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Is ambition a dirty word?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
It seems that most people that have made it to the top of their field in the corporate/business world exhibit ruthless, nasty characteristics - look at Alan Sugar and all the leading capitalists at investment banks. As much as ever if not more there's all this talk about having to suck up to your boss, fuck other people over by undermiming them / taking credit for their work, playing the office politics game well, showing sheer ruthlessness eg no qualms firing people or trying to annihilate rivals etc. In many jobs it seems impossible to be 'nice', not have to do any of this stuff and be a success. Society / the media seem to generally respect 'successful' people, but aren't their character traits - ruthlessness, unhealthy ultra-competitiveness, perhaps insecurity driving their sheer ambition, all in fact NEGATIVE qualities, and in fact we should be aiming for the middle ground - people doing the best they can without exhibiting qualities which are generally not healthy for united progression of mankind?
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think it's partly because ambition often goes hand in hand with extreme competetiveness which makes many of these people appear to be arrogant and give the vibe they're too good for the rest. That is a negative trait, regardless of whether you earn a million per month and are a CEO or whatever.

    A ton of those people do come off as stupidly insecure, good old tinkler comes to mind who was neurotically trying to prove just how great his life was and how successful he was. If he was, then why the constant urge to convince everybody around him? Especially those of us that aren't good enough to hang around him. :chin:

    This discussion has taken place a few times before though. Nothing interesting came out of it before so I doubt it'll happen this time either. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Jaloux wrote: »
    who was neurotically trying to prove just how great his life was and how successful he was. If he was, then why the constant urge to convince everybody around him?
    Aren't most people like that, to greater or lesser extents? Facebook statuses, profile pages & photo albums all seem to a vain effort to prove to everyone else how great their lives are? The only truly 'secure' people I know are a small handful who don't bother uploading photo albums and changing their status all the time showing off what great things they're up to! Again its down to middle ground, too much of that I don't like but neither would I prefer everyone to moan how shit their life is.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's a bit of a myth you get to the top by continually stabbing people in the back. To get to the top in any organisation you've shown you can get the best out of your people, show loyalty to your bosses (so they give good reports on you), not antagonise your peers so much they refuse to work with you. Most senior people I've known are pretty good people persons - they have to be.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's a bit of a myth you get to the top by continually stabbing people in the back. To get to the top in any organisation you've shown you can get the best out of your people, show loyalty to your bosses (so they give good reports on you), not antagonise your peers so much they refuse to work with you.
    There's so many utterly shite people at the top! Look at Gordon Brown or George W Bush..! Or the CEOs / Global Heads of all these investment banks like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns that are blowing up losing thousands of jobs, listen to what these people say they are absolute twats! And on a much smaller scale you'll have people across the country who'll vouch for how their boss is a complete twat and difficult to work with.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd be more alarmed by someone with a lack of ambition
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    alexmck wrote: »
    There's so many utterly shite people at the top! Look at Gordon Brown or George W Bush..! Or the CEOs / Global Heads of all these investment banks like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns that are blowing up losing thousands of jobs, listen to what these people say they are absolute twats! And on a much smaller scale you'll have people across the country who'll vouch for how their boss is a complete twat and difficult to work with.

    Tbh... I think socioeconomic background plays more of a role for many of these people, than anything else. The opportunity for a better education, networks and not having to work during studies, more resources and greater opportunities.

    However, ambition is vital in the business world because business is about creating a profit. This does sometimes mean walking over others, but let's be fair... If you're the philanthropic type, or somebody dedicated to helping others then you're less likely to be attracted to a job which will generate a lot of money and power for you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It depends on what your ambition is. If it is your ambition to rise to the top of a corporate empire and shit on everyone beneath you, then yes it is a bad thing.
    If you have more modest ambitions, which amount to little more than wanting to better yourself, then how can it be?

    My ambition is to improve my photography to professional level, I might earn some money from it, I might not. Whatever happens I've improved.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I personally have a ruthless ambition to succeed in business and make extreme wealth. (extreme by my standard, anything 7 figures would do).

    I would settle for less, as long as it's good 6 figures annual and consistent.

    I don't particularly go out to stab people in the back but I have literally zero time for any lazy/incompetent people.

    I have one on my team at work at the moment and I can honestly say on a personal level he is just about bareable, but on a professional level I actually hate him and everything he stands for.

    lazy, incompetent, no attention to detail but thinks we owe him a living. It makes me sick and I can't wait to see the back of him.

    Blah, rant over.

    With regards to my goals, I am far far from them, but I aim to double my salary every 3-5 years so I will get there soon enough, in terms of the whole life picture - although I am very, very impatient.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No, I don't think ambition is a dirty word. Some people have it in bucketloads. On the other side, you've got people like me. I readily admit that I have virtually no ambition at all. I don't have any dreams about the future, no detailed plans about where I want to be by the time I'm 30, no visions of myself earning six-figure salaries. And none of this bothers me in the slightest. Why?

    Making detailed plans about the future is simply setting yourself up for disappointment. If you say that when you reach 30, you want to be married, have two kids, earn a six-figure salary and live in a big house, that's setting the bar stupidly high. You're just setting yourself up to fail, which is why I have no time for this kind of nonsense. Aspire for something, by all means - but it really shouldn't be the sole force which drives you forward.

    This topic reminds me, for some reason, of the "100 Things You Must Do Before You Die" lists which pop up from time to time. If these chronicles are to be believed, everyone should do as much travelling as possible, everyone should go swimming with whales, everyone should climb Mount Everest etc... I just yawn at these things. When you die, the people closest to you (the only ones that should matter to anyone) aren't going to remember you for the fact you were a multi-millionaire chief executive of some huge bank. They're going to remember you for your personality and the lessons that you taught them over your life. If people think you're a total bastard in life, that's probably how you'll remembered when you snuff it as well.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    stargalaxy wrote: »

    Making detailed plans about the future is simply setting yourself up for disappointment. If you say that when you reach 30, you want to be married, have two kids, earn a six-figure salary and live in a big house, that's setting the bar stupidly high. You're just setting yourself up to fail, which is why I have no time for this kind of nonsense. Aspire for something, by all means - but it really shouldn't be the sole force which drives you forward.

    Well I'm 24, already have two kids, own my own house (granted, it's not that big), and earn 32K so I personally think I'm on course, I study for around 4 hours a week for my next qualification which I will use to propel me to the next level, I can earn 50K with it with the experience I will have by then.

    This is Wales salaries as well, the equivalent in London would be 70-80K+

    We are also currently planning to move in 2-3 years (depending on our deposit and how the housing market looks at the time) and we are moving this house into my fiances name to rent out and I will purchase the new one in mine. This in the short term will provide no income but as time moves on, rents increase while the mortgage doesn't = more income. On top of that, in 20-25 years, I'll have another huge asset.

    I also plan on moving into my own business as a consultant if I think the money is still there and I am not making mega bucks in my organisation.

    I really have to disagree with your views and the fact you think it's "nonsense" IMO is just silly. I would be interested to see where someone with your attitude, and someone with mine both are, 10 years from now. I'm not trying to sound like a cunt, but I really would, maybe you could prove me wrong ? Personally don't believe it though.

    As for being the sole force to drive me forward. It isn't. My family are, I do it because I enjoy it, but also because I want my kids to have every opportunity in life and not to struggle like I did as a kid (I lived on a council estate at one point). Wouldn't it be great if they could finish uni without any debts ?

    I have worked very hard to get where I am and continue to work hard both in work and at home studying and attending college as well as spending time with my family. I am very proud take no shame in feeling like that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I would be interested to see where someone with your attitude, and someone with mine both are, 10 years from now. I'm not trying to sound like a cunt, but I really would, maybe you could prove me wrong?
    Oh, don't give me that crap. I'm a huge advocate of people bettering themselves. That's why I think it's an utter scandal that social mobility in the UK now is worse than in the 1950s. I just happen to have a different definition of this than you do. You seem to assess it in terms of money - and on many levels, I can't blame you at all. Depressing as it is to acknowledge, money's never mattered more in this world.

    I'm happy with the life I'm leading, you're happy with the one you're leading. Life goes on and all that shit.
    I have worked very hard to get where I am and continue to work hard both in work and at home studying and attending college as well as spending time with my family. I am very proud take no shame in feeling like that.
    And good for you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No its not a dirty word, however it depresses me that its so often only put in terms of money.

    Cheeseontoast; Will you really be happier earning 100k compared to 50k? Do you not think it is more complex than that, that happiness is largely to do with the relationships you have with your family, friends and those who you work with.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I would be interested to see where someone with your attitude, and someone with mine both are, 10 years from now. I'm not trying to sound like a cunt, but I really would, maybe you could prove me wrong ? Personally don't believe it though.


    I'm a year older than you, and decided a long time ago that a life of money grabbing wasn't for me.
    I have the qualifications and the potential to earn a lot more than my current £25k. But if that means doing an utterly soul destroying job in the sales or consultancy sector than I'd rather not.

    My job is totally rewarding. Every day I goto work and feel like I've contributed a tiny bit to society. Today 120, 10/11 year old kids from an inner city sink estate have left me, knowing what to do in an emergency. It might not sound as grand as landing a multi-million pound deal for a company that exists solely to make money, but it might have hopefully made 1 corner of the city I work in that little bit safer.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well I'm 24, already have two kids, own my own house (granted, it's not that big), and earn 32K so I personally think I'm on course, I study for around 4 hours a week for my next qualification which I will use to propel me to the next level, I can earn 50K with it with the experience I will have by then.

    This is Wales salaries as well, the equivalent in London would be 70-80K+

    I also plan on moving into my own business as a consultant if I think the money is still there and I am not making mega bucks in my organisation.

    I am curious as to what you're aiming to be that is going to pay those kind of numbers, and of course, what qualifications you are studying for. Not having a dig at you, just looking for more information.

    I think doubling your wage every 3-5 years is realistic enough for the first jump, but to aim for an increase to £120k+ in 6-10 years could be a tad optimistic, depending on a few factors. That kind of wage is definitely out there (I've been on it myself), but you will only get close to that as a consultant (which you did mention you are considering in the future). Very very few permanent roles will pay anywhere close to that. When the market is good, consultancy rocks. When it is bad, well... Lets put it this way, I am about to go permanent with a company. Not happy about it, but any job is better than none! :) Having paid holidays will be nice, too.

    The goal I set myself when I started making good money is that I will be earning double what my age is. If I am bettering that, then I am doing well. It's definitely good to have goals to aim for.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    yep another 5000 jobs lost today, time to find something permanent if you plan to stay in the UK...salary double your age is a good starting point to aim for though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yup.

    I've been achieving that for around eight or nine years now (sometimes I have trebled my wage, and more). Going permanent means I will drop to below my target for the first time since I set it (not helped by the fact I am 29 now :lol:).

    There will be many other benefits (like having a wage!), and it is an actual promotion, but I am still slightly disappointed. Just checked on listentotaxman.com and I am going to be over £3k down each month compared to what I am on now... :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Im on sod all compared to you lot!:lol:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MrG wrote: »
    Im on sod all compared to you lot!:lol:

    That's ok. You live in Durham ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    G angel, how did you get where you are today? I know you're ambitious and you've worked bloody hard to get there but I'm curious because I just feel completely lost in the earning-money world and just have no idea how to get going, or what to do or anything. I started ongoing temp work in a bank today, I'm earning £6 an hour 35 hours a week. It's my first office job, prior to this I've just done retail. It's all very well to aim high and aim to earn double your age but how do you know what to aim at? I mean, I'm 22 with a degree from York which is a pretty decent uni (not Oxbridge but still) and I know I'm not stupid and I do work hard at what I do. I just ... don't know what to do or where to do it!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There's nothing wrong with ambition. But I think there is something wrong with using your "achievements" to compare yourself to other people. Apart from the obvious flaws in using salary to determine how successful you are (there've got to be thousands of faceless and moderately successful lawyers, for example, who are on more money than the world's leading scientists, but I wonder who is more successful in relation to the field they happen to work in), it is also a bit arrogant in that it assumes that everyone has the same ambitions as you. If you've got something in life that you really want to do, then there's no harm in having a plan regarding the path you want to take to get there. But personally, I'm not one for the whole "ideal life" plan of being married by a particular age, having kids by a particular age, etc. I think that's something that has to be done when the opportunity comes along. You marry someone because it feels right, not because it's part of your grand scheme in life. I'm also not too interested in making a particular amount of money by a particular time in life. I have vague goals as to what I want to do in life, but I will take whatever money is the going rate for the job.

    And tbh, a lot of the most successful people I know aren't people who are doing something that was part of a plan. They are people who took opportunities as the came along, and happened to be good at what they did and so got offered new opportunities. A lot of careers are hit and miss in terms of whether you get opportunities. Being a musician, or an artist, or a writer is pretty much something that either happens or it doesn't. No amount of hard work can force the issue, even though hard work is needed to succeed. You just have to do what you do and see if other people like it enough to give you further opportunities. You can't have any sort of grand career plan, because you really have little control over it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    OK, well, it was a combination of a number of things, and I'll be straight up - I haven't stabbed anybody in the back on the way. Nor have I been ruthless, as old Tinkler would like you to believe you have to be. I have done my best to look after good old number one, as when you're consulting, it just has to be done... and I have also been properly screwed over once or twice, and it's not a nice experience in the slightest (can be expensive too).

    Firstly, I happened to have a bit of luck on my side (after a bit of bad luck). I have no A-levels, nor a degree, and I didn't have any related qualifications.

    Secondly; I'm not afraid to take a risk, and that includes relocating. Sometimes it has to be done.

    Number three is that I am lucky enough to have a bit of the gift of the gab. This works well with some people, and not so well with others. You can't win them all.

    Fourth was I was in the right place at the right time.

    Quick professional life story: I'd just quit a rubbish sales admin job at a car dealership in Bradford (a lot of stress for next to no money, and the last in a line of rubbish jobs) for a trainee software tester job I'd managed to blag. I didn't have any experience, but I'd messed around with computers for a few years at home. At first I didn't get the job, but the other guy backed out and I got the nod. A little lucky there.

    I started the job and the company went down the pan after 2.5 months and we all were made redundant (bad luck). I was really looking to getting into network admin (god knows why) and before we had to leave, but I was having issues finding a role with zero experience. The other tester had a call about two contract roles as junior testers... It was down in High Wycombe, and I still only had 2.5 months experience. We went for the jobs, and we got them. There was a lot of blagging and sweet talking on my behalf, and it just went from there.

    I've had good times, and bad times, and I certainly didn't have a career plan or path marked out. I've just gone where the road has taken me. Sometimes rough, sometimes smooth. I've made a couple of bad calls, and some great calls, but there we go.

    For me, it's all about taking a chance. Apply for something that you may not quite be qualified for and give it a shot. If it means you have to move away, then perhaps it's something you should consider as it is what I have had to do more than once.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    g_angel obviously I know your background from the conversations we have had previously and I take my hat off to you. You have achieved my goals at an earlier stage than in all likelyhood I will !

    On the subject of what I do, at the moment I do a role which is split between technical IP networking engineering (cisco kit) and managing a team of engineers which does the same.

    I have got my CCNA (cisco certified network associaited) and am half way to my first CCNP/CCIP exam - the next level up. In my area (bearing in mind I live in Wales - where wages are low), you can earn up to around 50K with CCNP/CCIP - obviously with a good skillset and experience, which by the time I am qualified I will have.

    I am also lucky that my senior manager in work who is 60 years old and has worked for giants such as IBM/HP has told me that I am the best person he has ever had the privaledge of managing on any team ever, and that I am going to go extremely high into the management of my current organisation, if that is the route I choose. It's very nice to hear, but after being fucked over a few times myself in my previous corporate environment, I am trying to ensure my salary by backing up my skillset with technical knowledge and certifications.

    With regards to my goal of 6 figure income, it almost certainly won't come from a permanent job in the short term, although there are senior network architects in my firm on 6 figures, they are in their early 40s now and been around a long time. I am planning on either earning around 60-70k (inc car allowance, which don't forget is 6-10K in my organisation) and the rest from work on the side, rental income from property and anything else I can possibly but my energy into. Even doing door work on the weekend if it pays enough and is do-able! lol (problem being now the wage)

    My fiance also has a few business ideas which I really hope we can turn into a reality in a couple of years when she has more quals and experience, which again adds into the plan.

    Maybe lots of people have my dreams and passion, I don't know, maybe lots of them fall down at the hurdles - again, I doni't know. All I know is, I have lived ina rich family, and a poor family, and seen a lot in my life, and it has given a drive to succeed and I am fortunate that at the moment, all the pieces in the puzzle are falling firmly into place.

    My last resort as you said in consultantcy. With my current experience and quals my daily rate is £200+. With my next one, it's 300-450/day and from there it's on wards an upwards.

    We have consultants coming into my firm on £700/day+

    For me, with my current family and financial situation, and the current economic climate (which you and i have been watching for a long time now) I am happy in my permanent role with prospects.

    When this recession/(possible depression?) has ended, contracting may be the way for me to go.. even if it's just to save the 15-20% on tax !!

    Some people say don't aim too high as it's a let down if you don't get there. For me, I aim as I high as I think is achieveable, if I get close, or even do well, I am proud and happy. Ce la vie.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for replying, both of you. It's really interesting to see how people have got to where they are.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    (Sorry... I don't have much time to write a long in depth reply)

    I think it depends on what you wanna do, what you are ambitious about, what you view as success.

    Personally, the idea of making any long term plans in my mid twenties terrifies me. I have a good degree from a relatively decent (albeit, not Russel group) university and a lot of experience for a graduate.

    For me, success is freedom, not being tied down. That is part of what attracts me to campaigning and project work (I'd like to end up in either in the long run), as they are both ad hoc and usually contract work.

    I don't want a mortgage, or marriage, I don't think it would be fair to have children... I don't like the idea of living anywhere for more than five years.

    I would consider myself successful if I had a skill I could use and move location with (hence I am aiming for a TEFL for now), globally, not just locally.

    KHSS... It depends on what makes you happy. But you're only 22... Some people change careers in their 50s... No stress... Just work and research, enjoy yourself. You just finished a degree... Chillax. :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Nothing wrong with ambition, when it is mixed with greed its bad.

    My brother claims to have endless ambition when he is in fact a greedy twat - wishing the rest of the family dead so he gets all the inheritance for example.

    People in business tend to use the term 'thats business' as a justification for bullying, greed and just generally being a prick.
    Being at the top of the pile of all the greedy nasty ass kissing disloyal pricks in business simply points those people out as being that kind of pillock.

    M ambition is to earn 15 grand a year and be a nice happy person and be happy with my life than earn 90 grand and be a complete bastard but thats just me :) Although i am not implying that you need to be a complete bastard to earn that much, it certainly does help!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    KHSS... It depends on what makes you happy. But you're only 22... Some people change careers in their 50s... No stress... Just work and research, enjoy yourself. You just finished a degree... Chillax. :p

    :)
    I don't necessarily want a career yet. My immediate aim is to earn enough money for us to buy a house. The idea is for us to save up a big wodge so that we can have a smaller mortgage and thus I won't HAVE to work when we have children. That is the aim right now, and we hope to achieve that within the next 4-5 years. After that, then I will think about a career.
    I'm not stressing about it really, but not earning enough to acheive that does worry me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My brother claims to have endless ambition when he is in fact a greedy twat - wishing the rest of the family dead so he gets all the inheritance for example.

    I knew someone like that... they changed their ways though :) but not nice to have in the family! Unfortunately people who become so self obsessed with their own wants they think the are justified in acting like a prick and everyone else is the weird ones for not being beautiful or rich or whatever.

    As for my own ambitions I am fairly ambitious because I believe you need to aim high to achieve high but if I don't meet my goal I'll still be happy with great friends lol :). As a barometer, by 30 I want to be on £20k, by 40 I want to be on £50k and by 50 I want to be on £80k. How I'm going to do that I don't know. I'd like to work in insurance as I find 'risk' really interesting but the field is competitive because you have the nobjockeys who just want the biggest paycheck and a boat in santa cruz.

    The reason I want the money is because I don't want to worry about bills, I want a relaxed lifestyle, and I want to be able to hopefully help my family out so they are in the same situation.

    Though I really enjoyed reading g_angels post. It's remarkably similar to both of my elder brothers who are also very successful. They have both been to court and been served directors bans for tax evasion but bounced back from that because like g_angel they were willing to take a chance (as for the tax evasion, it wasn't because they were unscrupulous, it was because their account was doing shortcuts and stuff on the business tax returns like classing personal expenses as business expenses and they got audited and... the rest is history.)

    Neither went to uni, but they are both now worth a lot of money.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah, it's more the fact that I don't want to worry as much as my parents have to about money. I don't really have any great love for money but unfortunately it's a necessary thing to achieve other things that I want to. I set more score by people and their beliefs and actions rather than their wage.
    My financial/career aim is to be on £15k a year by the end of next year. I reckon that's doable if I work at it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Meh, I'll hopefully be on 20 times the average national salary by this time next year. Not of this country, of course. ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Meh, I'll hopefully be on 20 times the average national salary by this time next year. Not of this country, of course. ;)

    :P

    What's the national average of income in Britain btw?
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