willing and eager to learn, age is not a limitation.

Busting some common career myths, Infobip, Highbrow; What color is your parachute? Dick Bolles, 2017; The future of the workforce. Critical drivers and challenges, Deloitte Report, 2016. Accessed August 22, 2017.

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Community Resources

Why choose to struggle when support is for free? In Manitoba, you can avail of career guidance, from resume-writing to job-matching, from these organizations:
Manitoba Start
Opportunities for Employment (OFE)
Success Skills Centre
Manitoba Jobs and Skills Development Centres
Accueil Francophone
EDGE Skills Centre
Osbourne Village Resource Centre

As most immigrant serving organizations provide employment support or counselling, you can also refer to this list: Immigrant Serving Organizations.

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