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Episode 1 – The Have-To-Job and the Want-To-Career

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Episode 1 - The Have-To-Job and the Want-To-Career

In this inaugural episode, we’ll get really clear on what it means to have a ‘have-to-job’ vs. a ‘want-to-career.’

Everyone wants a career they love, but have you ever really thought about the elements that contribute to creating that want-to dream job?  Most people think it’s all about the role itself, but the fact is it’s about way more than that.

In this episode, I’ll walk through the EIGHT Cornerstone Categories of what makes up that want-to career that gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning. And I’ll give you a free tool to help you figure it out for yourself!

If you’re looking for a specific freebie or tool mentioned in this podcast, you can visit to access additional free training tools designed to help you become a highly valued leader.

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Disclaimer: Some of the content and information mentioned in this episode might no longer be applicable. This includes references to specific links, courses, or programs. As a result, all the links mentioned will now redirect you to our current website. There, you’ll find up-to-date information, resources, and exciting new content to support your journey. We appreciate your understanding and unwavering support.

Welcome to the very first episode of The Career Reset Podcast. 

This has been a long time coming. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be here myself, but also to be here with you. I am Mel Savage. I am an ex-corporate lifer and I’ll talk all about that throughout the first few episodes of the podcast. But now I’ve opened my own company called The Career Reset, which helps focus on helping people take back control of their careers.

Originally, I thought I would spend this first episode telling you about me and The Career Reset, and I think I’ll do a little bit of that. But what I want to do is leave you with something that you can use. Throughout the next few podcasts, probably the first 10 podcasts, I’ll share more of my background and more of my story, but really, this podcast is about helping you and that’s what I want it to be about today.

That’s why I want to talk about something foundational, and that’s to define and get some clarity around something I call a have-to-job and a want-to-career. We’re going to talk a little bit today about the definition of those things. What makes up a have-to-job? What makes up a want-to-career? 

Because actually, want-to-careers are more than the job. It’s more than the role. There are a lot of aspects to what makes a career something that you want to go to every day. And I’m going to give you a tool that you can use to sit down and assess what parts of your current situation are have-to and which ones are want-to. And that’s going to be something that you can download through the show notes. 

I’ll do just 60 seconds, 120 seconds about me. My background is about 25 plus years, if I’m being honest, in corporate, really focused on marketing and advertising. I worked with or for some of the biggest brands in the world. The one I worked with for the longest was McDonald’s restaurants and I worked as the head of marketing in the UK and the senior director of marketing here in Canada. 

And that allowed me to work with a lot of big brands like the NHL, the IOC, Coca-Cola, and a lot of other big brands. Before McDonald’s, I worked with brands like General Motors, Ford, Kraft, General Foods, and lots of other things. 

I have my certification as a Coach and I’ll get into my story in terms of how I ended up where I am today, how I found myself here and fought my way here more than anything else. But for now, I just want to leave you with the idea that in my experience, in my tenure working with corporate, working with big brands all around the world, and being a Certified Life Coach, I have thousands, literally thousands of hours helping coach people, including myself, and how to get what they want out of their careers. 

What I focus on doing now is helping people press the reset button on their career situations. And that doesn’t necessarily mean changing careers completely. Pressing reset, if you think about it, you reset your computer all the time, but it doesn’t mean you’re getting a new computer. It doesn’t mean you’re changing the program. It just means you need to restart, rethink, or reset what you’re doing. It’s almost like getting back to factory settings a little bit. 

It could be that you want to change your career completely, but it could be that you love what you’re doing right now, but you don’t love where you’re doing it and you need to change where you’re doing it and find the right space for you. Or maybe you just need to get better at showing up and doing what you do, where you are right now. How can you take accountability and fix the situation or maximize or optimize the situation that you’re in right now?

And that’s really what resetting is all about. It’s just taking a look back and saying, “Okay, I know what I’m doing right now is not the right situation for me. What does my right situation look like?” Because I believe that whatever you’re doing, whatever it is you’re doing at work, it’s important for you to love it, to want to do it, to be happy, to love going to work every day. 

And I know that seems seemingly unattainable. Something that you love going to work every day. And yes, maybe it’s not going to be 100% of the days, but it should be at least 80% of the days. You should really love what you’re doing so that 80% of the time, you are excited to get out of bed in the morning and go to work. And that’s what I call a want-to-career.

And that’s what we’re covering today – really digging into the true definition of a want-to-career because it’s really bigger than the actual job itself. You’re getting up and wanting to go is great, but what is it that makes you get up and want to go? And that piece is really much bigger than the role itself. So, we’re going to talk today about the differences between a have-to-job and a want-to-career.

Let’s start with the have-to-job. What does it feel like when you have a have-to-job? It’s something that we all know or feel intuitively because it’s just not working out consistently. But what are the feelings that you’re feeling when that happens? Disconnection just doesn’t feel right. Disconnected from who you are, your integrity, and your values, because your values change throughout your life and all of a sudden you might feel disconnected.

You have the sense of coping and toleration that can cause an underlying amount of stress that you might not even know that you have when you’re in toleration mode or when you’re coping. It’s taking up a lot of your energy, not leaving a lot of energy for other things like patience, showing up as your best self and being kind to people, or doing your best work. The longer it goes on, the more exhausting it gets, and the more you start to deteriorate and get further and further away from your best self. 

And ultimately a have-to-career steals your happiness. I know that sounds a little bit dramatic. I get that, but that’s actually what’s happening. I mean, you are tired, you are disconnected. You are in toleration mode. You don’t have the energy to give 100% at work or show up at your best as your best self with your family. 

You’re tired on the weekends, you avoid phone calls. Well, phone calls don’t really happen anymore. You avoid text messages or opportunities to go out and socialize with your friends because you’re tired. You spend more and more time just sitting on the couch and Netflixing out so you’re not maximizing the opportunity for enjoyment in your life because you’re in this have-to-career mode and here’s another thing that happens that steals your happiness when you’re in this toleration mode. 

It takes a lot of work to tolerate and cope in a situation that isn’t ideal for you and you’re a strong person and I know that you’re saying to yourself, “Look, I can handle this. I can make this work.” And I know that you can because you’ve made it this far in your career already, but the way that most people get used to tolerating and coping with the situation is by putting on armor. This compartmentalization of what’s going on at work is your armor and it’s hard to put on armor. 

When you think about the idea of actually putting on armor to protect yourself, it takes time, it takes energy to do that. And so you put on this armor when you go to work to be able to cope and to tolerate what’s going on. But what happens is it’s really hard to take this armor on and off, so over time, you end up just leaving it on and when you go home, you still have your armor on. You’re still in this coping tolerance mode. 

Even if you love being at home, you’re not 100% there. Because the armor is too hard to take on and off, you just leave it on. And I know that if you’re in a have-to-job situation, you’ve seen that. You’ve seen that happening. You know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re not the person that you used to be. You’re not the person that you are when you’re being your best self. And I know that you want to get back to being that person, not only for yourself but for the people who count on you. 

Even though it does sound dramatic, that’s exactly how a have-to-career starts to steal and chip away at the potential for happiness in your life.

On the other hand, there’s this thing that I’m calling a want-to-career. And this, of course, is the opposite. It is a career that you’re connected to. It fits you, it’s connected to your values, it’s connected to your strengths, and it’s connected to what you’re interested in. It helps you grow, it inspires you, it energizes you.

And when I say it inspires you, it inspires you to do more, it inspires you to try harder, it inspires you to be the best version of yourself. And when you’re like that, it feeds your energy versus when you’re in a have-to situation and it’s sucking up your energy. A want-to situation feeds your energy, it gives you more energy to do more things.

Think about a situation in your life where after you’ve done something, you have more energy than you did before you started. What does that look like for you? For me, believe it or not, even though I’m not very good at it and it scares me, it’s after I do live streaming. I’m nervous about it before I go in. I’m not sure I’m going to be great at it, I push through, I power through, I get it done and then I feel amazing after. I feel more energized after, especially if I’ve been able to help someone during that livestream. 

That feeds me and energizes me. I’ll get off one of those things and my husband will be like, “What is going on with you? It is 10 o’clock at night.” And I’m like, “I know, but I’m so excited right now.” Think about what that might look like for you.

When you have more energy, guess what, it feeds your opportunity for happiness and joy in your life. You have more energy to do more stuff, you’re in a better mood, you have more patience, people want to be around you, and you want to hang out with other people. It really brings your best self forward. It’s not just about the job, it’s not just about liking the job, it’s really about the impact that your job has on the whole of your life.

What I want to talk to you about today is what are the things that you need to consider when you’re thinking about going after a want-to-job. I know one of the things people struggle with is what is it that I want to do. What is it that’s going to be connected to me? 

Throughout this podcast, we’re going to talk about that over and over and over again because there are so many aspects to it and different things click differently with different people. But one of the things I want to start with is foundational. The different aspects of a want-to-job because it’s bigger than the role. 

And I always use this analogy of going after your dream house. You want to buy this great house and when you go out to find a house, you don’t just go out willy-nilly and buy the first house that you see. You think about, what you need in a house. How many bedrooms do you need? What kind of extra space do you need? What kind of kitchen do you need? What is all of that stuff? 

But it’s not just about the house itself, it’s also about where the house is. What kind of school district is it in? What’s it close to? What’s the commute to work? What about the yard? What kind of amenities does it have? What kind of neighborhood is it in? What are your neighbors going to be like? So many things make up what that dream house is. What’s the view from the house? You can just think about depending on who you are, all the different things that could make up your dream house.

And then ultimately you have this checklist of all these boxes that you want to have ticked because you have these guideposts that you’ve put in place around what kind of home that you want to go after that would really reflect what you would consider a dream home. And within that list you have things you’re willing to compromise on, things you’re willing to work towards, things that are deal breakers. Very similar to a career you need to think about the different aspects of a career. And I call them the career cornerstone categories.

I’m going to give you what they are, but I do have a cheat sheet for you. It’s up in the show notes. You can get that at because this is the first episode. So little excitement there from me.

But here are the eight cornerstone categories of your want-to-career. The role, the people, the location, the environment, the lifestyle, the alignment, the culture, and the pay. And I’m going to highlight each of those top lines, but on the cheat sheet it’s just going to give you a quick definition and you can use that cheat sheet to be able to help you assess what you’re looking for in your want-to-career.

Let’s start with the role, which is the thing that everyone is interested in. And this is about what you do or you’re expected to do in your job. You want to consider things like, what are your key responsibilities, the daily tasks, the key projects that you work on or that you want to work on, what are the characteristics of a role that are important to you.

For example, could it be that the role is always changing and dynamic? Do you prefer something stable and predictable? Is this something that you want to see today or something that you want to work towards in the future? You want to outline what you want out of the role. I know this is the place where most people struggle. 

In a future episode, we’re going to talk about how to define your strengths effectively and your interests to understand what really makes you tick in the ideal role. But what I want to lay out today is just the definition and the cornerstones of this want-to-career.

In the meantime, do your best. Think about, what is it that I currently love about what I do. What are the aspects of what I do that really turned me on in the kind of role that I have? What do I want more out of what I like doing right now?

Next, let’s talk about the people. And for people consider things like relationships. Relationships with your boss, your peers, your reports, your support community, the kind of people that you want to hang out with at work, the kind of people you don’t want to hang out with at work, or the kind of people you do and don’t want to be influenced by. Sometimes the biggest challenge that people have is they like their job, but they don’t like who they’re doing it with.

And the biggest challenge with this is the boss. Sometimes it’s peers, sometimes it’s reports, sometimes it’s senior management, but quite often it’s the boss. The boss has a different style. The boss has different expectations than the one you were working with before. Maybe the boss isn’t seasoned enough. They’re not that great of a leader. They’re not able to give you that mentorship or that leadership that you’re really looking for.

This type of exercise, it’s not so much about dealing with that difficult boss, which we will talk about in the future. This one’s about idealizing what kind of people you like to work with.

Next, let’s talk location. Where is this awesome want-to-job? Are you working from home? Are you working in an office? Is it close to home? Is it a big commute? Does that bother you? Do you travel a lot with this job? How much time do you get to be at home? You’ve got to think about what’s really important to you here.

Because a lot of the time people glamorize working from home. I used to do that as well. But working from home has a whole different set of pros and cons associated with it. Sometimes it’s really hard to draw that line between home and work when you’re in your home all the time and working from home can also be isolating. You have to think about those kinds of things. 

What kind of location are you looking for? Think about the commute. That can also be very exhausting. In my life, I’ve had 10-minute commutes and an hour and a half commutes sometimes, each way depending on the traffic. I used to be able to use that time really effectively to extend my day in terms of having conference calls or podcasts or listening to recordings of things that would be inspirational for me. But some people really don’t like that commute. You really need to think about all of those things based on the life stage that you’re at right now. 

Next, consider the environment. A lot of people don’t put a lot of thought into the environment, but environmental stress, if you will, can add a lot of pressure to your workday. Think about it like when your pants are too tight. That is environmental stress. It’s a stress that’s happening to you physically, outside of your body that’s impacting your ability to stay focused and show up as your best self. When your pants are too tight or your shoes are too tight, you’re having a bad hair day, and sometimes you are distracted from being your best self.

When you think about the job environment specifically, what do you need in the space that you’re working in to be able to be your best self? What does it look like? Do you mind clutter? Does it need to be clean? Are you okay with communal environments or do you need your own space? What kind of light is there in this space? For me, light is a really big thing. 

And then also you want to think about what you’re going to wear in this environment. Where does it sit on the spectrum for you between uber-conservative to hoodies and Birkenstocks? Think about what is the ideal work environment for you so that you can minimize the environmental stress or look at it the other way. What kind of environment do you need to inspire the best work out of you?

Moving on to lifestyle, this is about what kind of lifestyle you need. And by that, I mean, how does your career fit into the rest of your life? What does your career allow you to do? And it’s not always about money. Time is a pretty big asset. For some people, money is less of a priority than getting to or being in a situation where they can really bring to life certain values or interests that are super important to them. 

Once you’re in a situation where you’re making enough money to pay your mortgage, pay your bills, and go on vacation a certain amount of times, money starts to balance out with some of the things that need to be there for you to feel like you’re living to your values, as you inserted in the job, those kinds of things. And for other people, it’s totally about money. It’s about the freedom to experience the things that they really want to experience. 

What kind of lifestyle does your want-to-career allow you to have? What kind of lifestyle do you want to be living? And you can think about that in terms of today, right now, or future opportunity in terms of what it’s going to allow you to do in the future as well, or allow your kids to do in the future. 

Next, let’s talk about work culture. And this is about the values of your organization. Your values don’t have to always 100% align in all ways with the values of your organization, but are enough of them complementary? Are any of them completely in disagreement or completely in contrast to what you believe and how important is that to you?

You can also think about it in the ways of saying, which of your company’s values do you live and which ones don’t you live? Which ones are you not interested in living anymore? What do you think about the company culture? The way the culture treats people or how it allows you to treat people or how it allows you to perform, be yourself, fail, succeed, celebrate, all of those things. What does the company culture allow you to do? What about the work ethic? Think about the ideal company culture for you. What type of culture would you really thrive in? 

Second to last, I want to talk about the pay. This one’s pretty straightforward. How are you compensated? How often are you compensated? How consistently are you compensated? Some people are very comfortable with getting paid in big amounts a couple of times a year. If you’re running your own business or you’re a freelancer in some way, that could work for you if you don’t mind the inconsistency of pay. 

Some people need that every two weeks’ paycheck coming in. I get that too. What are you comfortable with on that kind of spectrum? What kind of benefits do you need if you’re in the United States? I know that healthcare is a big consideration when you’re thinking about the job that you’re going after. And you can think about the immediate benefits and any long-term incentives that might be coming with the job, like stock options or retirement benefits or things like that. 

And you can think about it in the context of what you’re getting paid today and what the upward mobility is in terms of pay within the organization as well. 

Last but not least is really about alignment and it’s about how well the want-to-career that you’re going after aligns with all of these other career cornerstone categories as you will have to find the right balance for you, as well as your values, who you are, what’s important to you, your strengths, your interests, et cetera.

How well does your want-to-career need to do that? Think about it in the context of all the other elements of the want-to-career. This is where you can really understand which ones are deal breakers, which ones are nice to have, and which ones are okay, and I can work it out. 

Those are the eight cornerstone categories. And as I said, I’ve put together a little cheat sheet for you cause that’s a lot of information that I just threw at you and you can use that to sit down and assess where you are right now and where you want to be in the future. And the key thing to take away from all this is that your want-to-career is more than just the job itself. 

When you’re out there and you’re thinking about what you want to do next, think about it in a broader scope. Think about it in the context of your overall want-to-career. Compare the opportunity to these eight cornerstone categories. 

Because remember, no job is going to be perfect. You have to do the work to make your job consistently work for you, but you also want to put yourself in a situation where doing that work where consistently pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is about your growth, not about toleration mode, and that’s going to be a combination of your mindset and the busy work that you’re doing to make your job work for you. 

Remember this, success is 80% mindset, 10% strategy, and 10% community and support. And often we get it backward. We think success is 80% the work, 80% doing stuff, going to meetings, writing presentations, writing resumes, going for job interviews, sitting down, and assessing what are want-to-career looks like. And that’s not 80% of the work. That’s only 10% of the work. 80% is your mindset and you know that’s true. 80% of your success is in your mind. 

It’s how you show up because when your head is in a great place, you know that you are doing your best work. When your head is in a great place, you are the strongest leader, you’re the strongest performer, you’re the most patient, you’re the greatest boss, all of that stuff. You do the best interviews, you write the best resumes, all of that stuff. 

That’s why with The Career Reset, I really want to bring together this mashup of life coaching for your head and career management for your strategy because we’ve got to deal with both. We have to deal with the mindset stuff as well as the busy work to be able to build that want-to-career that makes us excited to get out of bed every morning. 

And that’s what this podcast is really about. We’re going to be talking about what’s getting in the way of your want-to-career, how to define the elements of your want-to-career, how to go out and get your want-to-career, and how to sustain your performance in your want-to-career. That is also so important. It’s not just about getting the job, it’s about showing up and doing your best work every day. 

Here’s the question I have for you right now: What do you have, a have-to-job or a want-to-career? And I challenge you to sit down and go through the elements of a want-to-career and decide what a want-to-career would look like for you. And even if you don’t know all the answers right now, if you don’t know all the elements of your want-to career, that’s okay. It’s a starting place. 

So make sure you go to the show notes at you’ll be able to get the cheat sheet of all the want-to-career cornerstone categories that we talked about today and you can use that to start your overview. 

In the next episode, we’re going to be digging into that have-to-job a little bit more to understand what stage you’re in of your have-to-career. We’re going to be covering the four stages of a have-to-job. If you’re in a have-to job and you want to get a sense of where you are on that journey or what to expect if you stay on the road ahead and want to do next. If you want to get off that road then check out episode two. 

Finally, I just want to thank you so much for joining me on my very first podcast episode. I am so excited about this. I know that this is exactly what I want to be doing right now because I am so energized at this moment, so thanks again for joining me. I will see you next time.



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I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.

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Mel Savage

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.
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