Passion, calling, and vocation
It is an age-old question – is our vocation supposed to be about earning a living or pursuing our passion or calling? I can state without any hesitation that if the answer is to pursue your calling, then then financial security will most likely follow.
I was thinking about this topic during some very candid discussions with family members during the last two weeks. Though I love them dearly I disagree with their belief that work is only something done for money not something that can be a fulfilling part of life. In fact, career fulfillment will often result in more productive work and larger paychecks (or revenue, for entrepreneurs.)
If you do not like you job, you are not alone. A January 2010 Conference Board survey indicated 55% of Americans were at least moderately dissatisfied with their jobs. I know a lot of that dissatisfaction stems from the massive job cuts and employer attitudes that employees are disposable that flourished during the 2008-2010 recession. However, I believe there are many additional reasons for the current state of unrest with work.
Change your attitude – perception is everything
The most important reason for job dissatisfaction lies with our perceptions of why we are working. The common myth is that you work only to support your lifestyle. If that’s why we are working then we have bigger problems than just being dissatisfied with a job. I was one of the “normal people” who worked to pay the bills and have some freedom on the weekend. I did have several jobs at a previous employer that I really enjoyed, and my enjoyment came from knowing I was working on things I enjoyed and could do well. The other jobs, well, they didn’t fit my strengths so well. I could sense myself getting frustrated and falling into what Seth Godin called “the taskmaster premium”.
I’ve wanted to run my business since 2007 but my real awakening occurred when I joined Free Agent Academy in 2009. After joining FAA, I learned that my best work would also be the work that would allow me to provide for my family while doing something I was excited to do every day.
Fight to find your calling and go for it
When I listened to Matt Jabs’ CoachRadio interview several weeks ago, I realized he “got it” when it came to fulfillment in vocation. I could hear Matt’s sincerity as he discussed how he was at his best running and writing for Debt Free Adventure. That kind of sincerity is not present for many of us in traditional jobs, and we know it. We can find certain aspects of our work we enjoy, but it’s not likely that we consider work as a fulfilling part of a balanced life. A fulfilling career does not necessarily mean self-employment. Running your own business is very difficult, and some people are at their best supporting others. However, your vocation should be something that brings joy to you and to those who care about you.
Jared Angaza, youngest son of “No More Dreaded Mondays” author Dan Miller, wrote a moving blog post last week that should be required reading for anyone struggling with an unfulfilling career. Jared writes passionately about how we must imagine a more rewarding life and recognize God has big things in store for us. I have read this blog post at least once each day since Jared posted it last week, and I find new truth in it every day. We all have a calling that, if found, will fulfill us spiritually and financially. My calling is different than yours, but so are my strengths and passions. The key is to find that calling and find some way to earn income from it.
If the last three years have taught us anything, it must be that passion and imagination will guide us to a more fulfilling career than seeking “security” or a supposedly steady paycheck.
How will you choose to find your fulfillment in your own vocation?