Meaningful WorkAny job can become a career or calling, and any career or calling can become a job. A scientist, physician, or pastor may have initially felt called. But if he or she finds work has become drudgery, it’s now a job. An hourly production worker or hospitality server may have started in a job and progressed to feeling a calling to make better products, happier people, or the world a little better place. He or she now has a career or even a calling.


  • A means to some other end.
  • Provides financial support.
  • Not much else expected from the work.
  • Little loyalty or emotional commitment (“work is a four-letter word”).
  • Move on if a better job, usually with more money or benefits, comes along.


  • Mark achievements through income, advancements, power, or prestige.
  • Usually involves ongoing training and development.
  • Focus on a particular profession/trade/skill set.
  • Often certified, licensed, or credentialed.
  • “Topping out” — little further advancement — can cause mid-life crisis or big career changes.
  • A significant source of personal identity.


  • Fulfilling a sense of purpose and making a meaningful difference.
  • Contributing to a greater good that’s bigger than you — a sense of service.
  • Aligned with your values and strengths.
  • ‘Being’ is more important than ‘doing’ or ‘having.’
  • Following an inner voice to what you’re called to do.
  • Higher income is a bonus, but not a key driver.
  • Promotions to greater responsibility may expand impact or might be an unwelcome distraction from the work at the centre of the calling.
  • Time often flies by.

Which of these three defines most clearly why you work?  Which one would you like your work to be?

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