Living your vocation is a mark of a slowmission lifestyle. If we all spent our days doing what we love and are good at, the world would be a better place. How do you recognize vocation? What are the marks of it?
(I’m grateful to my friend Simon Goddard who gave a talk about this stuff and whose material I have adopted(/copied).)
- It’s your passion. This is what gets you going, what you look forward to, what you feel deeply about and what you want to spend your life doing.
- You’re not bad at it. You don’t have to be the World No.1. But you’re not terrible at this. Other people appreciate it. I am a writer. I have yet to win prizes in other spheres of life, such as ballet dancing or rocket-designing. But I do win writing prizes. I feel writing is the only beautiful thing I do, and then only sometimes. But at least I do that one thing.
- The world needs it. OK, that’s a little grandiose. The fate of the entire planet or the destiny of nations doesn’t have to absolutely hang on you coming up with the goods. But what you do does good, eases loads, makes things better, slakes a thirst. Your joyful endeavour meets a deep need somewhere: wonderful.
- The money works. Ideally, you get paid for it. Or maybe someone else gets paid enough in their vocation for you to work for free. Or sometimes you have to do a bit of tweaking to make the money work. For example, people who love the visual arts can get paid as designers. Journalism–being paid to write things for other people–worked for me for a long time. And so on. This can be a happy compromise between creativity and practicality. But also, careers evolve and hopefully you settle into a vocation more and more.
But some questions
This does raise a couple of questions, though.
- What about when it’s spoilt by difficult colleagues, bad managers, financial cuts?
- What if you haven’t the luxury of choosing your job(s) — you just have to put bread on the table?
That’s next week’s blog.