While many of us are simply grateful to have a job in this climate, it doesn't mean we can't also be ambitious about our working lives.

Whether you're struggling to find meaning in a job you hate, needing the courage to ask for a pay rise, or hoping to make working from a home a permanent thing — we can help.

Finding meaning at work

Last year, Isaac Freeman had to go back to a "dead-end" job just to make ends meet. 

"I felt as though I had stepped back in time, and none of the work I had done made any difference whatsoever," he wrote.

But there was a moment that changed his perspective and helped him to start making the most of his new gig.

Of course, many of us just hate the job we're already in — and there's no opportunity to go elsewhere.

If you can't change your current situation,  thinking about whether you can find fulfillment outside of work is a good place to start.

Last year also changed what we value, including when it comes to our careers.

Chloe Warren has taken a step back to focus on more creative work. 

"I'm making bugger all money but we can afford to live this way and I don't care what anyone may think about my choices anymore," she says.

Making working from home easier

Looking after your mental health while working from home is really important.

At the start of the pandemic, we spoke to Fiona Wright, a writer, and editor who's been working from home in Sydney for over 10 years, for her advice.

Scheduling in time for yourself and not staying in your PJs are just some ways to stay on top of things.

Staying with outfits for a moment, Kim Ward found wearing the right clothes helped boost her mood and productivity.

If you've been struggling with fatigue or staying focused in the home office, learning about microbreaks may help.

We also have some tips for dealing with noise and keeping an eye on your colleagues' wellbeing when you can't see them in person.

For those who've simply loved working from home, you may be wondering if it can continue.

There are some things to first consider, like the reality you'll probably work harder and that staying connected will be more effort.

If all of that sits right with you, these tips for asking your boss for the OK will come in handy.

And starting a new job remotely can be a little nerve-racking, but being organized and making the effort to bond with your workmates will help.

Changing careers (or kicking goals in your current one)

In 2020 Remya Ramesh landed a dream job in London running the design team of a global tech giant.

Besides working hard, Remya puts it down to setting good career goals. She uses a simple four-step process called the GROW model: Goal, Reality, Options, and Way Forward.

If changing careers is on your radar, be inspired by Samuel Jeyaseelan and Rupal Bhatikar, who both dramatically changed their line of work in their 30s.

Sticking around in the job you're already in? Even people who hate promoting themselves can get ahead.

These tips aimed at introverts include tapping into your values, role play, and seeing things from your employer's perspective.

Learning to say 'no' at work is also a valuable skill in achieving that work-life balance goal everyone is always raving about.

Show me the money

Does the thought of asking for a pay raise cause you to break out in a nervous sweat?

Asking your boss for more money can be terrifying. But, here's the thing: if you don't ask, you're unlikely to be given more.

Starting your preparations early, researching similar jobs, and writing a script could help you succeed. 

When going for a new job, you might be wondering the right time to bring up money. 

Turns out it will depend on where you're at in your career.

By the way, talking openly about pay with colleagues (if you haven't signed a clause stating otherwise) can help close gender and racial pay gaps. 

"Pay gaps exist because workers don't realize other colleagues are being paid differently," says Young Workers Centre director Felicity Sowerbutts.

Worried you're not being paid fairly? Understanding your payslip can help make sure you aren't being ripped off at work.