I was working in Martin Place today in Sydney’s CBD. There was a “Vocations Expo” in the amphitheatre area. The Expo was dedicated to religious vocations but it prompted me to ponder the vocational paths that each of us pursue in our lives. (I’ll warn you now: if you are doing some soul-searching, you won’t find any answers here!)
The Oxford Dictionary* defines “Vocation” as
a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation
a person’s employment or main occupation, especially regarded as worthy and requiring dedication
a trade or profession
I started a new job 4 months ago. Without going into details, it is not a job that I have been happy with (see previous post “Office of Professional Responsibility”). Having said that, I was not very happy in my previous job either, mostly because I was working ridiculous hours for very little payoff and I was working away from home. In fact, I wondered when the last time I felt truly happy in a job. When I look back at the various companies I worked in, the people I worked with, the work that I did, it is the cumulative years of experience and skills that have given me the opportunities and lifestyle that I currently enjoy. But it doesn’t mean I always enjoyed the journey.
But how many of us wake up in the mornings to get ready for work, only to begin the countdown to the end of the day (or what we Australians affectionately call “beer o’clock”) or start looking forward to Fridays when it is only Monday?
A little while ago I was having lunch with one of my BFFs** and I was once again discussing the “hotness” of actor Matt Bomer and his fantastic co-star Tim DeKay on the show “White Collar”*** and how for every actor who manages to break through to star in a hit show, there are gazillions of them who do not. And even for those who do make it, it could be through years of perseverance and countless auditions before they finally score a hit. And imagine a job interview where every part of you is being judged – not just whether you are a talented actor or not, but you must look the part (skinny/fat, tall/short, black/white/asian, etc). You can learn to act (ok so some are obviously better than others) and you can have makeovers but at every interview you are putting yourself up for criticisms that cannot get more personal than how you look! And hats off to the writers of the show, too! How fantastic it must feel to know there are people quoting lines that you have written? (Seinfeld’s writers are probably some of the most quoted in television history.)
As far as I’m concerned, the difference between a “vocation” and a “job” is the passion with which the former is often associated with. You live a vocation and dedicate your life to it; you work in a job which is usually just a means to an end. If you are one of the rare fortunate ones, your job will be your vocation. For those of us still searching for our vocations, well, keep searching and come back and let me know when you’ve found it. In the meantime, I will just keep admiring the talents I see on “White Collar”!
It’s time to go to bed so I can get up for another day on the job…
** best friends forever