Career Vs Ambition - Reality Check

Career Vs Ambition - Reality Check

Career Vs Ambition - Reality Check

To build a successful career, you need to be ambitious, right? This commonly held belief is only partially true, and even then, being too ambitious could actually ruin your career rather than make it flourish. There’s this dream job that you have been eyeing for most of your early years, but once you get it, you realize that this may not be what you really wanted. Of course, nobody talks about it because everybody is wearing a mask and playing out a role. Image preservation is important in today’s world, to the extent of remaining in a job that makes you miserable. 

Your ambition could lead you to get promoted out of what you are most skilled at and into an area you have no aptitude for. The career ladder does not consider people’s abilities; it is one straight, and often a lonely way up. What happens when you find that, when driven by ambition, you can reach a place you did not want to end up in? Stepping down is not a viable option since it is perceived as a demotion, killing all subsequent chances of moving in the direction you want. However, you can step sideways and take a parallel path, doing what you want, and not just what others want you to do.

What is Ambition?


In short, being ambitious does not mean that you have to have the top job in a big company. Your career may not quite be going the right way if you’re frustrated, bored, or worse, even disillusioned.All said, let us not conclude that ambition has whatsoever nothing to do with one’s success in a career. Ambition is achieving something you are really passionate about!

How is a successful career measured?


Usually, the factors taken into account are salary, perks, promotions, and performance reports by managers. These are objective indicators and depend on several other things. For instance, getting a promotion is contingent upon the availability of openings or the nature of the role.A more subjective index of success in one’s career could be job satisfaction. After all, isn’t that why we’re all driven to do the work we do? Research has also proved that factors that determine objective career success are different from those that predict subjective career success. And the drive to succeed is fuelled by ambition.

Recent Studies on Ambition

A recent research study conducted on 990 people to determine the indicators of success categorized these people into three groups:

  • Not ambitious
  • Quite ambitious
  • Very ambitious

What they observed was that the more ambitious the people, the more likely they are to get promoted. Also, the younger the people, the more likely they were to go higher. In fact, the average age group of the people who got promoted was four years less than those who did not get promoted. A third indicator of career success was found to be vigilance, which meant having a questioning and challenging spirit. A cautionary note: the impact of these three factors was found to be moderate. So what does all this conflicting information mean? Ambition does have a role to play in furthering one’s career, but it’s not everything! What really matters is doing what you love and turning it into your career path!