Hard Work Alone Is Not the Path to Career Advancement

hard workAre you stuck in a career rut? Do you find yourself putting in the hours and effort with little to nothing to show for your efforts? Maybe you’re tired, overworked, and underappreciated despite your hard work on the job. Sure, it’s possible you might have made the wrong choice when it comes to your employer or career. Let’s not push the panic button on career advancement yet, though.

Maybe the fault lies in your approach and is much more “fixable” than you thought…

We’ve all heard the colloquialisms regarding hard work and advancement in our professional lives. Sometimes, however, simply rolling up your sleeves and putting in additional effort isn’t the best way. You’ve probably heard the expression that repeating the same action multiple times and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Simply plugging along in your job and expecting a better outcome is much the same.

All hope is not lost, however.

There are far better approaches to digging in that will help you overcome obstacles. Each can lead you to big-time career advancements.

Interested in what we have to say? Then, read on for five reasons why hard work alone won’t advance your career. And, of course, our suggestions about alternative approaches sure to see you maximize your returns.

1. Working Hard Does Not Enhance Your Circle of Influence

Putting in the extra hours at the office may allow you to increase the rough quantity of your work. But it doesn’t leave much time for other career expanding activities. Making the move to management or otherwise climbing the corporate ladder will require taking on additional responsibilities while still managing to deliver results.

Simply put, you’ll never have enough hours in the day to accomplish all that you’ll need to succeed in the upper level. At least not without developing better solutions than simply applying greater force. Take the time to connect with other departments within your company. Offer to expand your duties or chip in on a project. Utilize your current team members. Also, capitalize on efficiencies to get more done without busting your labor bank.

2. Working Hard Does Not Secure You the Right Relationships

When you work harder the first inclination is often to put your head down and keep plugging away. This can lead to deleterious results via a lack of ability to network or make personal connections with others in your workplace. Its imperative that you get your daily tasks done. But don’t sacrifice your ability to attend that after hours social function or engage in water cooler talk with coworkers. It’s these kinds of soft communications that are often necessary to make big upward career moves.

3. Hard Work is No Excuse for a Poor Attitude

Often times people that work hard assume that dedication is adequate compensation for other failures in personality. Let’s correct that misconception with a solid “NO”! Coupling hard work with a less than positive office personality only builds resentment among your co-workers and certainly won’t win you that promotion. Companies value teamwork and a stable work environment. Don’t assume that working hard gives you a free pass. Instead spend some of that extra effort on being a great team player which will yield better results all around.

4. Hard Work Doesn’t Provide Extra Insight

Another misconception would-be Type A’s often have? That it’s only through hard work that you can learn what “life at the top” is truly like. Sure, executives and upper-level management certainly have accomplished quite a bit to get where they are now. But much of that has come via an application of their intelligence as much as their sweat equity. Those who truly succeed know: It takes ingenuity and pure grit in equal parts order to get the most accomplished.

5. Hard Work Doesn’t Help Others Succeed

Our last reason on our list of why hard work on its own won’t advance your career may not be as intuitive as our other points. If you’re worried about your own success it may not seem obvious,  but you need to ensure others work their way to the top as well.

The truth is that stepping on others is never going to give you the leg up in life or in your career. There will often be times when you’ll need to assist a manager so that you clear the way for your own upward mobility. Similarly, you may need to help get a teammate promoted. That way, your entire group can receive the recognition it deserves.

Hard work in and of itself is not a guarantee of career advancement.

Yes, you definitely need to put in the effort, show up, and excel at your position. But it will often be brains that win over brawn. Consider where you spend your best efforts and exercise your talents with a precision chisel. In the end, you’ll accomplish far more than simply applying additional effort for the pure sake of it.


For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.





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