What is good career advice for a young person? Questions, quotes and books on career advice can be easy to come by but who is really good at giving good career advice? Is it your parents, your boss, your spouse, your peers or your professors? My answer would be, it depends.

good career advice

At the young age of 22, my boss gave me some career advice. Whether it was good or bad, I don’t know but his advice was, “Sink or Swim“. At the time, I was very naïve and I kind of saw the workplace through “rose colored lenses”. I thought everyone cared for everyone and that everyone looked out for everyone. Oh boy was I wrong! Some (or most) workplaces can be a ‘dog eat dog world’. So as the years went by, I better understood his advice, which really meant “survive or die in the workplace”.

What does Sink or Swim Mean?

When I hear the saying ‘sink or swim’, I instantly think of being thrown in a body of water. If I want to survive, I better start swimming because if I don’t start swimming, then I will begin to sink. So when my boss gave me this career advice at 22, I instantly applied it to my work strategy. I studied so I could learn how to do my job and how to do it well. I asked for extra work and I applied myself each day. Applying his advice to my work caused me to be successful at my job but there were also negative consequences to being so focused and determined.

Since I was so focused on “swimming”, I received negative feedback because I was told I didn’t interact with my co-workers enough. I spent most of my day doing my work because I thought that was what he wanted me to do.  So my career advice to you is to make sure you get a clear understanding of your boss’s expectations.

What is the best career advice that you have received and who was it from? Please share in the comments below. Also, please subscribe to stay in the loop.