Updated Outdated Career Advice From Dear Old Dad

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Dads are experts at so many things!

  • Manning the grill on a hot summer evening…
  • Playing handyman around the house…
  • Embarrassing their kids in front of their friends…
  • And telling bad jokes. (Seriously: “How do you make a Kleenex dance? Put a little boogie in it.”)

But a Baby Boomer dad offering career advice to a Millennial job seeker? Don’t quit your day job, Pops. Here’s a look at some of the outdated advice that fathers — and other — and how the thinking around that advice has changed since they entered the workforce.

Don’t job hop.

In “the old days,” college graduates would get a job offer after school and settle in for 30 to 40 years of employment, followed by a modest retirement. What’s more, a résumé listing many jobs, each with a relatively short tenure, was a sure sign of an unreliable employee — a liability.

But times have changed, and “job hopping” is a lot more common these days. Few professionals have a single job in their lifetime — and according to Penelope Trunk, most people will have up to eight jobs before they turn 30.

And even today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median employee tenure varies quite a bit by age bracket.

While workers in 55 to 64 range typically stay with their jobs a little over 10 years, the median of 25- to 34-year-old workers stick around only three years.

That’s not to say you don’t have a shot at finding a long-term job you love with a successful company that invests in its employees… But you certainly wouldn’t be alone if you found yourself searching for a new opportunity a couple of years in.

Never have gaps in your résumé.

Yet another piece of advice that made a lot more sense back when people took a single job and had it for life — it even resonated during a time when people mostly specialized in a single industry or field for their entire career.

But so many people today earn one college degree, start a career, stay in it for a while…then discover another professional love to cultivate. Or take a break to raise a family (a choice that, thankfully, is too-slowly gaining acceptance). Or save enough money to plan extended travels or other time away. A gap in a résumé, then, could stem from a lot of things, many of which strengthen an employee rather than weaken their ability to contribute to their future workplace.

Follow your dreams.

Okay, so “follow your dreams” isn’t just advice proffered by well-meaning parents; we’ve heard it from anyone looking to inspire or make a 9-to-5 career feel less daunting. (It’s a great partner to the go-get-’em-Tiger reassurance that “you can be whatever you want.”

Take this advice with caution.

A great anecdote in a piece published in The Manual describes a man who works a traditional job, but takes afternoons off every Thursday to run a wildly popular barbecue joint, his passion. Could he be successful smoking meat and operating the restaurant full time? Maybe. But he doesn’t believe he’d love it as much if he did.

If you can find a career that blends passion and professional sustainability, perfect. If not, there are plenty of opportunities to embrace your hobbies, or even put them to use in the “gig economy” as a part-time or contract worker.

Send a thank-you note after your interview.

Hold on… Dad, you actually have a point there.

Some old-school thinking never goes out of style. Sending a sincere email or, even better, a personalized, snail-mail thank-you note, after a particularly great job interview will still knock a prospective employer’s socks off.

It may even make the difference between you and another candidate being hired.

Maybe it’s worth taking Dad’s advice every once in a while!

Done taking career advice from your Dad? Take back you career today!

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