How to Show Ambition at Jobs

by Stan Mack

Sitting down at a desk and doing the minimum required will earn you a paycheck, but showing ambition at your job requires much more than that. Ambitious people are energetic and passionate about their jobs, going the extra mile whenever they can and stopping at nothing to move their careers forward.


Take advantage of any training or subsidized education programs your workplace offers. Highly trained, well-educated people are always the most likely to succeed. Also, learn all you can about your company and industry. If you work in the accounting department of a paper supplier, head out to the warehouse and factory to learn the ins and outs of the business. The more you know, the more capable you will appear to upper management when it’s time for promotions.

Volunteer for Difficult Projects

Lower your expectations, at least for a while. Part of ambition is doing whatever it takes to get ahead. So be willing to take on difficult, unpopular or thankless tasks, at least until the extra work no longer provides valuable experience or skill development. Easy-to-complete projects might make your workday more pleasant, but difficult tasks increase your abilities and knowledge, giving you a significant career advantage over your peers.

Keep Busy

If your boss unexpectedly drops by and catches you loafing, she may think that’s what you do most of the time. On the other hand, if your boss finds you up to your neck in work, she’ll trust that you’re a hard, ambitious worker even when no one’s around. You never know who’s watching, so keep working. Also, don’t skim through your work or cut corners. If your boss spots careless mistakes, her opinion of your work ethic won’t be impressive. If she sees that you pay attention to the details and turn out high-quality work, she’ll reward your efforts with greater responsibility and trust.

Seek Advice

Ask co-workers and managers for career guidance. No one can offer more valuable advice than the people who are already doing what you want to do. A seasoned veteran might be eager to share valuable career insights and tips, and your manager will also welcome the opportunity to help you improve your performance. To boot, you’ll demonstrate to everyone that you’re ambitious and willing to work hard.

About the Author

Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.

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