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Don’t let your friends define your career path

By Goretti Kimani | Sep 28th 2012 | 3 min read
By Goretti Kimani | September 28th 2012

By  Goretti Kimani

A friend is a person that is loved, treasured and trusted. It is one who can be depended on at all times, during good times, and especially during tough times. It is said that real friends will love you for who you are. They want the best for you in your area of your gifting.

However, some friends are very domineering and manipulative. Such friends will make statements demeaning your current status just to make you feel small. They will then go ahead and instruct you to follow the path they have chosen for you, follow-up with you to ensure you comply with their wishes. 

Individuals who fall victim to this scenario often find themselves confused and disillusioned.

Although one would be forgiven for thinking that the above scenario only plays out in social and relationship matters, it turns out this scenario affects careers as much as it affects every other area of life.  Indeed, very many people will seek their friend’s approval before applying for jobs and when attending interviews. They will also seek their opinions regarding salary, work conditions, job related disputes and just about anything that has to do with their job and career.

Bad decisions

And very often, they end up getting a whole lot of wrong advice that leads them to make some bad decisions. 

Young and upcoming professionals tend to suffer from this situation much more than their seasoned and experienced counterparts. This may be attributed to naivety, immaturity, inexperience, and the low level of responsibility, among younger working people.

However, this behavior should not be tolerated. Instead, individuals who are keen on growing and developing their careers should pay regular visits to their career counselors or career advisory offices. This will also help them qualify whatever advice received from their social circles. It should be noted that having a career coach is considered crucial in helping individuals navigate the murky waters of today’s fast changing career world.

Even then, it is not wrong to take advice given by a friend. But before you act on it,  ask yourself several questions. Is the person a model of success? Do they have your best interest at heart? How experienced are they? Does the advice elicit mixed feelings?  Is the advice likely to improve your situation? Is the person a real friend or a wolf in sheep’s skin? What would you have done without their advice?

Opposite direction

An acquaintance once remarked that if he wanted some advice, he would ask a not-so-good-friend, and then follow their advice but in the opposite direction. It is common knowledge that many great men and women in our history made it through constant consultation with like-minded and well-intentioned individuals.

Your career deserves more than just a casual approach. At the end of the day the buck stops with you. Remember, if you take it casually you will end up a casualty.

The writer is a human resource specialist at Peoplelink Consultants Ltd Email:  [email protected]         

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