Apparently, I’m the kind of harmless-looking person that people stop on the street to ask for directions.
It happens whether I’m walking around my neighborhood at home or visiting a distant city. Strangers ask me for directions. I always try to help them. I’ve been doing this for decades.
Sadly, I often realize a short time later that I’ve flubbed the directions and skipped a vital left turn or miscounted the number of traffic lights they’ll encounter. Poop!
I wonder what’s become of the hundreds of souls I’ve misdirected? Are they still out there wandering the planet lost? Are they cursing me for being an idiot? Are they blaming themselves for taking advice from a stranger?
Career advice from a fallible human being
I mention this now because it seems like more people are writing me to get career advice. Strangers are sending emails to ask me how to advance their career “in the arts” or how to use crowd-funding to achieve bliss.
I do have a few nuggets of information that I share. But, if these people knew my track record of offering terrible advice, they’d probably be wise enough to stay away.
Fortunately, no one’s listening
I take comfort in the knowledge that almost no humans ever take anyone’s career advice. In general, we decide what we want to do and then look for stuff that supports our view. We systematically ignore or discount opinions that contradict ours. So, it’s not likely that my bad advice has actually made things any worse than they would be if I had kept quiet.
I’ve even seen this pattern when I give directions on the street. I’ve told strangers to drive forward to the next intersection and turn right and then watched as they drove to the intersection and turned left. My advice may be wrong but little harm is done because my advice is routinely ignored. Phew!
In my next blog, I will explain why “follow your passion” is the most popular career advice and why it is idiotic. Stay tuned.
Pittsburgh, July 26, 2019
PS: Speaking of passion...if you are ready to add some whimsy to your art collection, you should check out my current Kickstarter project—Follow Your Passion: Letterpress Prints. It closes on July 28, 2019.