“A society in which vocation and job are separated for most people gradually creates an economy that is often devoid of spirit, one that frequently fills our pocketbooks at the cost of emptying our souls.” – Sam Keen
Vocation means “calling”, a call to do something with your life. Now, what most of us do is get a job and work at that job for a number of years. The job becomes a means to an end, a way to pay for the things we want and for many people something rather meaningless. At some point it becomes clear that the work you are doing has no connection to your strengths or desires.
Laurence Boldt the author of “How to find the work you Love” points out the fact that it is more important to do work that matters rather than doing work for the sake of work. For the “boomers” work held the notion that you committed yourself to an organization and the organization provided long-term employment for that commitment. In the 90’s that changed and many “boomers” found themselves being laid off from work they did out of routine more than out of personal purpose. Technology shifted the domain of work from hands to head. Those who were in jobs that were manual in nature found that those jobs were easily exported overseas where the cost of labor was less expensive.
The newer generations know that organizations won’t commit themselves to their employees so they have become much more mobile and shift jobs more often.
Still there is an issue. Do you work for money or do you work because the work you are doing has meaning for you? Does the work you do involve the use of your strengths and creative talents? If it doesn’t the connection to the work you do will be small. Most people start their careers with hope and a lot of energy. If that work doesn’t match who they are then it will take more energy from the individual than they can manufacture and it will result in diminished results over time. We can’t continually do work that has low or no meaning as it takes more energy than we can supply. You’ve seen people who have become tired of the work they are doing. They have lost passion, the energy, the desire and the reason to come to work excited. There is nothing there for them and yet they continue to come to work and they do it because they feel that is the only way for them to make money.
Laurence Boldt claims that “doing the work you love means living your philosophy”. It means that if you are able to do what you love you will be in alignment with your values and that will lead to happiness. If you are living for the weekends then it is likely you are not doing the work that is meaningful for you.
How do you get out of the trap?
1. Define who you are.
2. Find out what your strengths are.
3. Find out what you value. What do you want to contribute?
4. Create a plan that will allow you to do work that matters to you.
5. Execute the plan.
Monty Python takes a unique look at vocations. Through the unique lens of humor we can see that many people are trapped in careers that provide no meaning or joy.
Are you doing the best thing for you and your life?