The Worst “Advice” I’ve Gotten

9 Mar

I want to elaborate more on my last post.  I spoke a lot about speaking up and making your voice heard but I used to be the opposite of that. For a while I was the person who never had ideas. It was part laziness and part being afraid of having my ideas shot down.  I worked with my teams, executed their ideas, and didn’t think anyone noticed my complacent behavior.  I was never like this until I took a trip to my professor’s office.

I went into my professor’s office for some professional advice one day and left on the brink of tears.  I got a very loud wake up call, similar to a fog horn. He told me he didn’t think I would make it in the industry I so wanted to be a part of.  He said that I wasn’t as good as some other students because I never contributed to my teams.  Needless to say, I was upset.  Actually I was pretty pissed off.  Here was this man, who I went to for advice and he gave me the worst advice I’d ever heard.  I’m all for constructive criticism, but there wasn’t anything constructive about it. There wasn’t a “you could work on this” or “maybe gain some more experience here”.  He completely shot me down.  So for a while I never really wanted to speak up in class or in my groups.  I became extremely nervous and stressed over my ability to succeed.  It was restricting to want to say something, but holding it in. 

It took me a while to shake that feeling, but I did.  I would love to say that the professor taught me a great lesson, but the truth is, he didn’t.  I don’t look on that moment very fondly and don’t like to think about it too often.  Not because of what he said, but how I allowed it to make me feel.  I’ve talked about disassociating how you feel from how you act and I wasn’t able to do that for a while.  I now consider it a lesson learned. Never allow someone to make you feel less than you are.    

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9 Responses to “The Worst “Advice” I’ve Gotten”

  1. marriagecoach1 March 10, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Actually, he was giving his honest assesment of you. Now of course it hurts, but it was a wake up call for you. I recently read an excellent book by Sandra Walston on women getting their courage up and not being stuck in a rut in business. I recommend it to you highly. The book is entitled: Stuck, 12 Steps Up The Career Ladder. What is really about is women being their own worst enemies, fear of failure, negative self talk and lack of confidence. Her book is well researched and gives excellent examples of women who went on to succeed.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

    • kelleyzwong March 10, 2011 at 11:20 am #

      I appreciate honesty, but I feel he could have said it in a more constructive way. There are plenty of ways to give advice without being insulting. My professor, while he was honest, should not have said it in the way that he did. I will look into Walston’s book.

      I have come across many women who are their own worst enemies. Who believe they are “lucky” to have gotten a promotion (as opposed to getting it because they deserve it), are afraid to ask for raises, and allow the glass ceiling to restrict their professional growth. But I have had an amazing mentor who has taught me to never feel any of these things or allow anyone to make me feel this way.

  2. marriagecoach1 March 10, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    I agree that he could have done it more diplomatically. I think as a man and trying to put myself in his shoes, he was using some psychology on you; either he figured that you would accept his critique and go away and if such he saved you some heartache, or it would piss you off enough to correct your mental attitude which obviously it did.

    I try to take even negative people as a blessing.

    Sandra’s book also talks about how little women do to help each other in the business place and they lack collegieality. You are far better off to seek out a male mentor to help you. The book is definitely worth a read on your part. I think that it actually is Stuck 12 Steps Up The Corporate Ladder. It can be found on Amazon.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

    • kelleyzwong March 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

      I don’t think the sex of my mentor matters as much as what he/she offers. To say that women do little to help one another out in the workplace is a blanket statement. This may be true about some, but it would be wrong on my part to believe this is true for all.

      The women that Sandra is referring to are doing a great misdeed to my sex as a whole. They bring one another down because they are intimidated and threatened. I refuse to succumb to their behavior. Instead of looking at everyone based on their sex, it would be of great benefit to view people as individuals.

  3. marriagecoach1 March 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Whoa young lady. You are speaking as one who is naive in the marketplace and idealistic as well. I have observed the same things in business and have had a lot of years in business as well as Ms. Walston. I don’t say that I agree with it or approve of it. Even the feminists make no apologies for supporting some women and not others. It is a sad fact of life whether you like it or not. I wish that it were not. I suggest reading the book and seeing for yourself and then telling me what you think. This sad fact has as much to do with the glass ceiling for women as any male chauvinism. BTW chauvinism is not a single sex characteristic despite what the feminnists say. The reverse is called Misandry.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

    • kelleyzwong March 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

      I really appreciate your insight and input although I don’t view being idealistic as being a bad thing. I don’t think wanting a fair and balanced workplace is either. I know that what I want isn’t the way things are, but it’s not going to change my desire for it to be different. Why should I simply accept things because they are the way they are? When I can actively choose to do things differently.

      I know firsthand that there are women who don’t support other women. I know women who are mean, spread rumors, and back stab to get ahead and it’s all sad. It’s real and I know it happens, but it doesn’t change my opinion of it. Call me naive, but that’s how I see it and I’m not going to accept it when I can do my part to ensure that I’m not perpetuating this behavior

      • marriagecoach1 March 11, 2011 at 7:21 am #

        I would be the first to applaud you and your efforts to reach your sisters and encourage them to act better. I just wanted to make sure that you knew what you were up against.

        Let me also encourage you to truly present both sides of the story in your career. Every printed canon of journalistic ethics has this as a goal. Unlike other professions if you violate your ethics, they rightly throw you out, journalism it is all voluntary and editors routinely flout them with impunity. Take for example global warming. When have you ever seen the opposition side presented on a story on global warming?

        I am a published writer and have sent my scientific refutation piece to the top 100 newspapers in the country and they won’t even read my piece much as less publish it. We had a senate sub committee hearing with 500 of the world’s top scientists complaining about being black balled in scientific journals but you did not read anything about it in the secular news.

        Blessings on you and yours
        John Wilder

  4. Sumiko Maser March 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Kelley- thanks for the post. I agree that going into certain situation you can expect to get some good advice and sometimes come out feeling like you got no help at all. As the professor, or anyone in a leader type roll, I think it necessary to understand who your audience is and form your message to fit that person, otherwise you’re just wasting your breathe venting your ideas and opinions. I think that perhaps this professor didn’t take into account that what he was saying wasn’t going to be appropriately understood and that he could have gotten his point across in a more constructive manner, ESPECIALLY considering his position as leader, teachers, and mentor. Keep up the good posts!

    • kelleyzwong March 16, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

      Yeah I think the same thing. I think everyone has the right to express their opinions, but the way he expressed it wasn’t congruent to his position.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you’re enjoying the break from school!

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