I wrote this angry rant of a blog post roughly 12 months ago.
The title, albeit direct, summarized my general feelings towards “rampant generic advice givers” at this time last year: “Don’t Tell Me to Drop Out” – the title reads. The body of the essay was a bit less forgiving and much more harsh. It was not even well written, probably had a bunch of typos.
“One of my pet peeves is hearing people “advise others” to drop out of school. I think that is tangibly the worst advice of all time. Not the dropping out part, though I personally believe that, for me, that would be the wrong decision. I am talking about the people selling you on the career decision to leave school. Fuck that. Seriously. Our lives are our own. Our careers are our own. Do not let people sell you into thinking that any decision is not yours. Hindsight bias is real!”
I want to come back to these thoughts – not because my mind has really changed on them (as I still have *some* conviction as to why I am going to school) – but rather to focus on why I had these thoughts in the first place. As you *may* be able to tell, I am *more passionate* than the average person when it comes to the topic of advice and career development. This basically means that I think about it more than the average person – especially my age. That is not to say that I am better than anyone at careers, or choosing a career, etc. I am just trying to do the best for myself. Really, I am just curious.
I have this weird, fervent anger against lots of advice. It takes people by surprise sometimes because my thoughts against advice are loud.
This is the sum of my argument:
I think it is egotistical to give people advice without massive caveats – especially vulnerable students. I get upset with this, mainly when I talk to young people chasing other people’s dreams, and see that generic advice is leading people astray.
I am writing this again to better explain my thoughts. I write this strongly not because I am mad at one particular person. This essay is not actually sparked by a particular incident – in fact, lately, I have had great communication with people.
You may be wondering why I care so much. Why am I even thinking about this? I think about this because I am fascinated by human incentives – understanding why people do what they do. And it has become so apparent to me, especially as of late, that these incentives are raw, real, and super obvious.
Incentives explain everything.
And when you see them, you see why the senior is telling the freshman to apply to x company.
You see why the freshman is staring wide-eyed asking the senior what to do.
The alarming truth, though, is that this type of generic advice is really just noise.
People are helpful. SUPER. Generic advice, though, is not (to me).
Also published on Medium.