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A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across an article called Jobs, Careers or Callings. This article describes the research of a group of Yale professors on job satisfaction based on our definitions of what we do. In a nut shell, they interviewed a group of employees in a variety of occupations asking them to select whether they viewed their job as a calling, career or a job and then asked them to answer series of questions to determine job satisfaction. Not surprisingly they found that individuals that viewed their work as a calling reported more job satisfaction then those who viewed it as a career or a job. Interestingly they found that people in the same occupation, defined their job differently. Specifically, there were some administrative assistants who viewed their work as a calling and some who viewed it as a job (those who viewed it as a calling reported more job satisfaction).
Since reading this research I have been thinking a lot about jobs vs callings and what this all means in terms of working and living happier. So yes, working at our calling=job satisfaction therefore we should all be working at doing our calling. Which to some extent I think that is true. I believe we all have something we were put on this earth to do, something we excel at, we thrive in doing and we love. For some people that can be translated into a paying career, for other people they might work ‘a job’ in order to pay for the work that they do in their calling. Personally I think we run into trouble when we have the idea that to be happy we MUST be getting paid to do our calling. Confusing coming from a career counselor who helps people find the work that makes their heart sing. But notice I said finding the ‘work’ that makes your heart sing, not the career, not the job. I help people find their life’s work, their life’s passion. So let’s say you love writing and that is the work the makes your heart sing. You would LOVE to get paid to do that and to have that be your career, but for the time being you enjoy writing. You just love writing for the sake of writing. So you have a job that is ok, not fantabulous but it requires limited energy and gives you the time and inspiration to write. While you are working at your ‘job’ earning money you are finding creative ways to enjoy your calling. Maybe you are writing for the company newsletter or the company blog, maybe you are submitting articles to be published. Or maybe you figure out that you are happy working at your ‘job’ and writing for yourself and your close friends and family. Regardless of what it looks like, the goal is to determine your calling and then figure out creative ways to weave it into your life (as a paid position or not).
Maybe your calling is being a great mom, a nurturer, caregiver, loving mom. Is this a highly paid job? No. So even though being a mom is the work that makes your heart sing, you might need a career or a job to help support your family. But while your children are young or while they are in school you are going to poor most of your energy into being a mom because that is a calling of yours. So your career might not take off during this time because you are working on your calling of being a mom.
There also is a need to get creative. For me my calling is caregiving, nurturing being “Mama Bear“. Because that is something I love doing, something I feel compelled to do, something I do it without even thinking of it. It also means there are certain jobs that I excel at that don’t feel like work…such as counseling or mothering. But another less obvious one which is one I was very good at for years was administrative assistant. I made an awesome assistant! I loved predicting what my boss needed and getting it for him. I loved making sure my boss was prepared for the day and ready to handle any situation, I loved being his right hand person.
So I believe our calling is more than our job, and we can find outlets for our calling in a variety of ways paid and unpaid. The absolute KEY is figuring out your calling (or the work that makes your heart sing) and then figuring out the ways to implement that in to your life as much as possible.