You deserve to like your job and to want to go to work each day. Too many people make compromises when it comes to their professional life.
Maybe they sacrifice money for happiness, or maybe it's the other way around. If that's you, and you're not 100% satisfied with your working life, then it's time do something different.
That's not easy, and in many cases, it's scary. Reward very rarely comes without risk, but if you never take any chances or make any moves, you'll never get anywhere.
You might try to get a better job in 2018 and fail. However, if that happens, all will not be lost. You will have learned something from trying, and even if you don't get all the way there, odds are you'll be closer to, if not a dream job, at least a better one.
1. Ask for it
It seems silly, but if what you want is to advance at your current job or with your present employer, you need to speak up. You know what your goals are and where you want to be. Your boss doesn't and he or she may think you are content right where you are.
Ask for a meeting and talk about where you are and where you want to go, Be open to negative feedback and ask what you can do to make your career goals happen.
It's not likely that you will get promoted simply because you ask for it, but talking could get the ball rolling. Of course, going public with your desires could also lead to you learning that you have farther to go than you think.
2. Plan for it
Whether it's with your current employer or elsewhere, it's best to have a plan. That might be one you create yourself where you plot out the steps needed to obtain a better job or it could be an action plan made with or by your boss.
Be honest in creating your plan and be detailed. Break down any skills you may need or things you clearly need to do in order to get the job you hope for. That might be as specific as "get certified in X" to something as broad as "work on my public speaking skills."
3. Go public
There are times when a job search needs to be secret. If your current employer won't take it well, then you have to be quiet when you network.
Even if you can't go full-on public, it's still possible to get the word out. Let your closest friends and associates know you're looking to make a move. Attend industry events and make connections. Let those people know what your interests are without specifically saying you are looking.
It may take subtlety, but there are ways to get word out without your employer knowing you're looking. Of course, every situation varies, so be as bold or as subtle as you need to be.
4. Go for it (with an open mind)
Just because you have one goal in mind does not mean your thinking should consist of getting there or bust. Sometimes there are enjoyable diversions along the way.
For example, once I wanted to be in charge of a daily newspaper. I did not get that job but was offered the chance to edit the Sunday edition of three daily papers. It wasn't the destination, but it was a step on the road that clearly got me closer to where I wanted to go.
Have an open mind and be curious. Sometimes work you never considered is worth pursuing and in other cases an unexpected detour helps you get where you ultimately want to go.
Better can be a lot of things
A better job is not so easy to define so be open in what you consider. Sometimes, anything different can be better and sometimes a change can show you you're going the wrong way.
More money or better benefits may be the "better" that matters now or maybe career satisfaction or locational flexibility is key. For most people, there's no clear answer and sometimes happiness can be found someplace other than where we're looking for it.