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This is the absolute best (and worst) career advice your parents gave you

They taught us everything we know—from how to tie our shoes to how to drive. But when it comes to our careers, should we listen to mom and dad?

This is the absolute best (and worst) career advice your parents gave you

Parents like to give advice. That could be the understatement of the year, right there.

Sometimes it’s spot-on. Thank you, Mom—I should not walk into a snowstorm with just a t-shirt on. Dad, you’re right—instead of buying a Porsche I should start saving for my 401(k).

Other times, we roll our eyes and mumble a perfunctory “thanks.”

But when it comes to your career, taking advice can lead you to your dream job... or a dead end. So for those just starting out in the workplace, we’ve rounded up working professionals who share some of the best advice you should follow—and some of worst advice you should run from—courtesy of their very own parents.

What you shouldn’t do...

Get a degree just so you can “fall back on it”

Kate White, New York Times best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, notes that, while her parents were fantastic, they advised her to get a teaching certificate just so she could “fall back on it.” What did White do? She picked a college that didn’t offer that kind of program.

“Don't do something you can't stand just because it's safe,” she says. “Go for what thrills you and lights you up, taking smart risks along the way. Emphasis on smart.”

Avoid confrontation at work

Monica Eaton-Cardone, chief operating officer and co-founder of Chargebacks911, a financial services company in Clearwater, Florida, remembers some questionable advice from her mother-in-law: Avoid issues with other employees because “the issue will resolve itself over time.”

“I have actually found that confronting issues and problems head-on leads to increased communications, stronger relationships, and efficient collaborations,” Eaton-Cardone says.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to resolve work drama. Learn to confront these situations with grace.

Settle for one career path

For some, one career path will bring them success and happiness—but increasingly, people are switching jobs and fields more than ever. The median job tenure of workers ages 25 to 34 is three years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job-hopping may be the new norm, but it doesn’t mean our parents will get it.

“I remember my mother being especially horrified that I didn't have a profession in my sights by the age of 13,” says James Armstrong, digital marketing consultant at Haystack Search, a digital marketing company in Leeds, England.

...and what you should do instead

Keep learning at work

Sarah Jane Lowery, senior Internet marketing associate for marketing company Search Influence, located in New Orleans, received a piece of advice from her mother that she and all her siblings carry closely: Do something that keeps you learning.

“Considering all of us have really different jobs—a mime/physical theatre performer, lighting designer, and senior Internet marketing associate—I'd say that we all took it to heart,” Lowery says. “I learn something new every day and intend to keep doing so.”

Be open to input

Consider everything. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice, but hear them out. This is what Anders Clark’s parents told him as a kid, and it’s stuck with him. “Good ideas and inspiration can and often do arise from unlikely sources,” says Clark, writer and editor for aviation media website Disciples of Flight.

Don’t fear rejection

Yvette D. Best, CEO of tax preparation firm Best Services Unlimited, LLC, located in Fayetteville, Georgia, was taught to not fear the word “no.” Throughout her career, she has been able to negotiate raises she may not have received had she not asked. “You will never know the outcome of an unasked question,” she says.

So, in the end should we listen to our parents advice? Answer: yes, and no. We should listen to everyone, but perhaps most importantly, we should listen to ourselves, and find out on our own what will bring us a joyful and successful career.

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