There's 3 Types of Work
But not all work is created equal. There are three forms of work that dramatically shape the way we view what we do for a living:
1. There's the J-O-B
If you are in a "j-o-b", you are familiar with the menial, meaningless, monotonous, and mind-numbing qualities of this form of work. You enjoy little discretion, minimal engagement, and nominal creativity. You do this out of necessity, and for pay, because there is no other intrinsic motivation to do it except for money. You would switch to another job if they gave you more money, you resent the daily grind, you pray for the weekends, and you can't wait to retire. Sadly, this type of work has become nothing more than a paycheck for you. And let's be blunt here: doing something you don't want to do for money is basically prostitution. You do not have the opportunity to express your gifts, and in the words of Charles Schultz, "there is no heavier burden than unfulfilled potential."
2. There's the Career
A career is a slightly more evolved form of work. Those in a career often have more discretion and engagement than a j-o-b, and may even enjoy the work. But the focus is on advancement, the upward trajectory of the corporate ladder, promotions, and pay. "Careers" are often depicted as the proverbial "rat race", with its workers on an endless quest for status, success, and identity.
3. There's the Vocation
Vocation is the most evolved and most satisfying form a work.
Vocation, derived from the Latin word "vocare" or "to call", represents a calling to do a particular type of work. This is the big picture purpose many people never identify for themselves. But before you can tell your life what you want to do with it, you have to listen to that 'still small voice' telling you who you are. You are "called" through the skills and abilities you were given, and the personality and passions that draw you in a particular direction. A calling gives you meaning, purpose, and fulfillment if you listen to and answer that call. You view work as one of the most important parts of life, and a vital part of your identity. You are thrilled to be doing it, and believe their your makes world a better place. You get great satisfaction from what you do, and you inspire others to do what inspires them.
Why Do We Work?
Steven Covey explains that we all want "to live, to love, to learn, and leave a legacy." Our vocation will leave a legacy. And the beauty of it is that everyone has a vocation or calling. It is not for the fortunate few. It's not reserved for the pastors, priests, nuns, doctors, lawyers, or engineers. You fulfill your calling by being excellent at whatever you were gifted to do and created to be. Everything you do should be a part of your calling, and your calling will be aligned with your natural talents, personality, and passions. Your vocation is work that matters.