"Take My Advice, But Don't Take My Word For It"

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Everyone has advice to give, but even if they have good intentions sometimes people can still give out bad information. Usually it comes in the form of "it worked for me, so it should work for you, and if not then you must've done something wrong." However, this is an incredibly naive assumption that ignores reality and assigns blame where there is none to be had. Circumstances are to blame most of the time, not the individual people involved in a given situation.

This usually happens with job and college interviews (or any kind of interview, really, but these two are the most common). All too often, you are taught one way but find out through experience that it isn't how the people you encounter operate. For instance, I was taught in my college note-taking class that you should never accept food or drink during the interview process. Following this advice, I declined an offer of candy from someone I interviewed with and later found out that I had hurt her feelings by not accepting any. Also, in a college journalism class, the professor talked of interviews during lunch and how you wouldn't be respected unless you drank coffee, and not decaf either. This was problematic for me since I had been taught not to accept food or drink, not to mention that I don't particularly do well with coffee, especially the caffeine. However, this was when I realized that different people require different things from you, and you must learn to shape yourself around them.

It is not unusual for experts of the same field to have differing opinions. This is not always a negative, but it is frustrating for the rest of us when we don't know which one is more accurate. What is right in one person's eyes may very well be wrong in another, and this will vary from person to person. It is these differing opinions that create situations that can be harrowing for many an interviewee - everyone you meet and talk to and work with will be different and have different standards and expectations you will have to adhere to. As a result, you may very well have to re-learn how to present yourself and could even lose your sense of self in the process when sacrifices need to be made in order to survive.

That is the problem we as a society are facing today - too many of us are struggling to find and/or maintain ourselves in a world that's beginning to crumble from the inside. How many of you were actually able to become what you wanted to be when you "grew up?" How many of you had to become something else because there was no place for you where you wanted to be? It probably changed how you were as a person too. It's not only what you become that's important but who you become as well. If you aren't yourself, then who are you really?

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