Job vs. Vocation

Posted May 27, 2018

The Challenge to Find Your True Purpose and Passion

According to a Gallup survey released in late 2017, 85% of Americans hate their jobs. This is a sad reality. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of our time, (with the exception being vacations and holidays) effort and energy is devoted to a work space we don’t thrive in. Many of this is due to financial need, which is understandable. However, while financial met need is of importance,  society must also reorganize our paradigms concerning what a job truly entails.

The agrarian poet, writer, and farmer Wendell Berry spoke on the difference between a job and a true vocation:

“The idea of vocation attaches to work a cluster of other ideas, including devotion, skill, pride, pleasure, the good stewardship of means and materials… When these are subtracted, what remains is ‘a job,’ always implying that work is something good only to escape.”

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Berry couldn’t be more spot on, as the average person will change jobs between 5 and 7 times during their lives. The majority of these people don’t change their job because they have found something that they are more passionate about, but rather simply looking to escape the boredom of a job they despise.

Currently, our economy has produced millions of jobs that are both unfulfilling and completely unsatisfactory. However,  people are progressively creating their own jobs and forming new roles within society that are rooted in what they love. Ultimately, passion is what differentiates a job from a true vocation.

While some people begin these entrepreneurial visions slowly, working on the weekends and during nights, others are willing to dive in, quit their day jobs, and commit themselves 100% to their new jobs.

Not only does following our passions give us a true sense of vocation that makes us feel alive, passionate, and useful to the world, but entrepreneurial visions are the foundation of the U.S. economy. The U.S. Small Business Administration shows that small businesses account for 62% of all new jobs. Furthermore, small businesses constitute an important economic opportunity for minorities as there are 8 million minority-owned businesses with a growth rate of 38% between 2007-2012.

While pursuing your vocation by starting your own business or organization comes with its risks, in the long run these risks can lead to  noting that following your passions can lead to full-time fulfilling work that brings more than economic benefits. By embracing newness, and working towards a passion we are enabled to discover our true calling.  

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