Okay, I’ll admit that the title is for effect, but the other day I was talking to one of my old bosses, and we were chatting about the good old days. It seems that since I left the place, sales have gone down, productivity has suffered, and people just don’t seem to be having fun like they used to be. Some of that she attributed to me, but some of it is just because they don’t make good salespeople like they used to.
She told me something that really struck a nerve: she said that the biggest thing she is missing is the stark naked ambition that I had when I was there. See, I went, in a very short period of time, from being a part-time teller all the way up to Operations Manager. I never hid the fact that I wanted to move up in the company, I took stupid chances (luckily most of them paid off!), and I was fiercely dedicated to the company. She told me that I forced her to be better. She came in after I had already been there a while, and when she got there, she thought it was going to be a zero stress job.
She was shocked that I took the initiative to do things like automating some management functions, establish a training program and schedule, and establish goals for the rest of the staff. She had seen similar projects at bigger institutions, but she didn’t believe that these things would work in a smaller setting. She confided that there were several times when she felt that she was competing for the job, and that she felt the company did better for it.
I told her about F4Y, and she made me promise to teach young people the importance of working at a job every day as if you were auditioning, or could be let go any day. I never thought of it that way, I just really wanted to do well, and I really wanted the company to succeed.
The truth of the matter is, I know that many of you who work do so in jobs that you don’t want to be your career. You are planning on enjoying life, and putting in the extra effort just doesn’t fit in with your plans. I get it. But I will say that you will enjoy much more success at work if you have the ambition to do well. Even if you don’t like the company, consider that every day at work is an audition for your next employer. I could talk for days about people who were given incredible opportunities just because they worked hard at the most menial of jobs.
Call it stark naked ambition, call it strong work ethic, or call it bull-goose stupidity, but this is definitely an attribute you need to have if you want to succeed in the workplace.