Three steps to change your job

“Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

This quote, often attributed to an ancient Chinese philosopher/teacher, is a problem. For at least two reasons.

First, there’s no way Confucius actually said it. The earliest known reference to the quote is 1972. In America. By a Yale professor.

Second, the quote is a thorn in the side of employees everywhere, needling writers with writer’s block, prodding marketing managers with 1,000-email inboxes, poking at team leaders who have a phone glued to their face, again.

Employees stuck in frustrating or mundane circumstances don’t need fake platitudes.

Do you feel like you’ve settled on a career instead of living out your passion? Did you take a job because of a paycheck, not because of the difference you could make in the world? That’s ok. But don’t wallow.

Try these three steps to change your perspective on your job, your life and your future:

  • Make yourself a mountain. Set yourself a big goal. Some folks will call is a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal). Once you’ve set it, set small achievable goals to help you on your way.
  • Look for meaning. Find one thing in each work day that matters. Is there a coworker who needs encouragement? Give it. Does a mountain of papers need to be filed? File them better than they’ve ever been filed before.
  • Acknowledge your coworkers. Most happy employees are able to say they have a friend at work. Do you? Can you find a way to engage in a meaningful way with those around you?

These three steps — setting goals, looking for meaning even in the mundane and engaging with the people around you — may not get you into a new job, but they’ll definitely help you look at your current job in a new way.