'I'm getting ahead in my career by using the "eat the frog" method.'

When I started my first job as an assistant, I took in every single piece of career advice that was thrown at me. 

I loved listening to stories of how my parents and their friends became successful - and the number one thing they all agreed on, which was embedded into their generation’s culture and work ethic, was the importance of saying yes to everything. 

Watch: How to tell if your boss is a psychopath. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia

So just like the weddings on the first ep of Married At First Sight, say yes I did. 

As an assistant who was very low on the food chain, I said yes to not only any request that was thrown at me, but to requests that were thrown at other people. “I can do that”, “No worries, so easy”, “Yes I have time to work on it.” 

But two years in, saying “yes” to everything had completely drained me. 

While it helped me gain two small promotions and a few title changes, I knew I couldn’t keep going at that pace. I began getting requests from nearly every team at the company and some from people outside the company (I'm not even sure how that happened). 


What made it even more frustrating was that I had teammates on my level who sometimes said...brace yourselves… the word no

Finding out I could say no without it impacting my career changed my work ethic completely. Of course, I still went above and beyond for my role, but I began being more tactical about what I could do. 

Around 2021, as the business's digital focus grew, my team became very busy and we began being given projects that weren’t exactly up our ally. 

I didn’t know it at the time but I am one of those jerks who isn’t naturally a team player. I’ve tried really hard, but if I’m working on a project, I want to be the only one working on it. I want to do it all and I don’t want other people involved. 

So when these tasks kept piling up for my manager, I volunteered to take them on, freeing up the rest of my team and my manager to do the work they actually want to do. 

Soon these projects became a big priority for the business and I was the only person who knew how to do them. 

I began carving out a completely new and fast-tracked career path for myself - all because I did the stuff that the rest of my team didn’t want to do. And I got full credit for doing them. 


But what I didn't know until now, is that this method actually has a name - Eating The Frog. 

Listen to the author's podcast: Things You Didn't Learn in School. Post continues below.

It's basically a theory that you can get ahead in your career by identifying the tasks your manager doesn't want to do and taking them on to build your reputation as someone reliable who gets the work done.

Former Google and Meta employee Andrew Yeung used this exact tactic in his own career, saying there are really only four steps you need to follow in order to get a promotion and I'm here to say that he is spot on. 

1. Be good at your job.

This one seems pretty self-explanatory but I think we can all name at least five people we’ve worked with who haven’t nailed this basic step. 

Know everything there is to know about the job you’re doing and be an expert at it. Whether it’s working at a drive thru or being an executive assistant, Yeung tells Business Insider to know the baseline of your role and do it well and then learn how you can do it better. 

2. Find out what your manager doesn’t enjoy doing.

For me, this was driven by me not liking to play with others. I didn’t really mind what I did, I just wanted to do it on my own. 

Everyone does tasks they don’t like. Everyone. 

Make note of the tasks that are dropped on your manager's lap last minute, or the ones that they seem to always be complaining about or the ones that they have requested help with from the wider team. 


3. Learn how to do the stuff your manager doesn’t enjoy doing.

Ask them if they need help on specific things, let them know you’re interested in learning what they do and ask if you can shadow them in meetings and/or processes.

 Ask questions but be respectful of their time. I’m a big believer in just figuring it out and checking later. 

4. Do the stuff your manager doesn’t enjoy and do them well.

There’s a reason those tasks were originally given to your manager - they’re most likely to be high-risk and high-priority for the company. 

Make note of everything you’re doing and the time you take to do them. 

If you’re succeeding at the execution of your manager’s original tasks, request to be only doing those tasks and ask if your other priorities can shift to a new starter or distributed amongst the wider team.

"Eating the frog ultimately builds trust and credibility," Yeung says. 

Without even knowing I was eating the frog, I’ve followed these exact steps and I completely agree that this tactic is the reason I’ve been able to excel in my career (with minimum burnout).

If you want more culture and zeitgeist opinions from Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.  

Feature Image: Canva

Love watching movies at the cinema or at home? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!