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Sometimes wisdom is in questions and not career advice

"You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future." - Steve Jobs

As your career progresses, you become a sounding board for others, and I have found:

  • I don't particularly like giving career advice as everyone's career is different, but I enjoy learning about a person's career. There is a difference between the two, and those who have asked me insightful questions have helped me immensely.

  • BTW, sometimes people's advice is their perspective rather than what was most suitable for you.

  • It is awkward when somebody asks for advice, particularly when you do not know them well. Therefore sometimes a question is the best response to their question

  • When a colleague is inconsistent and not genuine, people know. i.e. wanting to help at one moment by offering some advice and being difficult in the next. I am less open and vulnerable to these people, and I suspect others who have similar experiences are too. These people do not see the best version of us, which is a pity for everyone when it occurs. True thoughts are left unsaid, and opportunities for a diversity of thought remain unrealised.

Finally, when somebody contacts me seeking some guidance, I generally start by asking how they are and not why are they contacting me or what is going on. Their response then directs me to the next question or statement. Nearly always in early conversations, I remind people of what Steve Jobs said in his Stanford address, a small section of which is quoted above.


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