Is advice easier said than done?
Is advice easier said than done?
A friend of mine has been out of work for nearly eighteen months and he just recently decided to start looking for work. After a week of looking and applying to a few jobs online with little to no response, he came to me and complained about how hard it was for him to find work. His last job was his only real job and was handed to him by his father via nepotism. He has been out of touch with reality in terms of the economy and the job market since his girlfriend works and he was receiving disability and later unemployment for so long. When he came to me for advice, I gave him a more realistic point of view. It takes several weeks or months for people to find work in this economy and he, for some reason, had no clue. In addition to that, his skill sets and work history are dodgy at best due to choices he made. I felt ever so qualified to field this from him and give him a logical and realistic answer; but in the end, all I really did was justify why he was having an issue and was unable to give him ample advice on how to increase his odds of finding a job.
The reason I felt so qualified is because despite having a decent job of my own for several years, I’ve aspired for something more since I graduated in December of 2008, but with the exception of a small string of contract work for writing or filming, I have yet to find that holy grail of a job I always thought I would get. I of course told him he needs to expand his horizons by utilizing more than craigslist and not giving up after a week; but did he really not know that? I doubt I told him anything he didn’t already know. It wasn’t until several weeks after we had our conversation that I realized I had not helped him at all. However, I’m sure he still appreciated my support.
I try not to speak authoritatively on subjects that I am not familiar with or have no experience in, but sometimes, with only the best of intentions, I feel like I have the inside information on things I really need to learn more about. It’s accidental in the sense that I am not attempting to be a know-it-all, or arrogant in any way. I, just like everyone else, will hear certain things, learn a few facts and then formulate an opinion. This is where the phrase “easier said than done” really hits home with me. Often times this phrase gets passed around as if to imply that the mere suggestion of a task is far more difficult in execution than the discussion of it. This is true; but, I say it goes deeper than that if applied to critical thought. There are many variables. Consider explaining how to slam dunk in a regulation sized basketball hoop. The dynamics of it are quite simply, but for me or the average person, it’s easier said than done. How about for Shaquille O’Neil? It’s probably just as easy said and done – for him. He has the experience and knowledge of how to do that task, as well as an obvious advantage.
I have experience job hunting, but I have obviously not been successful at it since I landed a permanent position (that I’m still at) nearly seven years ago. There are more factors than just me not finding the right way to write a cover letter or something of that nature, but the fact remains – except for one job offer than was less money than I was making at the time, I didn’t do well finding work. While I have prior experience getting jobs, the environment for job hunting has changed, and unfortunately I lack the correct and relevant experience for it now. Or, in other words, I lack an advantage and I lack the understanding of the dynamics beyond the basics.
As I stated before, I originally thought that I could tell my friend how he could increase his odds of finding work, and my advice was nearly worthless. I felt that the easier said than done policy didn’t apply and that with my advice it would make it just as easy said and done for my friend. In my mind I had been looking for work for so long that I could do it with my eyes closed, so surely I could give my friend some superb advice. The problem in my logic was my execution was not working for me, so why would it work for my friend? All I really knew how to do was apply to fifteen jobs in one day without receiving a call back.
This probably won’t stop me from giving advice with good intentions, as I would never purposely give bad advice, but I will stop to think how qualified I am to actually give that advice. At first glance, it would appear that the tips I told my friend in order to get a job were easier said than done from his perspective; but, even if that were the case, based on my own revelation, giving legitimate and qualified advice is easier said than done.
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