I was seeking career advice a few years back and had managed to find 15′ on the schedule of a successful person.
I’d shared that I was hoping to switch careers into technology and hoped to work in the Bay Area. This person’s advice was to fly over to the Bay Area for 6 months, spend time with start-ups, and try and find a job.
Their reasoning was thought through – this was clearly advice they’d given to many others.
It just happened that the advice wasn’t useful for someone who didn’t have an American passport. And, for someone without said passport and who’d gotten married recently, this advice could have ended up being disastrous.
I think about that conversation from time to time every time I see someone giving generic career or life advice. Every once in a rare while, the advice is universally useful because it is rooted in principles.
But, most of the time, the nature of the advice is similar to what I’d received – right for many, just not for me.
“Right for many, just not for me” is useful perspective to keep with us as we receive advice. It allows us to appreciate the good in any and all advice we receive while not taking its lack of immediate applicability to our context to heart.
It also helps us do a better job when we’re asked for advice.