What is Your Vocation (And Should it be Your Career)?
The dictionary defines vocation as a strong feeling of suitability for a career or occupation. But vocation also comes from Latin – a calling, to be called.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert told Business Chicks: “A vocation is a divine invitation. A vocation is the voice of the universe in your ear saying we want you to do this thing, use your talents and gifts and make this thing.
Gilbert continued to say a vocation is the “highest possible pursuit you can do.”
“Writing was my vocation for about seven to ten years before it became my job. Long before anybody was interested in what I was writing… the writing was my sacred vocation.
“I had a commitment to my vocation that said: I will do this for as long as I breathe regardless of whether anything ever comes of it and in the meantime, I will have a job and what I will not have is a career.
“For a long time, it (writing) was a private vocation, and then it became a job because I got a few jobs working at magazines doing some journalism, and then it became a career. Which is what it is for me now,” she added.
Let’s Get Clear on Definitions.
The terms vocation, career, job, occupation and a hobby are often confused, and while there are similarities, they are different.
What’s a Vocation?
A vocation is a ‘a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.’
However, your career doesn’t have to match your vocation and, visa-versa, a vocation doesn’t have to be your career.
What’s a Career?
A career is an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.
A career is a work-in-progress, and you should have a passion for it as it will take up a significant part of your life.
What’s a Job?
A job is defined as a paid position of regular employment.
You don’t need to love a job so long as it pays the bills. If you have a job, as opposed to a career, you can give more time to your vocation (or what you’re passionate about).
If your vocation becomes a job, it’s a ‘dream career.’
What’s an Occupation?
An occupation is defined as a job or profession.
However, occupation is a much broader term than job or career as it encompasses your employment sector or area of interest.
As an example, if you’re an on-air reporter for a network, you’re a ‘reporter’ but your ‘occupation’ is ‘journalist’.
What’s a Hobby?
A hobby is an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.
It doesn’t usually pay, but it’s enjoyable and enriches your life.
Your Vocation Can Be a Dream Career.
Career coach Karen Schmidt says the difference between a vocation and a job is that you’re emotionally invested in what you do.
“Most people who have a dream career started out doing that work in their spare time because they loved it so much.
“A vocation that becomes a dream career lets you be your authentic self, offers many ways to achieve success and gives you control over the outcome.
“The likelihood of being successful is also far higher when your vocation becomes your career, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be hard times.
“Dream careers aren’t perfect. They have their challenges, but that’s part of the attraction,” says Ms Schmidt.
However, the dream career you imagine might not be the reality, says Schmidt.
“Many people chase their career dream which is usually a specific role that they’ve fallen in love with because of the way it’s been marketed to them.
It often comes with wealth, status or fame as the main feature. When we dream about this type of career, we don’t think about the hard work involved to get there, just the end result.
What Happens When Your Career Isn’t Your Vocation?
When your career isn’t aligned with your vocation it’s is most likely because you’re not utilising your natural strengths, says Job Success Coach Thai Ngu.
“When your work isn’t part of your natural strengths, you’re actually forcing yourself to do something that doesn’t come naturally.
“It’s forcing you to do something you don’t enjoy over and over again.
“The drain on your body and mind is enormous.
“Factors such as stress, being over-worked and depression kicks in and your health starts to deteriorate which often leads to more time off work.”
Do What You Love, You’ll Never Work a Day …
If you have a job and it supports your vocation – great! But if your career isn’t aligned with your vocation it might be time rethink what you do.
You could find a job that supports your vocations and hobbies, or you could re-train for a career that supports your passion.
A flexible education, via online courses, is an ideal way to retrain for a new career while still working in a job or career that doesn’t inspire you.
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