Recent research has revealed that many Americans dream of landing a job in sales. The average median pay in the field exceeds $52,000 and, more importantly, some 230,000 new jobs are expected to emerge by 2020. However, no matter how optimistic the outlook, the reality of the situation is that working in sales is often challenging; getting hired in such a competitive field can prove even more of a challenge.
In sales, the top quality that employers look for in job candidates is drive. Ambition, the potential to grow, the desire to succeed and all at constant levels. Some might argue that such traits and qualities are not quantifiable, yet there is a professional sales assessment test that revolves around the concept of innate drive. It also suggests that employers can reorganize their sales team according to the complementary qualities they possess and thus have staff members help each other develop. However, what any employer and employee must grasp before moving forward is the definition of drive, or ambition.
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According to psychologist Judith Rodin, older people who manage to maintain a balanced sense of ambition (which she transposes as a combination of “growth and mastery”) also report a more increased sense of well-being overall. Yet other research has proven that humans are essentially “programmed” to thrive on professional challenges and autonomy. Many employees who have been confined to otherwise boring jobs find ways to grow, even if those ways sometimes lead them astray from said career track and into new fields. The key to success, several psychologists and researchers argue, is to always adjust your level of expectations to your abilities. And being aware of the level of your abilities is actually the challenge: not everyone is equally predisposed to introspection and self-analysis, yet knowing your skills is worth the effort.
Another school of thought with respect to ambition operates under a motto derived from the writings of relatively unknown psychiatrist Elvin Semrad, who argues that “You can achieve whatever you want, as long as you are willing to pay the price.” This theory of expertise basically views (professional) ambitions as a sort of economic contract based on an investment-type transaction. The more time, effort, and energy one invests in honing a skill, networking in the field, and producing valuable input will eventually pay off in a materialization of the initial ambition. However, all that time, effort, and energy must inevitably come to be subtracted from other areas of one life. More simply put: yes, it is likely that a highly ambitious person will sometimes give up on leisure time, emotional involvement in personal relationships, and even a few days off here and there.