If your job requires you to check e-mail more than twice a day, you should probably be looking for a new position. That’s what Michael Masterson told me in a recent editorial meeting.

Customer service reps, IT techs, marketing assistants, and even middle managers – all of these people have to check e-mail constantly for work assignments, to answer questions from co-workers and supervisors, and to deal with crises. If they didn’t, they would probably be fired. Yes, the work they do is necessary for the success of the company. Problem is, because they’re tied to their inboxes, they are unable to focus on the more important aspects of growing a business: new product development, testing new marketing strategies, increasing profits, and the like.

But if you’re in one of these jobs, you don’t have to stay there. Your goal should be a high-level executive position – more freedom, more decision-making capability, more direct influence on your company’s profitability… and a higher income.

Here are several strategies that Michael has talked about in ETR and his books to help you climb the corporate ladder:

  • Distinguish yourself from other employees by excelling at your present job.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be typecast because of the work you’re doing now. Volunteer to take on new responsibilities outside of your job requirements.
  • Network beyond your department. Reach out to powerful people inside and outside your company.
  • Don’t burn any bridges on your way up. You never know whose help you might need in the future.
  • Assist – and learn from – the person whose job you aspire to. They might even groom you to be their replacement when they move on.
  • Develop a financially valuable skill – one that contributes to the company’s bottom line. As Michael said in Automatic Wealth for Grads, that means being involved in product creation, marketing, sales, or profit management.

E-mail is a useful business tool, but it shouldn’t rule your work and your career. If it does, you need to make a change.

[Ed. Note: Don’t be intimidated by the idea of trying to move your career onward and upward. Michael’s best-selling book Automatic Wealth for Grads… and Anyone Else Just Starting Out is full of great ideas and advice you can use to get a better position… or move on to a new job. ]