Updated Outdated Career Advice From Dear Old Dad

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From playing handyman around the house to embarrassing their kids, dads are experts at so many things!

If there’s one thing you can always count on dear old dad for, it’s advice. But things have changed since the prime of baby boomers in the workplace. Here’s a look at some of the outdated advice we hear from fathers and how the advice has changed since they entered the workforce.

“Don’t job hop.”

In “the old days,” college graduates might 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 resume 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 resume.”

This 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 specialized in a single industry or field for their entire career. But so many people today earn one college degree only to then discover their interest in another professional field.

Gap years are gaining popularity. Employers are beginning to see gap years as strong indicators of personal growth. A gap in a resume, 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.”

Wait a second…you know, Dad, this is solid advice!

Some old-school thinking never goes out of style. Sending a sincere email, or better yet a personalized snail-mail thank you, is an excellent way to cap off a great job interview. The gesture will likely set you apart from other candidates in an age where the extra time taken has become a rarity. Maybe it’s worth taking Dad’s advice every once in a while!

So to all the Dads out there, THANK YOU for the inspiration you offer and the support you provide the next generation of workers. Happy Father’s Day!

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