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Feeling thankful in a job you hate

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, millions of American workers are already expressing gratitude, not so much for their jobs, but for a short work week.

Despite record unemployment and news that the hiring outlook remains dim, a lot of us would be hard-pressed to find many people who'd say they actually love their job. Yet, they do exist-those who seem to not only enjoy their work, but approach it with energy and passion. What is their secret? Hint: it has to do with a lot more than health insurance and a steady paycheck.

It has been my experience that people who genuinely enjoy their work express one or all of the following sentiments:

1. They approach their work each day with a sense of purpose

2. They feel they have the opportunity to utilize their skills and creativity

3. They feel that their ideas, skills, and talents are valued by management and others in positions of authority

When you have a mortgage, kids, and bills, it's easy to stay put in a job you hate. With all the news about the recession and unemployment, it's easy to feel trapped. But the good news is that you don't have to. Even in the current economic environment, you have the power to choose how you want to make a living.

How do you begin? First, decide-what your ideal work environment is, which skills you'd like to use, what type of people you would like to work with and for, etc. Second, get to work making it happen. Revise and improve your resume, research possible job opportunities, arrange informational interviews with people who work in your area of interest, build your brand, and reach out and connect.

Despite news reports to the contrary, we live in a country where entrepreneurs, innovators, and ordinary working people are creating opportunities every single day; where we have the freedom to step out and try something new; and the resources and technology to guide us when we don't know where to start.

All we have to do is choose to take the first step; to decide that we want to be somewhere better tomorrow than where we are today, and be willing to do the hard work to get there. No matter what your job or employment situation, that's a lot to be thankful for.

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