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Business Myths and Realities

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Several years ago I came across a book titled How’d You Score That Gig? A Guide to the Coolest Jobs – and How to Get Them, written by Alexandra Levit. The book contains profiles of 60 of “the coolest careers on the planet” ranked in a national survey of people in their 20s and 30s.

Not only is the book fascinating, for me it is especially meaningful because it features some of the popular non-traditional careers my own company, FabJob.com, has published guides for getting started in – from Pet Sitter to Professional Organizer, Actor to Antiques Dealer, Image Consultant to Inventor, Book Editor to Bed & Breakfast Innkeeper, and more.

I was delighted to discover Alexandra had generously included FabJob guides among her extensive bibliography. As I wrote in a previous column, successful people who are widely admired give credit to others. Alexandra is certainly successful.

A business and workplace author, speaker, and consultant, Alexandra has emerged as a leading expert in the world of work. She has provided services for major corporate clients such as Microsoft, American Express, Intuit, and DeVry University, and spoken at hundreds of organizations around the world.

Alexandra served as a member of the Business Roundtable’s Springboard Project in the United States, which advised the Obama administration on current workplace issues, and produced the critically acclaimed JobSTART 101 (www.jobstart101.org), a free online course that better prepares college students and graduates for the challenges of the workplace.

Author of several best-selling books, Alexandra’s latest is Blind Spots: 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success. In Blind Spots, Alexandra reveals “what’s different about the post-recession world.”

“The job market is more competitive than ever, and you can’t afford to waste time,” she writes. “Don’t let blind spots push you off the path to career success — especially in today’s pared-down, back-to-basics business world, where the rules have radically changed.”

Here are 10 business myths identified by Alexandra Levit in her book, along with the realities:

Myth #1: Overnight success is possible.

Reality: Most people persevere for a long time and experience several setbacks before achieving an objective definition of success.

Myth #2: Controversy will propel your career.

Reality: Being controversial usually generates attention for a little while, but people will probably not trust you in the long-term.

Myth #3: Employers want you to be yourself.

Reality: While employers value the unique set of skills and experiences you bring to the table, they expect you to toe the line with respect to company rules and conduct.

Myth #4: Being good at your job trumps everything.

Reality: You can be the most talented employee your company has ever hired, but if your contributions aren’t visible and people don’t value what you do, it simply won’t matter.

Myth #5: It’s best to climb the ladder as fast as possible.

Reality: Getting promoted year after year requires a near-constant vigilance as well as a laser sharp focus on work — often to the detriment of everything else in your life.

Myth #6: You’ll get more money because you earned it.

Reality: Not everyone rakes in a six figure salary because they played their cards right.

Myth #7: The problem isn’t you, it’s the organization.

Reality: People job jump constantly because of this one, but the truth is, the same situations crop up in the business world over and over.

Myth #8: You won’t get laid off, you’re too essential.

Reality: Everyone is replaceable, and employees who consistently add value are let go every day.

Myth #9: If only you could leave Corporate America, everything would be perfect.

Reality: Running a business is harder than it looks, and entrepreneurship is not for everyone.

Myth #10: Do what you love, the money will follow.

Reality: Just because you have a passion for a particular area doesn’t mean you will automatically make money doing it.

These realities are covered in depth in Alexandra’s book, which is chock-full of practical information to help readers cope with the realities of today’s workplace. Advice ranges from how to be a professional to protecting yourself from layoffs.

You can learn more about Alexandra at www.alexandralevit.com and read about her latest book, Blind Spots, at www.alexandralevit.com/blind-spots.

Tag Goulet is co-founder of FabJob.com, a publisher of books on how to get started in a dream career, and Academic Director of the International Association of Professions Career College. To contact Tag visit www.iapcollege.com.

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