A career or a calling

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Often the words career and calling are used together. ‘Find your career and calling’ was a familiar catch phrase during my time in college; however, as ideal as this seems, the truth seems to be more complicated.

My reflection on the topic, albeit brief, has made the phrase ‘career or calling’ perhaps more accurate. Before determining what one’s career and calling is, it seems that one should first decide whether they want a career OR a calling. The difference, as slight as it may seem, is of the utmost important. If one wants a career, they can hope for a job where they are gainfully employed, being a productive member of society for 40 hours a week. They count on a paycheck at regular intervals, and given the choice between working or recreation, they are bound to select recreation as long as their 40 hour a week obligation has been met. However, if one wants a calling they are asking for an obsession. Something that occupies them not merely during the hours they are at work, but something on which they think, dwell, scheme, and pontificate at all hours of the day and night. This doesn’t mean that nothing else exists for them outside of that, but it does mean that they are working for the love of what they do. If one asks for a career they can complain about long hours, low pay, and few vacation days; however if one asks for a career the hours, pay, and vacation mean little, whereas the resources to make progress, the dedication of the team, and the creativity of those around them are key. Career and calling are different.

Neither career nor calling is superior to the other. Rather one must simply decide which version of life they choose. Many will choose career because it is safe, secure, and there are firm limits to what can be asked of you. However some will choose calling because they are curious, even troubled, by all they see around and can’t help but act.

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