Sunday, 13 December 2015

Don't take all the advice you're given.

I heard the other day a man said, "I like to listen to what everyone has to say. I think everyone has a little bit of wisdom they can share." Without sounding like I'm completely full of shit, I'd like to pleasantly disagree with this.

I listen, a lot. I do. I love hearing other's stories and their experiences, but I can't say I fancy other's advice too much as often they feel overstated. How can someone so far removed from myself and who I am possibly have useful advice to share?

During this year off, I worked for three days at a call centre. Sat in the cubicle with my headset on, mindlessly dialing, a man around 5'5", scruffy dirty blonde hair, a leather jacket reeking of cheap cigarette smoke sits next to me. I don't find him particularly attractive, but I am intrigued by why he's suddenly appeared at this odd hours. It was just after 7pm. He introduces himself and asks me what brings me to this call centre. I tell him I'm just looking for some easy money. "Well that definitely what this is," he says, "Are you in school?" Yes, I'm a third year comm major. "Nice. That's a good degree. Lucrative. What do you wanna do afterwards?" He pauses to take a call and we get told off by a supervisor about 'chatting' between calls. The supervisor walks off. I'm not sure, I tell him. Right now I'm really just trying to finish this degree and get the hell out of school.
He says that's not a good plan. He dropped out of his major in economics, and has worked at the call centre for two years. He's back in school now, but advises me to do the same. Drop out and find myself. I'm not sure if the intent behind that advice was well-meaning, maybe it was, but it is awful advice. Firstly, who told him I'm lost & in need of finding anyone? Who told him I hold that belief, that who you are is someone who needs to be found? When did I say I didn't like my studies? I'm not sure where I'm headed afterwards, but I love my program and I'm good at it.

My soon to be ex-manager, whom I despise, had some advice for me too. Firstly, it's a massive thorn in my side when people assume they know anything about my degree and more importantly what I'm doing. Especially people with no possible way of knowing. She is a manager of a fast food place who didn't even finish a (college) course in Social Work. Where does she get off telling me what I need to do to accomplish my degree? She laughs when I tell her my major because she says I need to be good with people, and I'm not. Yes, because that's all a communication major needs to be 'good with people.' Mind you her definition of good with people is to smile more. I fail at hiding how I feel about a person. If I hate you, you will know it. I physically can't smile in her presence, my disdain runs that deep. Communication is about understanding people, and proceeding as such. Less about fake smiling all the time and more about analysis. Communication does not only involve me talking to people all day, because surprise surprise we don't only communicate with words. As a matter of fact almost 90% of what we communicate to others doesn't come from our mouths. We can write, sing, use body language and create. Still communications. Yet, somehow...she thinks her advice is even remotely warranted, appropriate or useful. I should hand her one of the last paper I handed in and ask her opinion...even she even manages to understand past the introduction.

You're going to encounter a lot of people throughout your life. A lot of them are going to try to give you ill advised 'advice', in an attempt to deal with some personal mistakes they've made and some of their own regrets. Everyone's got advice, but trust when I say not all of it is worth listening to.


  1. The thing about advice it doesn't always have to be followed. Some people like the ones you mentioned above might have given you advice that wasn't really helpful to you but which they though was right. I think it's okay to listen to what the others have to say. You don't have to agree with it or follow it. You just listen and do whatever suits you in the end anyways.

    -Kathie K
    A Sea Change

  2. I do reckon the best decisions can only be made by yourself, because nobody will ever fully understand our situation or what's going on in our brains. Sometimes though, just sometimes, the advice they give gives us an idea that can spark a better decision. The people you've written about here seem like terrible advice givers though. Don't let your soon to be ex-manager get to you. She isn't even worth showing a paper to because you already know you'll get further in life than her.

    The Life of Little Me

  3. This is so true, honestly. I have a manager that, until the last few months, would try to tell me how I should sleep more, eat this or that or do 'x' for my career. But honestly his own life was a complete wreck. I finally had to explain to him that I don't need a mentor or saving. I appreciate some advice, but I actually live my life fairly healthy and lively. I'm good. Thanks.

  4. I like listening to to all the advice that I am given but I would be crazy if I attempted to follow all. The process of elimination is used whenever I am in a bind. If someone is simply popping off at the mouth and vomiting unproductive nonsense then they will surely be ignored.

    Olive Needs Popeye