Americans spend almost 30 percent of their average week at work, which adds up to about 90,000 hours over a lifetime.
Entrepreneurs and other high-octane professionals average closer to 70- to 80-hour workweeks and rarely take a vacation without checking in at least every few hours.
With so much of your life spent on the job, it is crucial that you find fulfillment in your work—and accelerate your career.
To work your way into the role of your dreams, try practicing three simple steps:
1. Know your role. You probably received a tidy little offer letter before you accepted your current job; it outlined the tasks, duties and expectations of your role. It’s your responsibility to know that role inside and out, up and down, so you can redefine and enhance that position for your successors—once you’ve been promoted, of course.
Every single day, dive in. Become the master and champion of what you’ve been entrusted with, and highlight how that role is crucial to the organization. Be present; become irreplaceable. Management will find the money to support and develop invaluable employees.
2. Understand all junior roles. If you fully understand the work of those below you, you can lead and empower them to produce at their highest capacity.
This leadership and involvement translates into your having the time and confidence to do your job without having to micromanage or complete theirs. Effectively coaching and training entry-level or junior positions will elevate their work as they move through the organization, ultimately leading to a team victory for everyone.
3. Lighten your supervisor’s load. Moving up in a company takes time, but it’s absurd to think that a promotion is owed to you simply because time has passed. Show your desire and capability for the next position long before it becomes available.
Once you’ve found the flow of your own role and enhanced the role(s) below you, you are prepared to begin looking at the senior positions you strive for. Start with the role directly above yours in the organizational chart.
By offering to lighten the load of your supervisor and/or shadow their work, you will learn the intricacies of the elevated career you crave, while being able to incorporate some of those practices and responsibilities into your everyday work.
That way, when a promotion opportunity presents itself, your bosses will have seen you flex those muscles already, and you’ll understand what will be expected of you in that role.
No matter what role you find yourself in today, it is imperative to your success that you also start mastering and supporting the roles that surround you. If you have a genuine desire to be the best you can be in any position you’re given and proactively support those on your team, that work ethic will capture the attention of those above you.
Many mindful CEOs and executives evaluate the promotion scale just that way, and we, as a professional community, must understand it and communicate it to our juniors.
By encouraging those within the company to take a certain ownership of it and view their role as an “intrapreneurial” training, they will be much more likely to care about their work, produce at a high level, be fulfilled by their projects and advance the company as a whole.
Nicole Rodrigues is the founder and chief executive of NRPR Group .