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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

8 Quotes on Getting Ahead, According to 8 Famous, Funny People Who Did It

Whether you’re just having an off day at work or you’re having a series of off weeks, you could probably use a quick pick-me-up for inspiration, right?

I knew you would say yes. That’s why I pulled together quotes from eight beloved comedians and actors who wrote books on getting ahead. No, really, these awesome career quotes are from their books. And they’re just what you need to help you power through any rough patch you’re facing.

Oh, and these quotes are just the tip of the advice iceberg. If you’re inspired, I recommend reading all these memoirs in full.

1. On Your Career

You have to care about your work but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look...Treat your career like a bad boyfriend. It likes it when you don't depend on it. It will chase you if you act like passion, friendship, family, longevity are more important to you.

—Amy Poehler, Yes Please

2. On Your Attitude

Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.

—Tina Fey, Bossy Pants

3. On the Mentors You Pick

Work hard, know your sht, show your sht, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.

—Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?

4. On Ambition

But ambition is a funny thing: it creeps in when you least expect it and keeps you moving, even when you think you want to stay put.

—Lena Dunham, Not that Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”

5. On Passion

I live by the mantra ‘Whoever is most passionate.’ If I was mentoring someone, that’s the Shandling-esque advice I would proffer: Find people you really respect and trust, and then at each decision, heed the most passionate voice. I love that because it eliminates nearly all struggle.”

—Sarah Silverman, The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee

6. On Taking Risks

When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important. […] It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.

—Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously… I’m Kidding

7. On Opportunities

...I can confidently pass up opportunities that don’t make sense because there’ll be better ones on the horizon, even if I have to wait.

—Julie Klausner, I Don't Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated

8. On Being Likable

I started getting back what I was putting in. I began to see how important good relationships are in this business. I’ve always been naturally thorough and well prepared, and by my mid-thirties I had worked out the worst kinks in my personality. I might have even become someone who was nice to have around.

—Jane Lynch, Happy Accidents

Photo of Tina Fey courtesy S_Bukley/Shutterstock.