Ambition: The Desire For Progress

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Ambition: The Desire For Progress
by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC

Ambition: The Desire for Progress

The desire for progress in your career is a powerful drive and motivator for success. How do you follow your ambition without jeopardizing your interests?

As recruiters we often see the result of over-ambitious decision making where someone who feels that they are ready to progress in their career overreaches and actually experiences a setback. There are many reasons that contribute to this situation:

Not having the patience to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience in their current position.

Wanting to progress in compensation terms in leaps and bounds.

Wanting to to take a faster than average track into management
without having the training or aptitude.

Not having accurately assessed personal strengths and weaknesses in making a move.

Not having a clear understanding of what the expectations of performance are in the new position.

Not having asked enough questions of the employer before accepting the position.

Exaggerating one's experience and skills in order to obtain a higher position.

Not having enough developed interpersonal skills.

Coupled with this the pride factor and the external pressures that are placed on people to succeed - friends, families and society, it is no wonder that when the temptation to cut corners and advance quickly arises, some people do not think their decisions through and make poor choices.

What are some of the questions that you should ask yourself when deciding if the time and opportunity are right for you?

Why do I want this opportunity?

Is it recognition, respect, increased prestige, greater challenge, more money?

Have I carefully assessed what demands will be placed on me and do I possess the skills and traits that will make me successful?

Am I moving because I am frustrated and want to challenge myself, or do I feel that I am not acknowledged and my contribution has not been recognized?

Do I have the experience and knowledge required for this job?

How objective am I in evaluating my strengths and weaknesses?

Am I being impatient and have I learned all I can in my present situation?

Am I moving because others - family members or peers have said that I should and I feel the pressure from them?

A balanced sense of ambition and realism is the fuel you need to reach your goals. Those who allow ambition to be their master rather than mastering their ambition often make short-sighted decisions. Pride and ego and the perception that others are getting ahead faster than you can influences decision making too.

Take the time to honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses and review the pros and cons of accepting a given opportunity. Objectively take inventory of your knowledge, skills and experience and make the effort to determine from the employer what will be expected of you. The decision you make will have far-reaching consequences and you owe it to yourself to decide wisely.

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