Do you love your work? Do you love where you work? Do you wish you could be doing something else, or doing the same thig somewhere else? Or even making a fresh start in a whole new field because you’ve ended up in a situation that you fell into rather than looked for?

Already, some less happier readers will be answering those questions accordingly, but will be inserting the word ‘but’ into their responses.

“I hate where I work/what I’m doing….but…….”

“I want to do something else, but …….”

Been there, done that. In the 1990s I often wished I could be doing something other than beat policing, and the reasons varied. Now and then something happened to reinvigorate my enthusiasm for the work, but all too often the powers that be shoved a spanner into that enthusiasm and the cycle continued.

Like many of you, I remember thinking that the pay I was getting, the commitments I had, and the potential for what has proved to be a marvellous pension all combined to keep me where I was, and over time things improved to the degree that, having retired, I kept going back. Into the same cycle but I have concluded that ‘loving your job/hating your job’ is a bit of a repetitive loop and the mental approach is a big part of that.

I never addressed my ‘pain’ and spent the money as fast as it came in. so here is some advice.

Stop spending and start saving if you want to change fields.

Sell your 3 year old car and buy a 7 year old car. Save the difference. Eat less, and wisely. Eat out less often and eat fewer takeaways. Keep a record of money you don’t spend on that which you used to pay, and have fun doing so. Find a new evening pastime that educates you without costing much money.

Do that for 6 months and see how much money you can amass.

Now, if you can save up 6 months’ pay – okay, it may take longer but we are researching to start with – you have a small safety net if you want to just quit and seek a new job. Alternatively, you have a safety net AND still have a job while you look for a new one.

Having that financial trampoline will free up your mental juices to start seeking a ‘want to do’ rather than remaining, unproductively and unhappily, in a ‘have to do’.

My experience is that many people have a lifestyle that they feed but hate what they have to do in order to live it. I even counsel parents to look at what they pay in order to have two jobs – second car, more clothes, child-care costs and self-management related to child-care, two social lives, etc. – and to make a conscious decision whether or not it’s working for them. (Usually accused of sexism, and I reply that I never say which partner/gender should consider ‘retiring’.)

We all chase what we think we want, but so few of us truly look at ourselves to decide what that is – we look outside ourselves to see what society tells us we should be working for.

What a waste of time it is working really hard for something we don’t really want in the interests of keeping up with others’ expectations.

Find what you love to do. Get a job doing it. Live within your means and pursue what your values and mission say you need. Everything else is just show.