Bad advice

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I don’t think I can recall a specific piece of bad advice, but what I can recall is a whole host of  unsolicited advice which has been directed at me over the years. I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where someone is trying to help by giving you advice without being asked and it may just be me, but that advice is rarely well received.

I think I covered this in my life’s a lesson post, but after I graduated, I got a graduate position, was made redundant 6 months later and then spent close to 4 years figuring out what on earth I wanted to do with my life, working in a series of jobs in the mean time. When you don’t know what you want to do, and aren’t doing what might be expected, you will be amazed that advice on the situation comes from every single, unexpected avenue.

It felt at one point in my life that I could barely meet up with anyone in a more senior, advice giving position without being preached to. I’ve lost count of the amount of patronising suggestions I received regarding getting my life on track and bagging that dream career. And every time, it felt like I was being gradually demeaned and put down just that little bit more than the time before. If that is you right now? Don’t stand for it. It is painfully hard, but stand up for yourself. You can do things differently, and you know what? It only matters what you think. And if you are the advice giver? Remember that the person you are speaking to has probably tried a lot of avenues, so don’t assume they aren’t trying!

Colleagues I’d worked with for a barely a fortnight, relatives who had previously expressed next to no interest in my life path, people I had previously thought of as friends. Everyone suddenly has their two pennies worth of advice to throw your way when you yourself are feeling lost. I found that this constant advice giving got to the point where I hated socialising with anyone other than a limited group of friends who I knew accepted me for me and for what I was doing with my life and most importantly wouldn’t pry. I dreaded any kind of family event and there’s very little I wouldn’t have done to avoid my most hated of phrases ‘So, what are you doing with your life?‘ and being forced to recount the banality of my situation in humiliating detail. this would no doubt be followed by what felt akin to the Spanish Inquisition as to why I wasn’t doing this or hadn’t done that. Oh, and had I thought of this?

So here is my plea. If you are ever asked for advice, and wish to dispense it, please do so in a constructive way and be receptive to the person to whom you are giving advice. If you have something useful to say, say it. Otherwise listen, it may be more help. Unsolicited advice is often given, but well dispensed, good advice can make a world of difference. Just think before you preach and be very sure that what you have to say is of value.

I came across the quote I’ve included in the photo in Baz Luhrmann’s epic Everyone’s Free (to wear sunscreen), a song filled to the brim with great advice. The sentence above is one I wish I had known the meaning of and taken heed of years back. Take note, and next time you are subjected to a tirade of opinion, keep those words in mind. The not so great advice will be do much easier to receive.

This post represents day twenty eight of Blog Every Day in May #BEDM with Rosalilium

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