Open Thread: Is Your Work Your Calling?

Matthew Cornell is making the leap from traditional employment to self employment as a workflow coach, a transition that will likely see him join the ranks of web workerhood. In describing why he’s making this move, Matthew points to an old but still useful interview from Fast Company titled Is Your Job Your Calling.

In the interview, psychologist Timothy Butler distinguishes between “vocation,” “career,” and “job:”

Vocation is the most profound of the three, and it has to do with your calling. It’s what you’re doing in life that makes a difference for you, that builds meaning for you, that you can look back on in your later years to see the impact you’ve made on the world. A calling is something you have to listen for. You don’t hear it once and then immediately recognize it. You’ve got to attune yourself to the message.Career is the term you hear most often today.

A career is a line of work. You can say that your career is to be a lawyer or a securities analyst-but usually it’s not the same as your calling. You can have different careers at different points in your life.

A job is the most specific and immediate of the three terms. It has to do with who’s employing you at the moment and what your job description is for the next 6 months or so. These days, trying to describe what your job will be beyond 12 to 18 months from now is very dicey.

One reason many people become web workers is because they are seeking their calling or vocation rather than just a job or even a career. Compared to traditional employment, web workerhood sometimes offers a more flexible and purpose-oriented way of earning an income and making a contribution to the world.

What about you? Have you found work that represents your calling? Is web workerhood, self employment, or working as part of a virtual team part of your vision for your calling? Do you have a plan for making your work a vocation rather than just a job?

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