(Career News Service)—SHOULD YOU SEEK A JOB, a career, or a “calling?” Before answering you need to know how they differ, and Bill Barnett, teacher of career strategy at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School, explains it in the new book, The Strategic Career.
Barnett’s advice to people seeking contentment is: “Seek a calling in work that emphasizes service, craft, and institution; and that capitalizes on your strengths. Put these fundamentals of work first, not the rewards from work. When you do that, you’re giving yourself an excellent prospect for accomplishment, happiness, and satisfaction.”
The first step, he advises, is enveloping your “Aspirational Personal Value Proposition.”
You do this by examining your values, strengths, potential target fields, and roles, as well as investigating those fields and roles to find your long term targets. Next step: discovering how you may in time meet those needs.
“Knowing your strengths is critical,” he writes. “You should seek to work in an area where you can use your strengths every day. You’ll enjoy it and accomplish a great deal.”
To clarify the difference between job/career/calling, he cites the definitions of Yale School of Management’s Amy Wrzesniewski:
1. Job—People focus on the material benefits of work to the relative exclusion of other kinds of meaning and fulfillment.
2. Career—The increased pay, prestige, and status that come with promotion and advancement are the dominant focus of their work.
3. Calling—People “work not for financial rewards or for advancement, but for the fulfillment that doing the work brings…. The work is an end in itself, and is usually associated with the belief that the work contributes to the greater good and makes the world a better place.”
Or, as many in any field often say of their calling, “I didn’t choose it. It chose me.”
Barnett notes that some people assume to follow a calling requires a great deal of self-sacrifice and denial, and leading a life like Mother Teresa. “I’m sure some calling people are like that, but that level of sacrifice and denial isn’t what I’ve found,” he writes. “‘Calling’ people are different because they see their work as a positive end in itself.”
He sees that for career people, advancement, pay, prestige, and power are front of mind. And only a few of the people he’s known see their work as jobs. “Job people find little meaning in what they do. They hope to contain sacrifice while earning acceptable pay.”
According to Barnett, most calling people like their employers, believe in what the company does, and want it to succeed….They’re part of a new team, the team is important and they hope the team will win.” They also may like their colleagues and hope they will win too.
Career people often emphasize their institution as a way to get ahead, and few would turn down, out of loyalty to their institution or college, an opportunity to advance somewhere else. Job people, on the other hand, seldom see their institutions that way, though they may value their job and hope the employer does well.
Even when you may be comfortable in your job, career or calling (and within your company), it helps to understand these varying roles because of the wide swath of co-workers’ views of their own positions. And values!
Barnett’s advice to people seeking contentment is: “Seek a calling in work that emphasizes service, craft and institution and that capitalizes on your strengths. Put these fundamentals of work first, not the rewards from work. When you do that, you’re giving yourself an excellent prospect for accomplishment, happiness and satisfaction.”