The sky is falling! Just ask your favorite business blogger! Out of work? Need a better job? Here’s five things you MUST do before your next job interview. Not selling enough? Here’s the six things you SHOULD be saying to all of your customers. If you find yourself irritated with with the flood of fear-engendering advice on social media, you’re not alone. As you read this, another list of the 5 things you MUST do is waiting for you in one of your accounts. Go ahead, read it, and come back. I’ll wait…
Back so soon? The article didn’t change your life? Below, I’ve shared my pet peeves with the melodrama of the blog posts I call “must lists”. They would have us reading all day if they could. After all, the danger of not taking their advice is just too great! Rest assured, you will not lose a good job or a big sale if you choose not to read my concerns below. You may, however, relate to some of the absurdity I discuss. I welcome your comments at the end of this post.
When reading sensational, must-list posts, first consider the source.
I admit, articles with titles like, “The 5 Keys to Winning Your Dream Sales Job” seduced me for years. Often, they are written by job recruiters turned career experts. Heck, I still read them today for entertainment purposes!. While masquerading as experts with close ties to employers, most recruiters do what you already do – send resumes and hope for a response.
When you gain experience selling in a field, you quickly advance beyond the shallow level of industry knowledge the typical sales recruiter possesses. Their goal is to send as many qualified candidates as they can to raise the likelihood of earning a placement fee. Their advice tends to be very specific and certain, yet unproven. Never talk salary. Always close for the next interview. Emphasize your experience in blank. None of this ever guarantees success. If they really were interviewing experts, wouldn’t they be working a better job?
Authors use titles with words like “must” and “should” to scare you into reading their blog posts.
On the surface, using these two words seems just part of living in the real world. It’s reasonable to think that you MUST sell product to stay employed. Ask a therapist, and you will be told beliefs using these words are irrational.
Underneath your “must sell” belief is a deeper, “must keep my job” belief. This tells you that losing your job makes you a bad person. Using ‘must’ and ‘should’ when giving advice is an easy way to appear authoritative without having any real responsibility. Nothing happens to me, the author, if my advice turns out to be useless. Even worse, I’ve now encouraged you to incorporate a ‘must’ or ‘should’ into your belief system. In reality, there are no must-Do’s or Don’ts, only choices. If you’d like to delve further into freeing yourself from the musts and shoulds in your life, read “How To Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT).
Blog posts titles often want you to compare yourself to others and feel inferior in an effort to get you to get your attention.
The nine habits of top performing sales people imply that whatever you’re doing, it’s not good enough. Somewhere in the list provided are surely one or more habits you neglect. Shame on you! Ask yourself, does this feeling of inferiority actually help you? Worse yet, does following these habits guarantee success? No two customers, products, or industries are alike. Why would there ever be a universal list of keys to success that applied to all of us? Before you can seriously question this, a new must list appears in your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter feed.
Bloggers (including your’s truly) can oversimplify complex problems.
Sometimes, the dilemmas we face simply need more time and consideration It’s like handing a widow a blog post entitled, “Six Quick and Easy Ways to Handle the Loss of a Loved One”, while she’s leaving the funeral. As blog writers, we want to gain your attention with quick, easy-to read articles that keep you coming back to our site. There’s no way to give you the same level of stunning and relevant insight in five minutes of reading versus an hour or longer. I reference books that dive a level deeper whenever possible not only to give proper credit, but also to provide a true return on the time spent.
The advice your given conflicts with other advice, even from the same blog.
Dress formally. Dress casual. Be aggressive. Be patient. Start a conversation with small talk. Never start a conversation with small talk. On and on it goes. Absorbing it all can be mind-numbing. As as misguided follower of must lists, you will easily find that whatever choice you make is wrong and worse, you should have known better. Inaction is often our response. Instead of feeling inspired, you’re left with a little less time in your day and a little more guilt.
Does chasing must lists sound like fun? Instead, here’s four things you can do to feel more fulfilled (just kidding!). As mentioned, I still read these kind of posts. No blogger or business writer wants to give bad advice and not all of their advice is bad. It’s often the packaging of their ideas that undermines them. And yes, most recruiters mean well too. I have friends who swear by them (instead of ‘at’ them like I do!). Just take what all bloggers say with a grain of salt. Look at all must posts with a healthy dose of skepticism. Finally, If faced with a serious problem, consider committing time to reading a book or speaking to an expert you trust and respect.
To find Dr. Ellis’ book on Amazon, click here.