Do Your Job First

Today I read a Medium post called You’re Only 23. Stop Rushing Life which resonated with me. As a very ambitious person myself, who has always looked for what’s next and where I want to be in life, I understand the desire to be constantly asking for feedback. In fact, many of us who were considered gifted and talented have been told to ask for feedback constantly so that we can get better.

I had an experience as a manager once that reminded me of an important part of growing up as a professional, especially when you are very driven and want to succeed in life:

Do your actual job first before asking for more responsibility.

I had a person on my team who was young and ambitious. This person had jumped jobs a few times before the age of 23, but they had worked hard and always been given more responsibility, which is something I always look for when hiring people. I want smart people who will work their way out of a job.

This person, however, was only in their job (at the entry level) for two months before they started asking me for not only more responsibility, but also a different job from what they were hired for. Nevermind that I didn’t have the ability to give them that job even if I wanted to (different department), but this person had not even proved that they could do the job I had hired them for.

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Being ambitious is good. Using others as a stepping stone to get to where you want to go is bad. Knowing the difference is important.