Be Hungry

YOU may have seen those pictures of a man holding a sign “Will work for food.” Hunger can drive one to extraordinary lengths to provide bread for himself and his loved ones. What many people do not realize is that we must be hungry in other ways. No, I am not talking about drooling for wealth and power. Here are three examples of hunger that should propel one’s career to new heights.

Be hungry to stand out. The enthusiasm that got you the job shouldn’t fizzle out after you signed the contract. Most people, after obtaining the security of a paycheck, tend to coast along and just do what is expected of them. True, they show up at the office, day in and day out. But they add nothing to their resume that would make them attractive to the next employer. That is why most resumes seem to be mere recitations of job descriptions, which do not impress the recruiter.

So what must one do? Cultivate a passion that distinguishes you with superior work. Go the extra mile for your boss, peers and customers. Don’t wait to be told what to do. Propose solutions instead of just reporting problems. Strive for quality in your work, be crunching numbers, writing a report, or cranking out widgets. Do this even if it doesn’t seem to pay off immediately because in the long run, it will.

Be hungry to teach others. How did the Dead Sea get its name? Because all it does is to accept water from rivers but it has no outlet. As millennia rolled by, the water continued to evaporate and left more salt behind. The Dead Sea becomes so salty no marine life can survive there, hence the “dead.”

Don’t be a Dead Sea by being stingy in sharing your knowledge, skills and experience. Learn to be a coach to your staff or the newer employees, even on an informal basis. There is this famous saying, “Pay it forward.” Chances are you didn’t reach where you are all by yourself. Someone had to spend time and patience to teach you the ropes, be it your boss, a corporate trainer, or even an old timer in the company. So what better way to show your gratitude by doing the same good deed to others?

If you feel stuck in the same job level for years, could it be because if upper management will promote you, they don’t know who will take your place? As one climbs up the corporate ladder, he tends to rely less on technical skills and more on the “soft” skills that bring out the best in others. These skills include leading, motivating and communicating, all of them being somehow related to teaching.

Be hungry to leave a legacy. One useful exercise to gauge your value at the workplace is to ask this question: what happened to my employer as a result of hiring me? Did quality improve because you were on the job? Did profits flourish because of your diligence, be it by increasing revenues, reducing costs or expanding market share? Were customers more satisfied now that they can call you?

Our careers take up a lot of our time. Naturally, we want that time to count for something, otherwise we feel that we are wasting our life. Thus, be open to opportunities where you can leave a mark. That way, when it is time for your performance evaluation or even transfer to another company, you can point to something and say, “I did that.”

So be hungry in the right places. I hope that this article has… well, whet up your appetite. Enjoy the meal!

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