It’s no secret that the job market is more competitive than we’ve seen in recent history. It’s not just finding a job that’s tough to do in the current anemic hiring conditions, keeping one also requires a lot of work.

Securing a promotion or any career advancement hinges on your ability to prove your value and dedication to an employer. And the best way to do that is treating your boss like your most important client.

You might be thinking, that’s easier said than done, but here are a few tricks to keep in mind:

Realize that you work for yourself, not for your boss. People often balk at this idea because they associate working for themselves with being an entrepreneur. Here’s some sobering truth: Most bosses don’t have a personal interest in their workers. Sure, they value hard-working employees, but at the end of the day, they just want to get the job done.

You, however, do have a personal interest in your work. When you go to work each day, you do so because you want to make money to support yourself (and your family) or so that your day-to-day life has purpose. So start by shifting your attitude about it. In truth, the reason you work has nothing to do with what your boss wants.

Believe there is no difference between a boss and a client. Your boss is actually your best client. And like a client, your boss hires you to provide a service and offer solutions.

Perhaps your boss or company has a specific way to get things done, figure that out and adjust accordingly. As the saying goes, the customer is always right. However, some bosses do in fact want innovative and new ways to do business, so don’t be scared to speak up and offer solutions.

Your goal should always be to identify a need and then fill it to meet the client’s requirements.

Stop here for a moment and think about your job in this way: If the world went crazy and companies no longer hired employees, you would still need to work, right? Let’s say all employers decided that the way they were going to get work done is to ask all former employees to pitch to them how they would fill each need within the organization, but do so as an independent contractor. How would you as “Me, LLC” approach securing that gig? And how would you conduct yourself differently under those circumstances differently than you do now as an employee?

Understand that times have changed. The days of getting a job and then waiting for direction from your boss are long gone. Employees need to be proactive and know how to execute, but few know how to successfully do this to and help themselves adapt to their work environment.

While everyone’s career path and criteria for success is different, one thing is for sure: Changing how you think of the relationship between you and your boss (or your company) is a good place to start. The truth is, you are in the driver’s seat of your career path. You work for yourself, remember? So, act like it. It’s irrelevant how difficult your boss is to please. Sometimes we have to deal with difficult customers or clients. Learn to adapt. Figure out what makes the boss happy and then do your job accordingly.

You control who you work for. Yes, the unemployment picture in the country is drab, but you need to stop worrying about your job and start managing your career.

If you change your attitude, you’ll be well prepared to speak with other employers about opportunities. You’ll be better able to identify job prospects and know how to stand out in a crowd as the best candidate for a position.

Companies, entrepreneurs and business leaders fire clients all the time. That may sound counter-intuitive (especially during tough economic times), but, it distinguishes the good services providers from the great ones.

If you’re good at what you do, you will always find new clients so don’t let any weigh you down.

Wall Street veteran Lindsay Broder (on twitter: @occurpeneur) is a certified professional coach known as The Occupreneur™ Coach. Based in New York, she specializes in Occupreneur™career coaching, strategy & consulting services for highly successful professionals & organizations who strive to improve one or more aspects of their businesses or careers.