Mind & Body

The Art of Work

Being unhappily employed can ruin your physical and emotional well-being. How do you find a way to do the job you love and love the job you do?
The Art of Work
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2. "I know what I want to do, but I don't know how to make money doing it." Too many of us want a certain career but hold back because we don't think we can make a living at it. Yet someone is making a living at every conceivable endeavor; unless you try, you'll never know if you could, too. "If you believe you'll never make enough money doing what you love, you'll fulfill that prophecy," says Richardson. "Many of us are raised with the belief that you can't make a living in more creative or fulfilling careers, but the biggest obstacle you'll encounter is your own thinking."

What she doesn't recommend is jumping from your current situation without preparation. "You may need to stay in a job while you get your financial house in order," she says. But watch out for the condition known as "golden handcuffs." Your expenses can often magically rise to meet or even surpass your income, so don't get stuck in a high-paying job by having a high-cost lifestyle. "Use the money to eliminate your debt or build financial reserves to support you when you're able to do what you really want to do," Richardson says.

In the meantime, start exploring your dream career by getting a part-time job or doing volunteer work. "People are dying to quit their jobs without a safety net, but then they sometimes run out of money or have so much anxiety that they go back to what they're familiar with. But doing it part-time can make it easy." Want to be an artist? Sign up for sculpture classes, paint on weekends, work evenings in a gallery or be a docent at your local museum. Do whatever you can to engage in the actions that support your dreams.

Be positive, but be realistic, says Jansen. "Look at your true obstacles and true opportunities." Even if you can't get exactly what you want at the salary you need to survive, there may be something you can do in a related field. That, in turn, may provide you with more of the skills and knowledge you need to come closer to your ideal. "Learning and growing are good for adults no matter what," she says. "If nothing else, that will motivate you and keep you energized."