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I used to work with a goofy guy who was so restless in his job that he used to apply for nearly every position that came open in our company.

It didn’t matter to him that the job wasn’t one he desired or whether he was well-qualified, he just couldn’t control his ambition.

I tried to reason with him. I told him he wasn’t doing himself any favors by applying for all these jobs. He just didn’t understand that he was creating a nuisance of himself among the managers who would have to interview him for jobs he wasn’t qualified for.

“If I don’t apply for jobs, how are they going to know I want to get ahead?” he asked. “Management likes it when you show initiative. That’s how you get ahead.”

I failed to convince him that he was shooting himself in the foot. Around the company, people laughed every time they saw a new job posting because they knew one guy who was going to apply.

Everyone laughed, except for management.

One manager was kind enough to take this guy aside and tell him that he had a reputation within the management ranks as “an indiscriminate job applicant” and that was probably more of factor in not getting promoted than his competency level. Some managers, he was told, thought he was an unhappy employee and wouldn’t be happy in any job he was hired for.

Here are some things to ponder before applying for other positions with your current employer:

Don’t rush into pursuing another job. You need to take the time to reflect on what you want out of a job, determine what things are valuable to you and what makes you happy. Do a skills assessment, and then overlay that with the skills required for each job before you pursue it.

Evaluate yourself through the eyes of others. Ask your friends and coworkers to list your good attributes as well as your deficiencies. You should already know these, but if more than one person points out something you haven’t noticed, it’s probably worthy of thinking about.

Don’t just take a job because it was offered to you. Make sure that you are accepting a job that is on your career path. Make certain it will lead you in the direction of your long-term goal.

Definitely apply for suitable jobs, but make sure you are serious and have thought-through whether you would be happy in this job. If you are not convinced that you would be, pass over that job.

Most companies want to promote their most competent employees. One thing they don’t want to do is go through the motions of considering someone who isn’t qualified or fit for a particular job. This wastes time and ultimately will be held against you. Perhaps it will even short-circuit your career in that company.

There’s nothing wrong with having ambition, but you have to be able to demonstrate that you can control it. That’s one of the marks of maturity that employers will be looking for when they promote someone.

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