Too ambitious for the job?

OULS Reporter Catherine Howell shares her experiences in the legal sector

Four years ago I was told that I hadn’t been successful in an interview because I was too ambitious.

I knew the verdict before the interview had even ended because the employer was very direct with me about the subject, which I did appreciate. Even through my extensive efforts of reassuring the employer I was the perfect candidate, I had failed.

The employer’s main concern was that I was overqualified and thought I would get bored of the role quickly. In a formal manner I replied, ‘I am very bright but I do not have the experience therefore this would be the perfect stepping stone. I am patient and I will put in all my effort. I would be loyal to the company as I can see a path for me to progress, I won’t complain about no progress in three or four years but I would in thirty years.’ It was not until today I realised being told you are too ambitious can have a serious negative effect.

I was 18 years old at the time and I had applied for a junior office assistant position at a law firm. I could accept that there were more suitable candidates for the role, what I could not accept was their reasoning.

Being ambitious is exactly what we need in every youth these days. We live in a society where debt is prodigiously high and employment is prodigiously low.

Do we want to knock the confidence of teenagers down?

Do we want teenagers to take the easy route and rely on welfare?


Don’t tell them they are too ambitious. This concept requires the acceptance of both employers and employees. In society you have to start from the bottom and work your way up, this may take months or years. For me, the knowledge of it being one step closer to my career was enough. I may have got bored of the job, but is this not true of every job, career, activity, routine? The difference is I had other commitments which would have kept me stimulated and I would have made a conscious effort of keeping the tasks of the position alive. If all youths could adopt this belief, and employers, perhaps employment statistics would rise.

Good things come to those who are patient, but put the effort in.


Written by:
Catherine Howell – OULS  Reporter



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