The Top Four Career Lies

Posted by

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 /


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Jason V.
    Jason V.
    Sandy, I hope your bookmark leads you to my comment. I understand how you feel. I was laid off from a R&D company and working as a janitor now (read lie # 2 again). I But here's something I feel conviction to share.  Our thoughts, lead to our feelings, our feeling lead to our beliefs, and beliefs lead to our actions. Continue internalize the negative thoughts posted here and I guarantee it will have a negative impact in your relationships, interviews, and friendships. And what's more tragic, no one is going to have the spine to tell you. I have been working on shucking negative thoughts because they simply are energy sappers. If you really want to turn the page on past success and failures, then may a I suggest you grow a backbone? If you are angered by my comment, I achieved my goal.  I am reading "How to Grow a Backbone - 10 Strategies for Gaining Power and Influence at Work." If we give up, then we may have believed a lie or set self imposing limitations. One last word for encouragement, it's never to late to change the course of your life so that you can make a difference. No matter your circumstances. It all begins with attitude and breaking habits. Changing from the inside. We cannot change our spouse, co-workers, and friends. However, we can change the way we think. And that starts from the inside. Taking an honest assessment, it will be painful, may even ask a family member or friend for help, (read  # 1 and #3) and work towards it, because habits are hard to break, but so rewarding when we recognize them and control them, not allowing them to control us.
  • Noah V
    Noah V
    Money may not bring happiness, but a lack of money definitely brings unhappiness. Sure, I'll ask the rich; then I'll ask them when they last had collectors calling them at all hours because they couldn't pay their power bills or car notes. I would personally rather be unhappy and liquid than unhappy and dry. Sometimes there is more truth in the lie than we care to admit.
  • Martha W
    Martha W
    Thank you for this! These are very timely words for me. I am struggling mightily as an independent contractor in the realm of autism therapy, and am actively trying to find work that fits my expertise, to no avail. I so appreciate this intelligent encouragement!
  • Ryan T
    Ryan T
    "I think that they too have been deceived and honestly believe these little gems because someone told it (this article) to them."I could not have done better JOB at defining the nonsense in this article. The article is a description of itself.So this article helps a person get a job how?Call the interviewer a liar?Ask your teacher, librarian, police, firefighter for a job?Maybe a non lying person should ask for a job from the self-made person who happens to be the one hiring. Those self-made persons will be the ones hiring you and all those other people who helped you!Or, you can become a self made person and hire yourself and others. I mean compared to the four lies, creating jobs is a breeze isn't it?
    I do disagree that money doesn't bring happiness, it most certainly does because it provides the most important aspect in life"with the exception of good health", money provides independence and that is so important to being happy.
  •  Sandy S
    Sandy S
    This was so inspiring to my heart n mind i had to bookmark it so as to read it over n over again. Reading about lies was also reading words of truth about lies....did that make sense?....well it does me. I have been very lucky and optimistic in my life of a career woman  when I had youth and as many, both men n women what a beautiful charismatic woman i was. I always landed into exceptional jobs from customer call centers  to prestigious lawfirms. Now im in those midlife years with youth a memory gone past and a future not so bright or if i even have any purpose for the remainder of my life. Im now unemployed and my work history of the past 10 yrs shows a gap in being employed and unstableness with that not being enough for me to raise my ehite flag and surrender to the possible fact nobody wants me first for my age, secondly and strongly my reasoning to the factors and choices i made that lead me to the bottom rung of the xorporate ladder. All my once college degree and business expertise, working in prestigious businesses that by no means made me grossly wealthy, but a level to where i was comfortable and able to stand confident in myself and my work ethics and skills. Now, today im begging for a minimum wage job at Mcdonalds and wondering a little if im even capable of getting that job of self degration....and please excuse my choice of words as to stereotyping because just like another lie ive always been brainwashed by others is "A jobs a job",  and u better be glad u can get that! Well let me be very blunt to tht remark.. .Im not, for all my years of high ranking corporate positipns with differ companies such as law firms, sales for a ADT auto auction where i brought sales profits thru the roof to working administrative positions for oil n gas firm, ive been a.private investigator and have even worked for orange county homocide in San Diego. So No, im not happy just to get a fast food joint job with a polysster shirt n pants and cap ony head saying welcome to mcdonalds how may i take your order? Is this my final demise? The last 4yrs of my life stripped of all my accomplishments and who i once was to what i have now became.  So please add a 5th lie to your equation because im feeling very useless and unwanted due to,age which also is suppose to be considered discrimination, and on every application u fill out, ur date of birth, why is that who cares, once they see that year of birth im already a fossil, used up with no purpose that any employer of making a better and more self confident job would give to the likes of me. Its all lies, everything out in that big ole employment world is one biglie after another and its all quite overwhelming and frustrating to a once very successful, independent woman as myself, that is now scraping and begging for crumbs to get a job of building self confidence self esteem to oneself that im,still employable and needed somewhere.....but where? That is the question of all....yea and it will be followed by a lie im sure! Respectfully, Your aging, unstable, unwanted, underqualified, achiever of the cant even land a job flippin burgers at minimum wage employee....Sandy
  • Diane H
    Diane H
    Yes, all of them> I grow up on the "80's Cliche" with a lot of promises full of hot air
  • Kevin N
    Kevin N
    The first point is utter nonsense!  This sounds like Obama's "You didn't build that!" speech ... Librarians and firefighters have no bearing whatsoever on whether someone has a successful career or not - none! ... It is certainly true, no one is an island (nobody has suggested otherwise), but good parenting and mentors contribute far more to success in our chosen career path than a bunch of civil servants ever could!
    After reading the four lies that you brough up, found that more or less cover the issue. A great and very certain aricle. I have been in the work force for more than 40 years and had heard some others lies but when analyze them mostly fall in one of the above emntioned categories. Thanks.

Jobs to Watch