HR Strange But True!
February 04, 2010

Need advice on handling a workplace problem? Don't ask a colleague! A new survey by The Creative Group shows that 60 percent of respondents have received bad advice from coworkers, almost twice the number who have received bum steers from spouses or even good old Mom and Dad. Even bosses faired better in the poll!

The national survey of randomly selected marketing, advertising, and creative professionals, who work on collaborative projects, asked “Have you ever received bad career advice from any of the following.” Co-workers came in first at 58%, bosses were next at 54%, followed by parents/relatives 35%, spouses/significant others 30%, and mentors 25%. Interestingly, one-quarter of respondents said they have never received bad career advice.

The types of poor advice varied 180 degrees. Many were told to “play it safe,” “keep quiet,” “stick with it,” and “stay put”--often accompanied with warnings about the current economy. Others were told to make overly risky moves such as “walk into the CEO's office and say ‘we need to talk about my salary today'” or jump to a start-up, which closed 6 months later.

Then there was the bad advice that came with ulterior motives. One colleague told a respondent to quit so she could take her job. Another respondent's boss advised against quitting to go with a successful competitor only because he had made a bet with another manager that the respondent wouldn't leave.

“As with any advice, consider the source,” says Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “Although many managers and colleagues have your best interests at heart, the fact that your actions may affect them may color their judgment.”

What is the worst career advice you've gotten and from whom did it come? Let us know If we get enough good responses, we'll include them in a future column.

Source: The Creative Group

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