If your career’s not your vocation, give up your day job

If your career’s not your vocation, give up your day job

Do you love what you do? If you have a job you don’t enjoy, that’s okay – it’s just a job. A job pays the bills and you don’t have to love it if it serves that purpose.

On the other hand, if you’re not passionate about your career, it might be time to re-think the way you’re spending your time.

Careers are time-consuming and require a degree of commitment that jobs don’t. So, rather than investing in a career that’s not your vocation, it might be beneficial to simply get a job that allows you to focus on your passion.

Registered Psychologist and Career Coach Nicole Wren says it’s always best to pursue a career that is aligned with your vocation.

“You may have to take a job which ‘pays the bills’ but doesn’t align with your vocation.

“At the same time, you can be developing your skills to enable you to develop your career around your true passion.

“Unfortunately, some people get stuck putting all their effort into a career which ultimately doesn’t fulfil them since it’s not aligned with their true passions.

“By the time they realise, they may be established professionals in demanding roles.

“In these cases, it may be better to take a less demanding ‘job’ to enable them to redirect their resources into what truly makes them happy,” says Ms Wren.

Vocation Vs occupation. Let’s get the terms right.

Ms Wren explains the difference between vocation, occupation, job, career and hobby, which are commonly confused terms.

What’s a Hobby?

A hobby is something you do for fun and provides relaxation and enjoyment.

Often it won’t bring in any money at all, though sometimes it may bring in a bit of extra cash. Importantly though, you do it because you love it and not for the money. An example would be someone with a love of drawing who engages in this activity a few hours after work to relax.

What’s an Occupation?

An occupation is a job title.

Perhaps you start off loving drawing and then pursue training to be a graphic designer. Your occupation whilst engaged in this work is a graphic designer. An occupation is broad and can cover a range of different jobs. An occupation earns you money.

What’s a Job?

A job is also something that pays the bills!

It doesn’t necessarily need to be something you love, but maybe something you do on the way to your career or vocation. It may be a role in your preferred industry – staying with the example above, graphic design, but it is not something that generally makes your heart sing. It may include a more specific job title such as ‘assistant graphic artist’, while still being within your occupation of a graphic designer.

What’s a Career?

A career is something you train for and become specialised in, and it should bring enjoyment and fulfilment.

As an example, perhaps you work in graphic design over a few years, moving up the ranks as you build experience – then you have a career.

What’s a Vocation?

A vocation is something that can genuinely give you purpose and enrich your life.

We all have a vocation, even if we may not be aware of what it is yet.

As a graphic designer, it may be an appreciation of art and beauty. For some fortunate people, career and vocation can combine, but this isn’t necessary.

To find your vocation, you must identify your personal values and what makes you thrive.

So, if you’ve got a job you don’t enjoy, that’s okay because it’s just a job. Try to build your life around your vocation and hobbies – your job doesn’t have to define you.

But if you’re stuck in a career that’s not engaging, don’t waste any more time. Either find a job that allows you the space to indulge your passions or take steps to change your career, so that it’s more in line with your vocation.

Haley Williams

Haley Williams is the Senior Content Writer for Australian Online Courses where she covers many topics affecting the workplace, including mental health, career development, conflict resolution, management techniques and personal and professional development strategies. A copywriter and journalist for more than a decade, Haley has also written for News Limited, APN News & Media, Practical Parenting, Madison magazine, Health Times, and various online publications.


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