He came from Huaiyang 淮陽 (modern Taikang 太康, Henan) and was a retainer of Zhang Yu 張禹 and then Grand Mentor (taifu 太傅) of the Prince of Dongping 東平. Zhang Yu recommended him to the throne, so that he was promoted to the offices of magistrate (ling 令) of Youfufeng 右扶風, then Taiyuan 太原, and also for a time to Chamberlain for Law Enforcement (tingwei 廷尉). He finally became Chamberlain for the National Treasury (dasinong 大司農), Chamberlain for attendants (guangluxun 光祿勳) and General to the right (you jiangjun 右將軍).
Emperor Ai 漢哀帝 (r. 7-1 BCE) transferred him to the post of General to the left (zuo jiangjun 左將軍). In 2 BCE he was appointed Grand Master of Splendid Happiness (guanglu dafu 光祿大夫), then Censor-in-chief (yushi dafu 御史大夫) and Grand Minister of Works (dasikong 大司空). A year later he was given the title of Marquis of Changping 長平侯.