Vocation vs job - what's the difference?
Updated: Feb 19
As we face an ever-changing working world in the 21st century, we find ourselves staring either into retrenchment, resignation or retirement. Current global economic trends are forcing us out of conventional jobs, opening up a world of opportunities – that is, if we allow ourselves to view this world through an entirely different pair of lenses.
Living in the 21st century has unlocked the word “vocation” in a world that was once predominantly focused on jobs.
As a life coach, one of the life areas I explore with my clients is vocation. Most times, I am asked what is vocation.
Vocation vs job…
So, what’s the deal here? What is the difference between vocation and job? If we explore the word “vocation”, we will see just how different it is from a job.
A job, at least the conventional one, normally requires one to work because one has to for various reasons: money, expectations or demands from others or simply because you “fell into it”, not realising you had options.
On the other hand, vocation allows you to do what you are passionate about, it’s your calling, it’s what you want to do with your life, as often as possible. So, if you are one of the fortunate ones, your job could actually be your vocation. Many people love their jobs. They have learnt to align it with their vocations. However, many of us are not that fortunate.
Operating from our vocation…
More and more, the conventional job as we know it, is becoming a scarcity. We are forced to find other ways of earning our keep. While this prospect can be daunting, it can allow us the freedom to reflect on what is important to us in life. If we are honest with ourselves, many of us may realise that the job we have is nothing but drudgery. By facing what is important to us, a whole new world of opportunities presents itself, allowing us the potential and freedom to run a small business that aligns with our true vocation.
Knowing your vocation …
Self-empowerment is a key word used a lot in the 21st century. We are encouraged to upgrade our knowledge and skills. We are exposed to so much more in this century than ever before. The more we discover about ourselves, the more we find ourselves questioning our role in this world. We all need purpose. We all seek meaning from our lives. Sometimes, though, we battle to know what that is.
Steps to knowing your vocation can include the following:
Drawing up a list of things that you love doing. What makes you happy? What are you passionate about? What dreams do you have that you never followed through?
Inner work – commit to some deep soul searching. Somewhere, deep inside of you, lies a “knowing” – there, you will find your vocation.
What gifts do you have? Make a list and compare it with your list of things you love to do.
If you have a job, write down what you love about your job and what you despise about your job.
Describe your perfect day. Have fun with this. Write or sketch your perfect day.
If money was of no concern to you, how would you spend your days?
Get a life coach. Unpacking your thoughts with someone guiding you, can assist you in finding your vocation.
Making your vocation work for you…
Now that you have figured out your vocation, can you turn it into a small business? Once again, we live in a century that allows us to have personal freedom. The freedom to work for ourselves. The freedom to make choices that work for us.
Running a small business can be a risky venture, so we need to be realistic and courageous at the same time. It may mean working half-day at a job, to cover our essential living expenses, while building up our small business that aligns with our vocation. It will mean having the courage to step out and showing yourself up to the world because you believe, with conviction, in your vocation.
Creating a small business in the 21st century can be an exciting adventure. Go on, what are you waiting for? Take that first courageous step and discover the freedom of living your vocation.