Back when I first entered the work force, I thought to get ahead that I had to do pretty much the same thing that I did in school: put my head down, go to work and put in long hours. I figured that the hard work would be noticed and that I would move ahead quickly.
Boy was I naive. All I did was create a situation where management piled on work without giving me rewards.
Now that I am older and wiser I spend up to half my time dealing with issues that have nothing to do with satisfying customers or creating corporate value: politicking, networking, stroking egos, managing conflict. And this is in a job where I am content to stay at the level I am at. I am not bucking for a promotion - I am doing this just to stay where I am.
But I am starting to figure out that this is what work is all about - at the higher levels anyway.