Career Advice: ChatGPT or Your Manager? 

In a recent study conducted by Workplace Intelligence and INTOO, 800 HR managers and 800 full-time employees were surveyed to understand what’s missing for today’s workers – and it turns out career development tops the list. 

Here are a few of their findings: 

  • 63% feel their employer cares more about their productivity than their career development 
  • 75% report they’re received bad career advice, with many noting this advice came from their own manager 
  • 20% of employees say they’ve never had a career conversation with their manager 
  • 47% of Gen Z say they get better advice from ChatGPT than their manager 
  • 25% of employees, and 44% of Gen Z say it’s likely they’ll quit within the next 6 months because their company doesn’t support their career development 
  • 51% of the HR managers report that only 51% of managers at their company receive training on how to provide career development guidance 

Sobering results. Yet not surprising. Over the decades I’ve been involved with HR and people development, I’ve never seen stats giving much better results. Instead, it’s almost a direct reference to Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” 

However, just because I think the stats have not changed much over the years doesn’t mean I agree with the results. I think it’s pathetic that work relationships can’t have win-win results between a manager and their employees. I believe managers have a responsibility to their employees to help them learn, grow, and achieve their aspirations. And it doesn’t take rocket science for those managers to have some career navigation sense to assist their team members.  

As I hope you’ll see with almost all of our Crossroads Career materials, we want to provide you with support to get better results, regardless of the circumstances you face. So, in this case, let’s assume you have a manager who can’t figure out how to provide meaningful career advice and direction. Let’s look at what you can do to get that advice and direction, aside from ChatGPT. 🙂 

Remember Who You Are Accountable To

First, remember each of us has ultimate accountability directly to God. Romans 14:12 says, “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Not only for whether we accept His gift of salvation, but also for our earthly works – whether they were for ourselves or for His glory. 

Seek Out Constructive Feedback

Second, gain as much constructive feedback about your performance as possible. Ideally this comes from your supervisor, but you can also get useful feedback from your peers, friends, and any direct reports you have. This feedback can come through formal channels or informal conversation. You’ll need to again apply your accountability into this entire process, to both get the feedback and then discern how to best apply the feedback. All feedback is useful, but it may not be entirely accurate, so your filters will need to be used to figure out where the true gaps are present. 

Learn From Your Manager

Third, think about how you can learn from your manager what he / she has to give. He or she may not be prone to giving good (or bad) career direction, but they obviously have had work experience which led them to arrive at the supervisory position they possess. Asking good questions and listening well is the answer to many relational situations, and this one is no different. Asking them where they went to school, how they decided to pursue the career route they pursued, what they found useful for development, how they pursue development for themselves now, etc. will provide a wealth of useful information to play back to them for your own situation. 

Get Outside Counsel

Last, get outside counsel from people in and out of your organization that you admire and who seem to have direction in their career. Going through those same questions and following through with additional questions based on their responses will inevitably lead you to some practical and tactical ideas for yourself. Budgets for these areas may vary dramatically, so you’ll need to use your discretion on what to push for and on what to hold. 

Finally, ChatGPT can be helpful, but nothing comes close to getting “up close and personal” with others to capture the nuances necessary for career advice and direction. Blessings! 

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.

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