Profile picture of @binhonglee on Twitter. @binhonglee

Taking advice from others

There's been a few scenario where someone comes to me either saying that the advice they've found online aren't applicable to them, or they tell me an advice they received that I know isn't applicable to them.


In a lot of occasions, advice is something extremely subjective. People can only give advice based on 2 things, 1) what they went through, 2) what they saw / heard of. This leads to some level of bias based on who they are, where they live, what they do etc.

The problem here is that the bias is not always easy to identify. This in turn means that it falls unto you, the receiver to filter it.

When I was job searching, I read a lot of articles, blog posts, YouTube videos (really all sorts of contents) to learn about landing a job.

I'd say probably 85% of them are useless to me. Not to say those are bad content, just that it doesn't apply to me because they all have some level of implicit assumption that their reader is a US citizen / green card holder.

Even advice that looks "immigration neutral" like "networking" doesn't quite apply. I like to think I networked pretty hard back then. I went to every social event I can find and probably know too many people in Phoenix startup / tech circle.

I was sitting on panels, hosting workshops, mentoring / judging at hackathons (while telling every other person I was looking for a job lol) and I'm barely getting interviews. The idea of needing a visa sponsorship (in the future) scared almost everyone away.

Hence, when I wrote my blog on landing the first job, I focus on getting into big tech because that's what my experience told me. But one the implicit assumption is that the reader received a degree in US. Otherwise, it's a different set of circumstances.

I can go on all day about all the different visas, path to citizenship, each of their challenges etc. I spent too much time reading the USCIS site while unemployed that I ended up being on Twitter correcting "CPA at TurboTax" once I started working.

Point being, advice (including this one) is usually given based on one's past experience. It's likely littered with survivorship bias all over (with some level of privilege mixed in). In most cases, no one collected enough data to accurately tell you the important from the fluff.

It's up to you to find those that are applicable to you. I don't really call anyone out in here because all the "wrong advice" (from my perspective) wasn't crafted with "me" in mind. I took them hoping it would fit but alas, it didn't.

Hopefully you find this helpful. I try to write a thread like this every other week. If you're interested, I recently built this section on my personal site that documents all the Twitter threads I have written.