I stumbled upon a very interesting blog post, originally dated in July of 2010, titled “The Vocation Myth.” The post begins…
“Lots of people get sucked into the current new age wisdom that we all have one unique thing we’re called to do in life. They spend years, not to mention thousands of pounds [located in Britain], on the next book, coach or workshop that offers the key to the holy grail. Meantime they feel pretty miserable doing whatever it is they’re doing – or not – right now. And beat themselves up for being a lesser person because, unlike the zealous peddlers of the vocation myth, they haven’t found what work it is they’re really supposed to be doing.”
I love it when this subject is broached, as many are interested in figuring out their vocation, calling, or at least finding work they believe aligns with their essence, strengths, talents and passions.
So many are unhappy with their work lives. Surveys funded from a variety of sources continue to highlight this fact, especially over the last two decades where job satisfaction and happiness at work have reportedly decreased.
Many spend years into decades tolerating mediocrity in their work lives. The hope of being happy at work is a distant, unobtainable dream.
You’re probably familiar with the belief that we are all “called to do something” in life. I winced when I read her phrase “sucked into,” as that implies that this is a hoax and that many have been manipulated into believing this untruth only to have their hopes raised and their bank accounts lowered in their quest to find assistance with identifying this mysterious vocation.
Although I winced a bit while reading the opening paragraph, I believe the author makes some interesting points that I’d like to address one by one in an effort to dismiss what she calls, “The Vocation Myth.”
Why would finding work you love be reserved for only a select few?
I’d like to use some of the points to encourage you to continue your explorative process. The blog post was short but packed a punch. Let’s begin…
- “They spend years, not to mention thousands of pounds, on the next book, coach or workshop that offers the key to the holy grail.”
Rebuttal: True, some people spend years searching, I must admit that I did too, but the actual process really doesn’t require years of searching and agonizing. My question is: Does their search begin with introspection or are they searching outside of themselves for the answer? And, if they seek assistance, are they taking full responsibility for their explorative process or are they expecting that book, coach or workshop to provide a magic pill?
- “And beat themselves up for being a lesser person because, unlike the zealous peddlers of the vocation myth, they haven’t found what work it is they’re really supposed to be doing.”
Rebuttal: True, there are a lot of people beating themselves up, wondering ‘What’s wrong with me, why can’t I find what I’m called to do’? My question is: Why would only some of us get to enjoy living a life aware of what we are called to do, while others don’t? That flies in the face of reason. Realize that it’s a process that takes into consideration a variety of factors and differs from person to person.
- “In working with clients having this experience, I encourage them to take all that forward-looking pressure off themselves and live in the present.”
No rebuttal here: I totally agree! Take the pressure off of yourself and live in the present. But, I’d like to add, living in the present is very important, but intending for our future is important as well, in fact, our thoughts and beliefs today are the building blocks of our tomorrow.
- “But for others it’s a discovery process of finding one jigsaw puzzle piece of ourselves after another in the different things we do. Without valuing the purpose of the bit we’re doing right now, we’ll never get to understand the full picture.”
No rebuttal here: Again, I totally agree! It is a discovery process, one that involves finding one jigsaw puzzle piece of ourselves after another in the different things we’re interested in and do. I would add that this explorative process demands introspection – looking within versus looking outside of ourselves; being curious; and being open to the possibilities as we examine our big picture to identify patterns and belief systems – the stories that drive our work life decisions.
I believe we know exactly what what we want. There are SO many clues to uncovering your contribution (which can take many forms). It takes commitment, patience, curiosity, a willingness to search within AND the courage to go for it once you’ve made your discovery, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it.
Want even more timely info about the challenges you face as a student as you navigate college, work and life? Check out The Robbi Crawford Show – a podcast for and about students.