“I have my whole career thanks to my willingness to make the coffee!” by Alison Green on April 20, 2011 I loved this comment that Kat just left on an old post about a receptionist who was fired for refusing to make coffee: I have my whole career thanks to my willingness to get/make the coffee! In my last semester of college, I decided the LAST thing I wanted to do was teach, but I had NO idea what I did want to do, so I sucked it up and finished my degree and figured I’d temp through the summer and then decide what to do. The first call I get was for data entry, and I turned it down because it was too far away/low paying (this was ten years ago, better economy!), then they called me back 10 minutes later and asked if I’d be interested in an Executive Assistant position with the same company (which technically, I was grossly under qualified for) for a much more reasonable salary, but the catch was that I had to be willing to make the coffee. My agency rep wasn’t sure if it was every day or for meetings, I just had to make the coffee, the last person wouldn’t/couldn’t do it, so they quit. Being fresh out of college, I said sure, I figured making coffee would be a “paying my dues” type thing. So, I show up for my first day and the first thing out of my mouth is, “Where’s the coffee pot? I was told I needed to make the coffee?” Of course, it turns out that the other temp was crazy, they’d never asked her to make the coffee…the real issue is that there was no set tasks or anything for the job, you needed to be a self starter, and figure it all out on your own and ask questions, and know when to just be quiet and work. So what was supposed to be a summer job has turned into a 10 year (so far) career with 2 promotions and a decent salary (more than I would have made teaching, although less time off)! All because I was willing to make the coffee… :) Me again. This is exactly why people at the beginning of their careers should be willing to jump in and help with whatever’s needed, without grousing about it, feeling undervalued, or feeling above certain tasks. If you have a great attitude and take ownership even for the little things, you’ll quickly work your way into something better. Even if your current employer doesn’t reward you for it, you’ll start impressing other people who see how you approach your job, and you’ll start creating a network full of people who will be glad to help propel you forward. You may also like:how can I completely disconnect from a difficult former boss?my boss won’t stop pressuring me to work more hourshow can I help my unhappy boss?