Low-level grunt work can feel demoralising, but there’s a good reason to do it well anyway. If the people you work with don’t think you can handle making coffee, they’re probably not going to put you in charge of big projects.
That’s the message from President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige. Even if you’ve never heard of Kevin Feige, it’s hard to miss his work on the biggest film franchise in the world. Before he ran Marvel, however, he was rejected from film school at the University of Southern California five times, before eventually getting in. After that, he spent years doing low-level producing on movies like Volcano and You’ve Got Mail before finally getting a break as an associate producer on X-Men.
Feige delivered the above commencement speech at USC where he explains how important that early work was. It wasn’t glamorous to fetch coffee or walk dogs, but it proved he could handle tasks. Sure, not every boss will appreciate your dedication to immaculate TPS reports, but everyone notices when you do them poorly. Even if you feel like doing some kind of work is beneath you or not worth the effort, putting in the best work you can makes you the kind of person other people want to work with.