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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

How to Do a Great Job Even When You Don't Like Your Job

If you don’t like your current job, you probably want to find a better job.

But in order to get a better job, you need to do excellent work at your current job.

(So you can build a solid reputation, get stellar references, and attract new career opportunities.)

This can often feel like a catch-22—because it’s not easy to do excellent work when you’re feeling unhappy!

So today, I’ll share three steps to help you reframe the way you think about your current job, so that you can give it your very best, and then—when it’s time—move onto something better.

1. Get Empowered

Instead of saying “My boss is the worst!” or “I’m trapped here!” change the script in your mind to one of accountability and empowerment.

Say: “I chose this job. And next? I can choose something better.”

By revising your mental script in this way, you’re affirming that you’re not a victim—you’re the one in charge of your choices.

You’ve got options. You can make new choices. You’re not at the mercy of anyone else. Your life is your own. As actress Téa Leoni reminds us in her role on the hit show Madam Secretary: “I’ve never met a situation where I don’t have a choice.

2. Be Appreciative

You can still appreciate the fact that you have a job—even if it’s not your dream job. Just like you can appreciate the fact that modern medicine can heal your broken arm with a cast, even if you would prefer not to have a broken arm in the first place!

Don’t lose sight of all the privileges that your current job provides. A good income? Benefits? Paid vacation time? Access to interesting colleagues? Free training? Hot coffee?

We often forget that employment is a privilege, not a right. Use that to cultivate a feeling of gratitude for your current position, even while you’re searching for something better.

3. Respect Yourself

You’re not going to be doing this job forever. But while you’re here, you owe it to yourself to give it your best.

Why? Because when you commit to doing something, self-respect dictates that you do your absolute best—whether you’re handling customer complaints all day long, ghostwriting social media blurbs for your manager, or writing a speech for the president.

Respect yourself, and bring a high level of dedication to your work. Then, at the end of the day, you can feel proud of your efforts, instead of bitter and resentful. Side bonus? By approaching your work with dignity and self-respect, you’ll make a powerful impression on others.

As Confucius says: Respect yourself and others will respect you.

And when others respect you, deeply? New job opportunities are far more likely to land in your lap.

Empowerment. Appreciation. Self-respect. Three words to remember as you work toward securing a better position.

As I often tell my clients: To upgrade your quality of life, start by upgrading your thoughts.

You can do this. A better job is waiting. Create an attitude that will bring you closer to it—not farther away.

Photo of man in office courtesy of Shutterstock.