Career Advice from a Stranger

There’s no way that I can write without sounding like a snob. I apologize in advance if you are the kind of person to give unsolicited advice. Oh, here’s one for you: Stop giving unsolicited advice, especially to strangers. Gracias.

I had a student the other day who really got on my nerves because he loved to hear himself talk. No, really. He loved to hear himself talk. I couldn’t help but be a little snide. Still, I tried to be as polite as I could and, well, he started getting too familiar.

“Let me guess. You’re trying to be a lawyer, right?”

No. I was, but not since I moved to America.

“Are you applying to grad school?”

Yes, but that’s none of your business.

“You should consider teaching high school. You could do a lot of good in this area. When God gives you a gift it’s your responsibility to share it to as many people as possible.”

Hm, lemme think about that. You know what, that’s the exact same reason I’m going to try to be a teacher. What. A. Coincidence.

“Oh, and if you’re going to grad school, make sure go Ivy. Go all the way.”

Go all the way? Jesus, it sounds like sex advice for the desperate.

I’m sure he means well. I’m sure everyone who gives unsolicited advice means well. But, listen, if I wanted advice, I would ask for it. Really, I would.

I just think any advice requires a certain level of familiarity. The kind where it’s established that what comes out of your mouth is not condescension but intended for my betterment. The kind where you can say something that can hurt my feelings and I can snap right back at you and later we’ll be laughing our heads off. Strangers just don’t get to have that rapport so they really shouldn’t be handing out advice.


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