Most people see their profession in one of 3 ways: a job, a career, or a calling. Defining your motivation could be the key to your professional happiness and meaning. We’ll help you discover if you have a job, a career, or a calling, and show you what you can do to make your career more satisfying.
If you have a Job…
you are focused on your paycheck, using employment solely to provide income to enjoy your life outside of work. You’re probably not all that enthralled with your job responsibilities or opportunities for advancement. You don’t consider yourself especially driven or passionate about working. Work is a necessity and it’s all about the Benjamins.
Even if you’re not jazzed by work, it takes up 1/3 of your life! That’s way too much time to be spent bored and disengaged. Your career is directly tied into the life you lead outside of work, so start by examining what type of lifestyle you want now and later in life (even retirement). Then see for yourself how your career can help you to achieve that lifestyle. Maybe you’ll decide to focus on enhancing your salary through bonuses or promotions, increasing your work-life balance, or participating in your retirement and 401K plans more heavily. Learn to use your job as a tool and work on some thoughtful life and career planning.
Your disinterest in your job may also mean you’re not doing what you should be – maybe it’s time to do some career assessment. Are there jobs that would be more rewarding and interesting to you? Do you think you would have a Career or a Calling if you had a different role?
If you have a Career…
you are focused on advancement, and the prestige that comes along with it. You thrive on new responsibilities and find professional growth extremely rewarding. Career progression, elevated professional standing, and increased power in your organization boost your confidence and job satisfaction.
If you’re unhappy, it’s likely that you’re not growing in the way you want to be. Create a strategic career plan that provides a framework to reach goals such as a promotion, title increase, or recognition. Enhance your professional network inside your organization by volunteering for high-profile committees and projects, and outside by speaking at events or participating in professional associations.
Identify important organizational challenges and develop solutions in order to create successful accomplishments for yourself that will establish noticeable achievements to supervisors and company leadership. You can also attain advanced education or professional certifications that support your professional growth.
If you have a Calling…
you are innately passionate about your work and do it because you find it rewarding. You feel fulfilled by being useful and find work inseparable from your life – it’s what you were meant to do and you enjoy it.
If you are not feeling satisfied with your work, it’s likely that something or someone is blocking you from contributing or adding value in some way – taking away the ‘meaning’ that you hold so closely. It’s important to discover what that is and create a strategy to solve the problem. You might also find enjoyment in volunteering your skills outside of your organization for a nonprofit, participating actively with your professional association to give back to your profession, or engaging in ongoing education to be as effective and up to date as you can be.
You could be at risk for burning out. Hang up thank you notes and other positive reminders of why you do your work around your workspace to help motivate you through difficult days. It’s likely that you frequently take work with you on vacations or when you’re at home; try to limit this a bit and create more work/life balance for yourself to increase your stamina and engagement while you’re on the clock.
There is no right or wrong answer, as everyone’s interests, motivations, and goals are all very different. In studies, many professionals in the same line of work (and even in the same company) were evenly distributed amongst the three choices.
Maybe you’ve been in a slump for awhile and don’t know where to start? It might be a great idea to have a formal Career Planning & Strategy Session to create a plan to get what out of work – and life!
So, which do you have – a job, a career, or a calling?