It's an old adage that actions speak louder than words, and nowhere is this truer than in the workplace.

Particularly when it comes to nabbing a promotion or a better position, it's not enough just to express your interest. "You have to do two jobs before you get the next job," Noreen Beaman, CEO of investment management firm Brinker Capital, tells the New York Times.

Beaman learned that lesson the hard way, when at age 35 she decided to switch up her tasks at Brinker Capital (she was its chief financial officer at the time) and get some experience in sales. But a rookie mistake quickly turned her good intentions into a major setback.

"I closed a big deal on a handshake, and it blew up," she recalls. "I should have been fired. I lost all my political capital at Brinker. I had been there for more than 12 years, and now I was in the penalty box."

Rather than give up, Beaman worked until she was the No. 1 salesperson in the company and had regained her colleagues' trust. Her initial interest in sales wasn't enough — she had to dig herself out of a hole to prove that she could do it, and do it right.

"You can't just say, 'I want that next job,'" she explains. "You need to do job No. 1 really well and then maybe you'll get job No. 2."

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