What’s the difference between a calling and career?

What's the difference between a calling and career?

For people just starting out on their career paths, or those who have been there for a while, you will have grappled with the question: ‘Is this my calling in life?’ 

During your formative years, you will have developed a strong sense of self- things such as how you like to dress, the type of music you like to listen to, and how you like your eggs cooked (unless you choose not to eat eggs, of course). However, having that sense of self-reflected in your daily work is rare. 

Let’s face it- most of us have worked jobs that pay less than minimum wage where we’ve had to have a smile permanently plastered to our faces in order to win tips. Or, stuck behind desks, chained to a laptop when we’d rather be where the people are. Experiences like this can make us wonder if it is at all possible to have both a career and a calling- and have them be the exact same thing. 

What is a life calling- doesn’t that sound a bit religious?

Many people will see the word ‘calling’ and see it as something that is usually associated with people who practice religion, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all.  

Your calling in life is a cocktail of your gifts, talents, and passions–and how you use them to make a difference in your own life as well as those around you. For example, if you like baking and it gives you joy, then you can share the joy with others by gifting them to friends and family to make them happy, or by selling them to raise funds for a charitable cause. Nothing religious about wanting to be happy and spreading the joy! 

It’s Not Always About The Money 

Yes– groan- not everything has to do with how much money you get out of it. Some people’s calling in life is not directly linked to the career path they choose. Somebody could be earning a six-figure salary and not be happy because they’re not doing the things to live out their calling. On the other hand, someone else may have given up their job to care for a loved one and that’s what brings them and their loved ones joy. Of course, looking into caregiver salaries is an option for those who need the money to survive.

Of course, having money is great, but should we all be wasting our lives slaving away at a job we hate that brings neither us nor the people around us joy?  That is, especially when there’s little room to do much else in our daily lives. If you enjoy theater, for example, but you don’t have the time to get lessons or join groups because you’re working too much–then what’s the point? 

The key takeaway here is that you can live both a calling and a career at the same time. They don't have to be interchangeable- it is possible to find a way to be truly happy, fulfilled, and paid to do it!