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Career Advice: Are You Too Busy To Take An Aspirin?

Ramon Greenwood -- There are always opportunities for truly ambitious careerists at all levels of the organizational pyramid. You just need to act aggressively with common sense as your guideline.

Bosses who truly want to achieve career success delegate as much responsibility and authority to their subordinates as they can handle. Therefore, they have more time and energy to advance toward their career goals by shouldering duties of greater visibility and value to their employer.

Effective subordinates take on as much responsibility and authority as they can carry. This is the way they can grow into more rewarding jobs.

This dynamic of career rewards is as obvious as the nose on your face. Then, why don’t more people do it?

First off, ambitious careerists rarely want to give up power. Egos get involved. Sharing of responsibility and authority–sharing of power–goes against the grain of what has propelled them forward on their career path. The ambitious manager who really wanted to give up turf is a rare bird indeed. But they do it because they know it is the only way to get ahead.

The Headache Syndrome

Then there’s what I call the headache syndrome, as in “I’ve got a headache, but I don’t have time to take an aspirin.”

It goes like this:

“I am swamped,” the boss declares. “I have to have some help. I’d like to delegate some of my responsibilities, but I can’t find anyone who is ready to take on more work. It would take me longer to find someone willing and capable to do the work than it does to do the job myself. And besides, I can’t be sure the job will be done the right way if I don’t do it myself.”

Down the hallway, subordinates have a different view. “The boss won’t delegate responsibilities.” They are resigned to the situation, so they stop offering to take on more work; their growth is restricted. “Why should I keep trying to help the boss,” they say. “I’ve got a easy thing of it. Let the boss do the work, if that’s what he wants. Just send me my paycheck.”

The Fortress Mentality

These conflicting and self-defeating views result in a fortress mentality where no one wins.

But hold on. This siege creates big opportunities for truly ambitious careerists at all levels of the organizational pyramid.

Career Tip: There are six actions you can take to capitalize on this situation if you are willing to act aggressively with common sense as your guideline.

1. Achieve 110 percent of your goals.
2. Make sure your boss is aware of your accomplishments.
3. Delegate responsibility to others who can do the job as well as you can.
4. Work diligently to improve your knowledge and skills.
5. Volunteer to take on more responsibility.
6. Never steal the spotlight from your boss.

I wish you career success!

To get Ramon Greenwood’s common sense advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times and achieve your career goals, go to Common Sense At Work Blog. His published ebook, How To Get The Pay Raise You've Earned, available for download from, sets out comprehensive guidelines that will help you work your way through the challenge of negotiating the sensitive issues of why you deserve a raise. It also provides tips for how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot when you get an answer. Case histories of how not to campaign for a raise are included. Ramon has written this timely ebook based on a wide-ranging career, including serving as senior vice president of American Express; a professional of a number of companies; entrepreneur; author; and career coach. He is currently The Career Coach at Common Sense At Work. For further information, contact Ramon Greenwood at

© 2013 Ramon Greenwood

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