The Top Four Career Lies

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There are many “facts” about finding a job that people – typically those lucky people who haven't actually had to find a job in over a decade – repeat to job seekers in an attempt to help them get ahead that simply aren't true. Some of these things might have been true at some point in the past, but most of them are sheer fabrication.


I'm not saying that the people who say these things are liars – far from it actually. I think that they too have been deceived and honestly believe these little gems because someone told it to them.


So, what are these job search lies? Here are the four biggest:


Self-made” people exist. Here in America, we are constantly hearing stories about so-called “self-made” men. The ones who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and became successful. For some reason, this idealized person who came from the most humble of beginnings and without any outside help, earned millions, has become an icon that we should all look up to. Of course, this person simply doesn't exist. No one can rise above their circumstance without some help. This is especially important to remember when you are out of work and trying hard to better your situation. The “self-made” person couldn't have gotten to where they are without the help of many, many people. What about the teachers and librarians that helped him get through high school? What about the police department that made sure that his town wasn't overrun by crime? How about the people that gave him his first job and taught him valuable skills? You see, no one person is an island. We all need help from time to time and it's the bonds we build and the relationships we create that help us to be successful.


Hard work and skills will always be rewarded. We'd all like to think that all it takes to make it in this world is hard work and the right skills. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. Look at the difference between the salaries of the CEO of a large company and the person who cleans their office at night. Both work hard, but their compensations are extremely different. It's important to know that just working hard isn't enough. However, you can decide what you want to achieve – flexibility, happiness, money, power or influence – and work toward that.  The point is that just working hard isn't enough. You have to know what you want and them decide what you're willing to do to get it.


Money brings happiness. This is one of the most harmful lies of all. Success and money don't make people happy. I know that it sounds crazy, but there is a lot of research to prove this. Just ask the wealthy. Being happy is simple – in fact it's so simple that we often overlook it. You can be happy just by deciding to look for reasons to smile. If you want to be happy, focus on building happiness and look for ways to be successful doing what you love. Don't use monetary gain as a primary motivation.


Achievement will bring you success. This particular lie is sort of true. Achievement matters, and it's an important part of being successful. That being said, achieving something isn't nearly as important as most of us think. What really helps to boost success is who you know and what they think of you. Building lasting connections with people who are successful is that best way to become successful yourself.


Hopefully, these lies will help you see that instead of beating yourself up for not being strong enough to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” or for being too lazy to find a great job, you should concentrate on networking with others and reaching out to your family and friends. We are all connected and no one gets to where they are without the help of those who care about them.


Have you heard any of these lies? What other lies have you heard? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Image Source David Castillo Dominici /


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  • Leonor S
    Leonor S
    These career lies are all so true. Some people lie about their skills. I know of a person who lied about typing speed. This person was given a speed accuracy test and failed. Be truthful of your skills because you never know if you'll be put to the test.
  • Naomi H
    Naomi H
    I LOVE this article, because it tells those "pull yourself up by your bootstraps people" that no one can do it alone. I have always believed that everyone in the world is dependent on each other. Even those millionaires who have a lot of money depend on people to do their work for them. The bankers need clients or else they simply could not stay in business. The wealthiest of men or women had their helpers and their keepers. We are all interdependent.
  • Patrick H
    Patrick H
    I think that you are taking the term “Self-made” far too literal.  In fact, I’m surprised that you didn’t bring up the fact that nobody gave birth to themselves…  Yes, teachers, librarians, and police are all there to help us, but they help us all.  The difference is the determination the “self-made” person has to take advantage of what is available to him/her and to help them achieve their goals.  Hundreds of people can walk past a coin lying on the ground – there for the taking, but the only person to be enriched by this coin is the one that takes the three seconds to bend over and pick it up.   How about this one – “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”  It is up to the individual to make their own choices in life, even to accept what is laid out before them.  Money doesn’t bring happiness, but it sure helps pay the bills for what does.I do agree with the comments about hard work and achievement.  The work still needs to lead you in the right direction (for you) and your achievements will get you nowhere if nobody besides you knows about them or sees value in them.
  • Eleanor E
    Eleanor E
    Well said.  People might not like to hear this, but it's true.  I speak from experience.
  • Steve r
    Steve r
    Money is not the root of all evil, the lack of it is.
  • Susan L
    Susan L
    I think you are full of it I have several family members and friends that are self made millionaires. They started their own companies and employ many people. where do you get off crushing peoples dreams. Shame on you!
  • J M
    J M
    Thinly veiled socialist propaganda/class warfare agit-prop.
    "Self-made" people may exist in a society where everything falls perfectly into place and no one ever says "no" to you., However in today's society, hard work and perseverance may get you places, but without the aid of friends, and expensive schools that most people cannot afford, you end up working for low pay and daily asking the question "would you like fries with that?"
  • Thomas M
    Thomas M
    It's not what you know, it's who you know. Without basic knowledge, the "butter-up" types eventually do fail. Sad.
  • Debbie J
    Debbie J
    Wow so incredibly TRUE. I really absorbed everything I read being that i'm having so much trouble finding out what exactly it is I want to do; whatever it is, yes, you definitely want to be happy. Thanks for sharing :)
  • Porsha B.
    Porsha B.
    I have been  working as a licensed massage therapist in St.Louis for about a years and a half now. My first employer in the field said I was not doing something right in performance of my massages and id would have to give it time before I would see any real money that would get me my success. I was there for ten months. I have a small child and a quality education is what I am determined to make sure she gets. So moving is essential in my situation. When I told her I would be looking for a part time job to compensate my current earnings, she sour me down. Told me that even a part time minimum wage job wouldn't help. Now, I'm no fool dummie. Before making that decision I calculated potential earnings, and it added add a huge difference. My current employer basically said the same thing to me. These places are both chain massage spas/clinics and they birth have me second guessing my career in massage. They job of a massage therapist, working at a chain anyway, is commissioned and only a small fraction of what the client pays. We are also expected to do extra work, that is not massage, for no pay. In the magazine, Massage & Bodywork, it is recommended to have a second job along with your massage job to help compensate. This will be hard work, but I honestly agree 100%. I couldn't pay my very low rent of $200 from a previous check. After being disrespected twice by two different people who only work with the profession of massage and are not massage therapists themselves had put me in a position where I am seeking salaried/hourly employment. Only them after I find such, will I work as massage therapist. And my massage will have to work around my schedule.
  • JohnB
    In my opinion, if hard work and skills are not rewarded, than this country is headed where it's going for a reason.
  • Suzan F
    Suzan F
    Amen!   When we were all growing up, we were told to stay in school, obey the rules, respect authority, work hard, and we would be successful adults with a great opportunity....Having been out of school for over 25 years, I can attest to the fact that all of the above lies exist and perpetuate.
  •  Karen t.
    Karen t.
    Throughout my career  I worked hard, sacrificed my personal time to get ahead and was recognized for my accomplishments and rewarded well. Then the economy self- destructed and I was replaced with someone who was making one- third of my salary without a second thought. I was not the only one either. Nobody on the corporate level lost their jobs and big salaries though.
  • Colleen K
    Colleen K
    Very helpful information.
  • John P
    John P
    One becomes successful by making their boss and/or client successful.
  • Victoria D
    Victoria D
    Point number three:"All I want is the chance to prove that money won't make ME happy". So, maybe it won't on its own but when I was 18 I had 3 jobs and an income and though they weren't dream jobs as such, I was pretty happy. Now at 42 with two degrees under my belt I'm unemployed and I know that without money I'm very Unhappy.Maybe money doesn't make everyone happy but life to me seems so much rosier when you at least have some choices.
  • Charles Z
    Charles Z
    I am disappointed. This is the first acticle, out of the many has spammed me with, I decided to read, and I couldn't get past the first supposed lie. It is an echo of our presidents's comment that entrepreneurs aren't successful on their own merit and it is farcical. A person who fully subscribes to this line of thinking has their head burried in their backside.  Many people exist despite their circumstances, not because of them. If you were attempting to propagate leftist malarkey and alienate a subscriber you have succeeded.
  •  Paul K
    Paul K
    There are some very good points made as this is not the world it was thirty years ago. This is better advice for this time than it was in the past. A lot of getting ahead is hard work combined with being at the right place at the right time. There is a place for hard working people with the right skills and a good attitude. Success is never guaranteed with these qualities, but over time that person will be more productive and be in a better position to capitalize when they do get good luck. I agree that the so called 'self-made' people had some help along the way, but that they took a lot of chances to get where they are today and that they assumed a lot of risk to get there. The key to the success of the economy is finding the right balance between rugged individualism that partly got us in this mess and the collectism that exists today were to some extent hard work isn't very important.
  • Elenore B.
    Elenore B.
    The article is both true and false. There are no guarantees in life and life was never meant to be fair. I worked for a company for over 23 years, good pay, great benefits. 30th of March I was put out to pasture due to the incremental outsourcing of positionsoverseas. This was expected for over 3 years now. I'm not my retirement and some severance.People with entrepreneur skills are fortunate, its a gift.They should be applauded not criticized. They may not be self made in total, but if someone comes up with"a better mousetrap" they should be rewarded. The business of America is just that- BUSINESS! As soon as the politicians on BOTH sides of the isle get that the sooner the economy will turn around. Until them, keep come and just carry on. I'm looking for work, but in the meantime I'm doing part time work for a non-profit. It does not pay much but it's fun and it's for a great cause. Best of luck to everyone in their endeavors to better themselves despite the politics of division.Lets all make it in spite of those fools:)
  • Courtney K
    Courtney K
    Nice article
  • Zdena L
    Zdena L
    Thanks for being honest.  The guy I want to tell you about is "self made" millionaire only problem is he is his second self made millionaire, the first mill came out off his father, Trump Sr.  
  • Roland M
    Roland M
    well said
  • Stefan S
    Stefan S
    An excess of money may not make you happier but a lack of it certainly kills any shot at happiness in this modern world, Melissa
  • Nakia F
    Nakia F
    That's true. You are known by the company you keep. Networking is the most powerful took we have. The most successful people are able to cultivate and build relationships. Everybody needs somebody sometimes.

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