There are a number of ways to get the scoop from industry insiders about how to break into their career including: joining professional associations, attending networking events, going on information interviews, or asking for advice on Internet message boards. However, if you are hoping that everyone who works in the industry will welcome you and be willing to help, you may be disappointed. Instead of getting fabulous career advice or job leads, you may be left feeling discouraged about the career and thinking you should consider doing something else with your life. Think again. If you are left feeling less than excited about a career after speaking with someone working in it, you are probably talking to the wrong person. Here are some reasons an industry expert may not be helpful to newcomers:
They want to feel special
Many successful people got where they are today because of their talent and effort. When asked how they did it, however, their story may sound like the one that parents used to tell about walking in the snow for miles every day to get to school and home again - uphill both ways. In other words, they make it sound much more difficult than it is. And while it's possible it really was difficult for someone else, you might have what it takes to achieve success in your chosen career more quickly. Few people will tell others that it's easy to break into their career or that almost anyone with determination can do it, even if that's true. By saying that it takes a rare ability or many years to succeed in a career, someone who is already working in that career validates themself and what they have achieved. Keep this in mind when speaking with someone working in the career, and don't say you hope to get a job like theirs right away. If you acknowledge their success and show respect for their achievements they may be more willing to assist you.
They are struggling
Someone who is struggling in a career may have spent years in the profession without achieving the kind of success they had hoped for. This type of person may try to "help" you by pointing out the "reality" of the profession you want to work in. They will tell you that at least 80% of those who enter their field will drop out or never achieve great success. But that's true for the vast majority of careers. In a recent issue of Harvard Magazine, it was reported that the average person will have six different careers in their lifetime, which means the average person will leave five careers. Why let that stop you from following your heart now? Another reality is that virtually every career - from acting to real estate - has only a few people who reach the top. It is insulting for someone to assume you will not be one of the successful ones. However, someone who has not made it to the top themself after years of struggle simply may not be able to see how a newcomer can. If you can overlook their discouraging attitude, this person may actually be able to help by filling you in on industry jargon, types of employers, and other career information. Just don't waste your time trying to convince them that you will succeed where they haven't.
They have a scarcity consciousness
People with a scarcity consciousness believe there will be less work for them if more people enter the profession. They see newcomers as potential competitors and will do what they can to discourage others from entering the field. The moderator of a message board for one career said in response to our recent posting that if everyone who wanted to enter the career actually did so, "it would stop being a fab job for everyone else as there would be very few who could ever make a living doing this." Fortunately, there are people in every industry who have not only achieved success, but are willing to help others do the same. As Mark Twain said, "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great."
I think this article makes you realize that ll the advice out there may not really be helpful.....especially if it is coming from a person who wants to climb the same ladder you are !