Do Work Below Your Pay Grade

I once worked in a corporation where you never talk to the CEO. Then I joined a new organization. One day, I was checking my slot in the mailroom when the CEO walked in. I pretended not to notice. He greeted me by name and we exchanged some small talk. Wow! That blew my mind and I remember it to this day.

Fast forward to another company. I was sitting in a meeting where lunch was provided self-service style. When I finished, the CEO, who happened to be walking past, cleared my dirty plate and emptied it into the garbage bin. Wow and wow!! I am still dumbfounded today. By the looks of the other people at my table, I knew that this was *not* normal.

Most of us aspire to advance our careers and move to a higher pay grade. We want to leave the low-level dirty work behind. Actually, it’s doing the dirty work really well that helps us advance. A lot of that low-level work is still manual, service-based, and it’s about helping others. Do it with a caring attitude and see your relationships strengthen and your influence grow. Then senior leaders will listen to you when you have something to contribute.

At a reunion with former colleagues, others didn’t mention the work I did, the projects I completed, but more so they remembered the way it was done and the feeling they had. Likewise, you will be remembered less for what did and more for how you cared for people. These are the very same people who will either support you at the next level—or not.