Break These 3 Rules for an Amazing Career

The problem with living by hard and fast rules is that so much of what makes life interesting happens in the gray areas. Nowhere is this more true than in your career, where flexibility is often more valuable than doing what "they" tell you to do.


(Photo Credit: Scooter Lowrimore/Flickr)

Don't believe us? Consider these career rules, which are often best ignored:

1. Don't cry at work.

When the great Tina Fey says you can cry at work, you know it's OK. Just don't overdo it:

"A lot of times people say, you know, don't cry in the workplace, but I find that if it's genuine, if something is so frustrating you to cry, that it actually scares the [bleep] out of people."

2. Don't use exclamation marks in emails.

Ah, excessive punctuation, the bubble-dotted eye and extraneous heart doodle of internet correspondence. It's definitely not a good idea to overdo the exclamation marks/emoticons/ALL CAPS SHOUTING -- but from time to time, among colleagues you know very well, a slightly more informal tone can actually improve your working relationship.

Just remember that clarity is all in written communication, and that it's easy to read things the wrong way -- for example, that smiley-face looks cheery to you, but it might read as sarcastic to your coworker who's having a rough day.

3. Don't change jobs too often -- or choose jobs that are too different from one another.

Ideally, of course, we'd all graduate from college perfectly prepared for the career of our choice, and then proceed through that career in a linear fashion, each title building neatly on the last. But life isn't like that.

While it's a good idea not to job-hop just to escape a boring position, or to leap without thinking about an opportunity in its context with your career, accept that your working life might zigzag a little. You can always recast your resume to make sure that future employers see how your diverse experience made you the excellent candidate you are today.

Tell Us What You Think

Which career rules have you broken? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


  1. 3 Dean 27 Sep
    ... This all seems fairly obvious. 
  2. 2 Ewald 27 Sep

    Too true!

     We sometimes forget we work with PEOPLE, especially in the IT industry, and emotion will always be a factor when dealing with people. If you see someone crying at work, out of frustration, sorrow or even happiness, it certainly adds a touch of emotion and humanity to the scenario.

    Communication by email is such a flat, disconnected medium, anything that helps to bring a point across should be considered. True, typing your ENTIRE email in ALL CAPS is a bad idea, but a bit of caps here or there for emphasis hasn't killed any kittens, yet.

    Lastly - sticking to one job just because you have been there for 10 years yet is just silly. I know of companies that have started up and gone down in 3 months or less, and with factors like this, it's no longer strange to see someone has had 3 job in the past 5 years.

    Great article, definitely three "rules" to just ignore!

  3. 1 Looking for a change 26 Sep

    Are these the rules to follow or the ones to break? Not clear.


  1. Please prove to us that you're not a robot:

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »