Tuesday, August 04, 2015

What Is The Deal With People And Asking For Then Rejecting Advice?

I hate when people give me advice I didn't ask for. I might mention something offhandedly, then all of a sudden for the next two hours I'm listening to some stupid lecture on a bunch of stuff somebody thinks I need to do, but I'm not going to do. Usually because it doesn't apply to my situation or my style of handling things. Or I lack the time, energy, focus, money, etc to carry it out.

Equally annoying is when somebody complains to me about some situation, actually speaks the words "What should I do?" Then, when I point them to a book, blog, YouTube Channel, or something that I believe will give them exactly the answers they need specific to their situation, I get rebuffed with "I don't like that kind of stuff." OK, fine, hope you enjoy living in the crap you were just complaining to me about.

Several years ago, I was let go from an engineering job. A friend of mine was let go by the same company a couple weeks later. The job market sucked. I got my real estate license and worked that for a few months until I picked up a job in Virginia and relocated. Six months later, I was working again. My friend was unemployed for two years before he finally got a job again.

At one point, Ramit Sethi was doing his "Finding Your Dream Job" program, and even though it was an expensive premium, he had some really good free information. I sent the link to my friend, who immediately dismissed it as "sounds like a scam".

I wanted to respond "All right, stay unemployed. No sweat off my balls."I let it go.

One thing I've found is advice from other people is worth exactly as much time, effort, and or money as they're willing to put into helping you follow it. Especially unsolicited advice.

After my divorce, a lot of people would tell me I should sue my ex-wife for custody of my children. I finally started replying "Great! And how much are you willing to contribute to my legal fund?" That usually shut them up. I've found that's a better tactic than politely explaining why you can't do what they're so insistent is right for you. Take out your calendar and ask when they'd like to come over to help you sort through it all. Force them to put some resource or other where their mouth is.

I've made it a point to never give advice unless it's asked for. And even then, it's rarely worth the effort unless the person asking is serious enough to be held accountable. Otherwise, they're just looking to vent. And I don't mind that. It would be nice if people knew themselves well enough to understand the difference between "I genuinely would like advice or assistance" and "I just want to talk about my feeeeeeeeeeeelings".

One thing I've found when I'm deliberately looking for advice is to seek only those people qualified to give the advice. For instance, I'm giving some thought to getting a Master's degree in Cybersecurity. I'm not asking people without a Bachelor's degree whether this is a good idea. I'm approaching contacts and friends who have both 1) A Master's Degree and 2) work in Cyber Security. "Folk wisdom" does not apply in this case. I don't want platitudes; I want to know if this is a wise choice from people who know my skills and abilities as well as the field. I have asked my wife because it could affect our finances, which qualifies her to consult with me on this decision.
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