Any 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?