Career Development

Tough Career Advice: Do the Messy Work and Other Pressing Tips

Everyone has an opinion on how things should be done. Taking the initiative to oversee an effort to actually make things better is another matter entirely. But this sort of tenacity is what makes people stand out and paves the way for career advancement. In an article at, Katie Burke discusses why volunteering to be the one to do the “messy work” pays off, in addition to sharing several other pieces of good advice.

Advanced Advancement

If you need to know what exactly the “messy” work looks like, then think about what challenges your boss and people even higher up in the company are facing. Can you break ground there in helping them find solutions? If not, then Burke says to just think about the projects that could help the company but nobody can be bothered to start on, whether because they are too complicated or unglamorous, etc. Tackling a project like this is the perfect opportunity to show that you get things done, no matter the hassle involved.

Beyond that, Burke also discusses the importance of knowing what motivates you in your career—and the significance of communicating that motivation to other people. Knowing your motivation helps you plot the career steps you would like to take, and communicating motivation to others in the company (like mentors) enables them to help you with your career steps too. You can also go a step further and ask to set up informational interviews with people you admire, but the caveat here is that you need to commit to improvement when you do these things. And interviews need to be genuinely educational and not vaguely aimed at getting you a job, etc.

One more thing Burke recommends is to ask three people you respect for some “tough love” in evaluating how you are doing:

Ideally, you should have this discussion in person. Turn off your defensive brain, and listen. You are collecting data on you, it’s not personal. Ask questions, ask for examples, take notes. Then give it 24 hours to soak in and come up with a plan on how you will use this feedback to improve.

Performance reviews, pats on the back, and promotions make you feel great, but it’s what people say about you when you’re not around that likely has the biggest impact on your career.

For further tips, you can view the original article here:

Show More

We use cookies on our website

We use cookies to give you the best user experience. Please confirm, if you accept our tracking cookies. You can also decline the tracking, so you can continue to visit our website without any data sent to third party services.