If you wake up without any fire in your belly and head out the door dreading the day ahead of you, you have a problem. While your job or career doesn’t define you, your job satisfaction can certainly impact how you feel about yourself. Considering the amount of time you spend working, finding a way to enjoy your career and achieve success is critical to your overall well-being. There is simply too much to lose by being passive and letting your career happen to you rather than taking action and making your career successful.

I consider myself very lucky. I’m on the backside of my career. I have been fortunate to build a stable career with a company that I am very proud to be a part of. I’ve spent the last 18 years of my nearly 30-year career helping build a company I love. At the same time, I have worked on expanding my own skills, making friendships, and educating myself. I’m happy with the career I’ve built and proud of the work I have done.

Even with this great career, I recognize that I’ve made many miss-steps and mistakes along the way. Like many things in life, if I knew then what I know now, I may have done things differently. One of the key realizations I have had over the past 3 decades is that I am the only one who cares about my career. If you can take away any one thing from this and apply it to your career planning process, this is by far the most crucial action you can take: Own your career.

No one else cares if you succeed or fail.

No one else cares if you are promoted or get a pay increase.

Your career and your success or failure are on you, no one else.

It’s not your supervisors’ job to make sure you are moving in the right direction. The company you work for does not owe you a promotion. Your career path and progress are your responsibility. If you take this to heart and start applying this idea to your decisions and the things you do in your career, you will find that things will start changing. You’ll no longer feel stuck in a job. You will go to work happy and excited for the day to come. You’ll no longer dread Monday. You will start building a career you can be proud of.