My college age daughter and I were discussing this question recently. She is still making her way through her college courses and I’m not sure she fully understands the concept of job vs. vocation just yet. The sad thing is there are many people in the working world that don’t fully understand the difference.
A job is someplace you go to work each day. In return, you’ll earn a paycheck but that’s really not enough. There is not much satisfaction in a paycheck alone. In fact a majority of people indicate that job satisfaction is more important than pay. Many in the younger generations will readily admit this today. I know a number of people in their early twenties who will leave a job if it is not satisfying. They want the money but they also need to enjoy what they do.
A vocation, on the other hand is something that is inside of you. You tend to draw energy from it and can’t wait to get back to it when away. I like the way Terry Felber puts it in ‘The Monk and the Merchant’. He says
…it’s much more than a job. Your vocation is what you were born to do. And when you do it, it’s really not work at all.
When you’re doing what you were born to do, you can’t help but have fun with it. You can’t help but be successful. All too many people work at our companies and it’s really not their vocation. They come in to work day after day and just put in their time. We spend way too much time at work to not be engaged in our true vocation. We are not doing our team members, coworkers or customers any favors by doing a job you don’t enjoy.
If you’re not in your vocation, take the time figure out what that is. Then put a plan in place to be involved with it. I don’t believe this means that you leave your job. I would first explore ways to engage in this at your current company. There may be ways that you can use the gifts you have been given in a different role.
Do you agree with me? Tell me what you think in the comment box below and go ahead, share this with your friends and see what they think.