The single piece of advice I give to people who want to get promoted is “do the job you currently have extremely well.”

When you show that you take your current work seriously, you inspire confidence that you can handle more. Rather than scorning your position, you embrace it. You do it wholeheartedly. And you ask for more responsibility without expecting a raise or promotion immediately. You feel blessed to have the work instead of entitled to more money.

People get promoted when they contribute more than they “have to.” I myself got promoted after I was doing most of the work of the higher position already. That was how I built the case for the promotion. My willingness and ability was already proven. The promotion and money came as a result of it.

I found this piece that supports my experience, written by organizational positivity evangelist Dr. Beth Cabrera.*  She explains how our attitude toward our work can make all the difference to our happiness and productivity. Read it and see what you think:

People typically see their work as a job, a career, or a calling.  Those who view their work as a job do it mainly to earn a living.  People who see their work as a career are interested in money, responsibility, and advancement.  People who consider their work a calling believe the work they do serves an important purpose.  They do the work for its own sake, not for financial or other benefits.  They are passionate about what they do because they feel they are making a difference in the world.

Interestingly, whether or not people experience their work as a calling does not depend on the actual work they do.  People in any occupation can have a job, career, or calling orientation.  Meaning comes from how they understand the work they do, not the work itself.  The fact is most any job has social value.  So what matters is that the person recognize the value of the work he or she does.

In a classic example, a traveler happens upon 3 stonemasons hard at work.  He asks them each in turn what they are doing.  The first one responds that he is “cutting stone.”  The second says he is “preparing a foundation.”  The third stonemason declares that he is “building a cathedral!”  In a modern day example, a hospital janitor explains that his work is as important as the work of the surgeons because if he doesn’t keep the hospital clean patients won’t get better.

People who view the work they do as a calling experience a sense of meaning that boosts their positivity.  They are happier and, as a result, more likely to succeed.  So how do you view your work?  And what about your employees?  Do they see the value of the work they do?

I agree completely that people are happier when they discover the intrinsic value of their work.  Being invested in your work makes the day go more quickly, helps you feel good about yourself and your own value, and gives you the ability to respect everyone else working around you.

Being invested in your work doesn’t mean devoting all hours of the day to it. It simply means that when you are engaged in working, you respect yourself and understand how your work fits into the larger scheme – that your work is meaningful to you and to the organization or company or world. That’s “right fit” work.

*Dr. Beth Cabrera is an author, speaker, and consultant on the power of positivity at work.