9 minutes read
Work has been an important part of my life as it’s of many people. If you are not satisfied with your current job, you are not alone. Many Americans struggle to find meaning and fulfillment in their work and sometimes it takes a lifetime to find work that has meaning. Read on for the difference between a job and a calling.
When I grow up
If someone would ask my younger self what I wanted to be when I would grow up, I probably would have answered either a journalist or an entrepreneur. I guess it was in many ways the kind of life I wanted to live. For me it was the ultimate dream – meeting new people, going to new places, getting paid for reading books and finding ways to improve the world we live in and make a change.
Since business, books, societal topics and technology have always been part of my life and interests, it’s no surprise that I ended up doing something related to that. I have fallen in love with blogging, although I truly don’t know how to explain it other than that I was obsessive about it. In many ways it was the perfect opportunity to share the things that I have lived through with others. In other ways it was the ultimate chance to share stories and to express my thoughts on topics that often remain unspoken.
How I started
Before there was a personal blog, I started writing a bit. I have been writing and keeping journals as long as I can remember, but now I made the commitment to write with an audience in mind – women. It could be from a fleeting observation to just thoughts to share. The most important thing was that the topics had to inspire me in some way, empower me or inform me, or make me laugh a little bit.
When it comes to my blog, it is simply a record of my own curiosity – of my personal journey into what matters in the world and why. Because of that, it’s hard to determine what is actually “work” – as it’s my life as well. I can have a conversation with someone that gives me a dozen ideas to think about, to learn about, and thus to write about. Most of the times the topics are already in my mind and as a matter of fact I’m already paying attention to them – only now I’ve found a way to actually share them.
Ever since I started creating content online, something clicked with me. It was very clear to me that it brought me a lot of excitement and that I had to find every possible way to keep on doing it. At that point all I was focused on was getting involved into the process of creating content. Which could be blogs, videos, or for example podcasts. If only my mom and some robots would come to my site, then I didn’t care about that. I wanted to do it and I wanted to become better in doing it.
The fuel of your work
By now I have been able to turn my blogging into work. And I realize that there is a difference between either a passion, a career and a job. I would describe passion as a state in which you’re kind of fueled by the energy of your work. The more energy you put in, the more energy you get back from it. The real part of enjoyment is doing that thing, in which there is basically less emphasis on the end result and more focus on doing that thing and being in the moment.
At the beginning of my career I have had several jobs and after finishing the day many times it felt as if I had to recover from it forever. From that experience I now know for sure, that doing work that you’re passionate about is a real privilege. And although work from passion often makes you tired, you never get exhausted.
Therefore, the drive that I have is to me not the hunger from ambition and wanting more – it’s the ambition of passion and doing things that I love. My drive stems from the desire to learn more and see how many great things I can do in that sense. It would be great for example, to reach 1 million women across the world with my blog posts. I’m curious if I’m able to accomplish that. If not, what would be the worst thing that could possibly happen? Most of the times the answer is that I am able to live with the worst-case scenarios and that it’s worth it to take the risk and put in the effort.
A matter of ticking boxes
Although the roots for a purpose-driven life stems from spiritual and religious area rather than from science, there are studies that prove the positive impact it has on our life. According to the study a life with a purpose can be defined differently for different people, but in general it indicates that you have an aim in life and goals. This purpose would help to make it more likely that you will engage in behaviors that are good for your health.
In other words, it makes you more likely to protect your health, to reduce stress, or inflammation. In fact, having the ability to reframe bad experiences and trauma is what sets the purpose-driven person apart from someone who feels aimless. When you feel you can’t do anything, what’s the point of even living? Besides the fact that purpose is still an active field of research, the potential benefits can serve you in different ways.
Job, career, passion
Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski, a professor at Yale School of Management, has spent her career researching how individuals identify with their work. As a result, Amy distinguishes three categories of work.
The first category is the job. A job is what we do to make a living. We need money to support our lives and I see it as a means to an end.
The second way individuals identify themselves with work is the career. A career is to me the path that you take in order to realize a certain position for yourself. A career not only helps to pay your bills, but it also gives you the opportunity to grow. One of the limitations a career can have is the sense of meaning. Once you reach the top, you might realize that that top feels meaningless to you.
Thirdly, individuals can also consider their work as a calling. A calling is about passion. It’s about spending your time to something that connects with you. Those who view their occupation as a calling are deeply aligned between their work and who they are as a person. People that consider themselves to be part of this group are often the ones who are the most satisfied with what they do for a living. As this article describes:
“A calling is an activity you find so compelling that you wind up organizing your entire self around it — often to the detriment of your life outside of it.”
I’ve been in all of three categories and once I found that calling it was powerful. At this point, there is no sense in putting energy into activities that don’t feed my purpose. Which helped me to turn down a lot of work in order to focus and direct the course of my life.
As Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski has identified, there are three different ways of how individuals identify with their work. Some of us will have a job throughout their life, some of us will have a career, and just a few of us will be blessed with the opportunity to have their career and their calling come together.
But as my writing describes – there is no “best way”. Neither a job, career or calling is better; they’re just different and there are costs and benefits to all of three. You may have a job you enjoy (or can live with) yet know that what makes you feel passionate and powerful is not your job, but outside interests and experiences.
I think the key is to follow a path – either personally or professionally – that lights you up on the inside, and motivates you to be all you can be. Women can have a successful career, can also be smart and sexy at the same time, can be a good friend and lover too, and can be a loving mom. If that’s your dream, then never limit yourself – or let others limit you. Every step along the way there will be people saying you can’t be or do something, or that you can’t have all the things you want.
However I create content for this platform, I will also be creating content for other platforms too. And although I’m a creator and writer, I like to be in business too. I enjoy working on different projects and never let anyone pigeonhole me, or put me in a box. All of the projects I get to do, I select them based on what I feel personally attracted to. Along the way I developed an approach to my career which is basically to select and pick projects that I feel personally attracted to just stick with that initial feeling.