A Souvenir From Ireland: Career Advice From Oscar Wilde

– Posted in: career coaching, motivation

I just got back from a glorious 10-day trip to Ireland – Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Dublin city center, and all of the usual (but still extraordinary) tourist sites. One of the places we visited was the Writers’ Museum in Dublin, and there were a number of quotes from Oscar Wilde that made me laugh out loud AND provided great career advice. So a souvenir of Ireland from me to you is career advice from Oscar Wilde:

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. – Oscar Wilde

I don’t take this as a call to overspend, but instead to dream bigger. In what ways can you imagine a bigger, more challenging, more rewarding career?

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. – Oscar Wilde

If you do the same things day by day, you’ll get exactly the same results. If it’s working, great, but you run the risk of plateauing. If you’ve already plateaued or you’re stuck, what alternatives can you imagine and take action on today?

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you. – Oscar Wilde

Great reminder that it’s hard to deliver the truth sometimes so communicating in a lighthearted way is a good skill to have. This includes talking hard truths about yourself in a job interview or performance review (e.g., weaknesses, mistakes, areas of improvement). How can you be truthful but still engaging?

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. – Oscar Wilde

Even back then, Wilde knew the importance of branding. Do you put yourself out there?

It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating. – Oscar Wilde

Even Wilde knew the importance of a strong financial foundation. Good personal finance habits enable you to take risks, have the courage not to settle, and get by the employers who check your credit (as many do!) Jobs are not permanent income as they can go away. You need your own savings, investments and perhaps even businesses. What are your permanent income streams?

To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable. – Oscar Wilde

Don’t be the person who says they want something more than anything in the world (a career change, a successful business, a fulfilling career) and yet not do anything towards these goals. What are you proactively doing?

Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes. – Oscar Wilde

Speaking of actions, don’t be paralyzed by fears of making a mistake. Wilde is quite insightful here that most regrets are around what we don’t do, rather than what we do, even what we mistakenly do!

One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead. – Oscar Wilde

I know many professional’s whose life work is not necessarily their professional work – it is a personal hobby or a social cause. That is totally fine because sometimes you thrive with a separate “money job” from passion pursuits. But sometimes the professional career takes over and the passions fall away. Perhaps you’re telling yourself that someday you’ll get back to what you really want to be doing….Just remember that the only life you have is right now. Whether you follow your bliss professionally or just personally, are you leading the life you intend to lead?


***For more career advice (this time from Connie and Caroline), join us for a free webinar series: Confessions of a Former Recruiter. We’re both former recruiters, hiring entry-level thru executive for multiple industries, and we’ll share what works and what doesn’t for resumes, interviewing, negotiation, and more! Join us, starting September 9.***


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