Search form

Mind Your Business: Think Ahead – Get Ahead

Mark Simon writes that if you think beyond your position you'll get beyond your position.


From the moment someone starts their job, they ask:

How can I get a raise?How can I get a promotion?How can I get my boss’ job?

How? By doing more than you are asked, before you are asked.

Let me explain. The way I look at it, if you are just doing your job, you’re not doing your job. A great employee is one who looks at the big picture, everything that’s happening, and figures out on their own what needs to be done next.

If you are always waiting for your boss to tell you what to do every step of the way, you will not advance past your current position. But you may not stay in that position since a newer employee capable of thinking on his or her own is likely to move into your position.

Budgets are dropping which means we can hire fewer employees and each employee should be able to help us in as many ways as possible.

If you can take care of a problem before I even know a problem could exist, I’m going to want you around. So will other employers.

The best way to get promoted to a new position, is to already do the job of that position. I don’t want to hear you tell me that you can do something, I want you to show me that you can do it. The easiest way to show it is to already have done it.

When my wife, Jeanne, and I moved to Orlando 22 years ago, she wanted to move up from a production coordinator (which she had been in Los Angeles) to a production manager position. She knew that she needed an example of a production breakdown and a production board to prove she could organize a big production.

Jeanne decided to do a full production break down of the Francis Ford Coppola script The Conversation. She did a complete schedule, breakdown and production strip boards. It was a huge undertaking, just to prove she could do it.

Jeanne got a call from Nickelodeon to interview for a production manager job. She went in with her presentation materials, which included her feature breakdown and production board. Jeanne was clear that the board was an example of what she could do and that she didn’t work on the actual movie (she’ll be glad that I told you she’s not old enough to have worked on the 1974 film).

Even though Nickelodeon shows don’t do breakdowns like Jeanne’s sample, her ability to organize was clear. Add to that the fact that she spent a huge amount of time on her own to prove what she could do impressed the woman who interviewed her.

Jeanne was offered the position of production manager at Nickelodeon during her first interview.

The same process worked for me. When I was art directing in Hollywood, I wanted to move into storyboarding. No one wanted to hear me say I could storyboard. They wanted to see my storyboards. So I drew a bunch of samples and went to Storyboards, Inc. to show them my work. An agent there gave me notes, I made new samples and kept going back. Once I had great samples, he gave me work.

If you are already working for someone and want that promotion, step it up and do the work as if you already had the new position. Make their decision easy. Once they see you do the work of the position you want it’s a small step to getting the position that you deserve.

When you think ahead, you move ahead.

Don’t say it, show it.

Mark Simon, is the co-founder of and the owner of Animatics & Storyboards, Inc. He is co-hosting the TeleSummit Sell Your Script in December. Go to to register and for more info.