have a job you love. Your passionate about it and you believe the
work you are doing makes a difference. These work attributes are
important, but if you've got the right job with the wrong boss can
your career be held back or even damaged? Working for the right boss
can do as much for your career as an advanced education or unique
work experience. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton knew this at a
very young age, and by making sure he worked for the right boss he
was able achieve many successes in his career.
How Alexander Hamilton won a scholarship.
Alexander Hamilton was an ambitious young man living in Charlestown,
the capital of the island of Nevis, in the Leeward Islands. At the
age of 17 he was very fond of reading and learning. This led him to
write an article detailing the events of a hurricane that had
destroyed Christiansted, a town of Saint Croix. That article won him
a scholarship of sorts that allowed him to move to Boston,
Massachusetts, and attend school and get ready for college.
While Hamilton was in college the war for independence broke out. He
saw an opportunity to make a name for himself. He volunteered to
serve in the army and trained as a soldier early in the morning
before his college classes started. Soon he was off to battle where
he distinguished himself many times for bravery. During 1776 he
worked hard for the Revolutionary cause and caught the attention of
several senior officers who invited him to come work with them. He
refused. He was hoping to be invited to work for the big boss
himself, George Washington.
A job offer from the big boss.
He didn't have to wait long. George Washington did invite him to
come work with him and his select group of officer assistants. While
working for George Washington, Alexander Hamilton had the
opportunity to watch and learn from a legend in the making. During
the 3+ years he worked for Washington he met highly influential
people, wrote and managed Washington's mail to congressmen, state
governors, and the most powerful generals in the Continental Army.
Winning Washington's confidence was not easy. Washington has been
quoted as saying "Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and
let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence".
However, Hamilton did win Washington's confidence and was allowed to
serve as his representative in many high-level duties, including
intelligence, diplomacy, and negotiation with senior army officers.
Hamilton and Washington had over a 20 year difference in their ages
which may have explained their very different work styles. Hamilton
was always respectful to Washington and his orders, even if he
occasionally disagreed in private with how Washington would handle a
situation. In fact after serving beside Washington for nearly 4
years Hamilton was ready to move on and one day when Washington
reprimanded Hamilton for being late and he used the occasion to
resign and begin a new career on his own.
Why you want to work for the right boss.
Hamilton had strategically managed his options in order to get a
prized position working for an extremely popular and capable boss.
The skills he learned, the experiences he lived through, and the
people that he met because of his job working for Washington allowed
him to enter a political career that would take him to the highest
levels of influence in our country.
Are you working for a boss from whom you can learn new skills that
will allow you to advance your own career? Or are you working for a
boss who is holding you back? Choosing the right profession is
critically important to your economic well-being and your own
happiness, but it is just as important to work with the right boss
and team members.