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A Conscious Career: Doing Your Job vs. Going the Extra Mile – Part 5

going the extra mile in your career myleik teele anne lammott

I find career talks fascinating. I don’t know how many 99U interviews and articles I’ve read on all sorts of creative endeavors and careers. Well, I know because I save everything I read, and I’m sharing some of them with you below:

Recently, I came across the term “multi-passionate” and felt seen. I can’t wait to use it in the next conversation I have with someone unsure about their career path because of their wide range of interests.

Too Much Effort?

Besides the career direction conversation, another theme that I notice consistently is effort…or lack thereof.

According to four professors on The Conversation, going the extra mile at work could be a backwards step.

What’s best, going the extra mile or only doing what’s asked of us? 

A lot of people seem to think that going to work on time and doing their job means they’ll get a raise, a promotion, become a manager, etc.

Listening to the podcast of one of the most inspiring people professionally, Myleik Teele, I heard a question along these lines:

“Dear Myleik, I’ve been showing up to work on time every day for the past year, doing my job consistently, and even though I asked to be promoted to a different position in a different department, I was rejected. Now I feel disappointed. What more can I do to make them see my worth?”

Myleik’s answer was on point, as always. Like myself, she’s a proponent of going the extra mile, always.

Why do we want to be rewarded for doing what we’re being paid to do? How can people see our worth if we’re not showing them?

The Superstar Experience With the Mediocre Performance

Whenever I hear people contemplating whether they should do that extra thing their boss told them about, whether they should take on more responsibilities than is required of them, I say: in what way is going the extra mile bad for you?

While I started writing this with professional settings in mind, this applies to relationships as well. 

Not cheating is the bare minimum for a monogamous relationship to work, not an accomplishment or a show of morality.

Yet, so many people expect the relationship of their dreams without putting in the work necessary, as a person or as a partner.

We want a:

  • Promotion without showing we’re reliable or capable of taking on extra responsibilities.
  • A long list of perks and benefits and PTO and a large salary, without offering much in return.
  • Superstar experience while offering a mediocre performance
  • Perfect relationship with the person of our dream, without the work we need to do to become our better selves, without the pain of self-growth, without difficult conversations, and without having to navigate the previous BS passed on to us from our families, societal expectations, or previous relationships

What you put in is what you get out. What you reap is what you sow.

Leftover Corn Cob
Photo by Jesse Gardner on Unsplash going the extra mile career
Like corn, for example.

Putting in The Work

In our society, stories of one-hit wonders and overnight successes are all over the place. If only you could find a way to be at the right place at the right time, then you’d be set for life.

There’s a slimmer than Slim Shady chance of people reaching their extravagant goals overnight, a.k.a. without actually putting the work in.

“There was a certain point earlier in my career where I was basically sacrificing almost all of my time to work, and I didn’t have a lot of time for friendships and relationships and things like that. Some people might say they regret that, but I actually don’t. Early in your career, you’re proving yourself, and you just have to work five times as hard. There were days where I’d work a full day at one job, then come home, lock myself in my room and work on two other freelance client projects.”

Rob Vargas, Bloomberg Businessweek Creative Director for 99U’s If I Had To Do It All Over Again

It’s all about mindset, baby!

Vargas knew the importance of doing the most.

The problem is we frequently see ourselves as employees, not as bosses.

However, when people think of starting their own companies, they wouldn’t hire someone doing the OK job they’re doing right now. They’d want a pro, the best out there.

A lot of people have an issue with going the extra mile. They associate higher positions with abuse of power. They consider the extra time wasted, the effort beneficial to their superiors at work only.

This is simply untrue.

Unless you’re up for going the extra mile, do the work others smirk at, and prove your worth, it’s hard for your employers to bet on you. It’s hard to bet on someone who doesn’t bet on themselves.

My opinion on going the extra mile always circles back to why not? Why not?!

Be it in friendships, romantic relationships, or the workplace, I’ve never lost a thing by doing more than I should have, by striving for the best possible outcome, by not settling.


Putting yourself out there opens you up to all kinds of connections and opportunities.

No matter what sad story you’ve told yourself about being invisible, people take notice.

Your mind takes notice too and creates something a little bit better and more beautiful each time.

Excerpt from Bird by Bird by Anne Lammott going the extra mile career
Excerpt from Bird by Bird by Anne Lammott

“You can’t use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

If you want it all, you must give it all you got!

I’ve been posting this series about education, careers and how to choose them to my blog over the past few weeks. I thought I was finished, but apparently not. Find the others below
First – My Uncomplicated Relationship With Education
Second – Choosing a Major, the Pros and Cons, Usages, Realizations, and Regret?
Third – A Trip Back in Time, Stats, Action Bias: How to Find the Perfect Job for You
Fourth – What I Wish I’d Known & Three Ways to Make a Difference, Wherever You Work

1 thought on “A Conscious Career: Doing Your Job vs. Going the Extra Mile – Part 5”

  1. Cool! You reap what you sow. That is how I grew up. Hearing that exact statement from my grandma who came from Russia to Canada.

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