8 key characteristics of people who find their vocation

Vocational people are most noticeable for the dedication or commitment they show in their daily lives and work. This is usually accompanied by self-discipline;

2. FIT
Their interests, aptitudes and temperament appear to be in balance with the needs and requirements of their work. It breeds a level of self-confidence;

Although vocational people may like money and become wealthy they are not materially minded: in the last resort they do not work for pay or financial gain;

Creativity takes many different forms, ranging from artistic creativity to the creativity which people exhibit in social life, for example by creating a human enterprise out of an idea;

Work becomes for vocational people their principal source of enjoyment or fun. They are invariably enthusiastic if not passionate about what they are doing;

Humility stems from the sense of being a servant to the work, and through the work to larger and more important purposes than self. It is not the denial of self, but the absence of self-importance;

Vocational people do not give up easily, which is as well because the path of vocation is seldom an easy one; and

If they are not "in it for the money", what motivates vocational people? Many exhibit a strong sense of service. In some contexts that amounts to serving individuals, in others it takes one of the many forms of public service. But the service-orientation is unmistakable.

2001 John Adair's offical website

the psychology of successful career choice or change

by Jon Snodgrass, Ph.D.


Work that is not personally satisfying reflects a basic conflict you have with yourself. You may think your conflict is caused by your career, and that if you change careers, the conflict will go away. But you cannot pick the right career for you without first resolving the inner conflict.

The conflict caused you to pick the wrong career to begin with, and now causes the work dissatisfaction. Changing careers starts with resolving self-conflict. If you do not, dissatisfaction will just grow, and show up again in whatever work you choose to do next. Then you will have another reason to be upset with yourself.

This basic principle holds true for personal relationships, too- if you change partners, the same problems will be reproduced in new relationships.

The truth is, the conflict you have with yourself is the same conflict you have with work, family, friends, bosses and co-workers. A conflict with work, therefore, expresses a hidden conflict within yourself.

While we are young, we tend to see our problems as imposed, and solved, by external means. Explanations may range, for example, from environmental ("a bad job market") to circumstantial ("a bad boss"). To overcome these adversities is the very reason we strive to attain the highest income and best career possible. But this strategy must inevitably break down, since it locates the reasons for conflict externally. And, if you seek to resolve the conflict outside yourself, you can be certain you only confirm the conflict within yourself.

Beneath appearances, there is only one problem, and it is the relationship of you with you. To understand this principle you must become more insightful and introspective. A more contemplative attitude toward life is not usually attained before the age of "thirty-something."

Until that time, one tends to think that success is a product of a variety of factors like gender, class, race, nationality, politics, economic opportunity, education, hard work and good luck. The truth is, however, the course of your life is shaped entirely by your inner self-relationship.


"Know thyself" was the motto that Socrates learned from the Oracle at Delphi. It is ancient wisdom, true today as it was in ancient Greece. At some point in life's journey you must begin the quest to find your true self. Otherwise, you are destined to live with a false sense of self, interpersonal conflicts and career dissatisfaction.

Career reassessment typically comes at mid- life when failures in outer solutions trigger the classic "psycho-social crisis." Almost everyone is challenged to find their purpose by the time their days on earth are half numbered. This is one of the reasons that being over fifty is called "prime time" =)

We think only of ministers and doctors as having a "calling" but everyone has a calling.

Many people choose to ignore their quest for a calling, and try to live in a rational material world, using only their goal-oriented left-brain, or reside in an imaginary emotional world of self-doubt, using only their right-brain. A meaningful career choice arises from the resource of your own integrated mind and from nowhere else.

All the skills and knowledge necessary to enact your life-purpose are directly and fully inherent right within your own mind.

Prevailing wisdom about career choice and change sees it exclusively as a logical problem of how to gather job market data, and adapt your aptitudes and personality to corporate structures and needs. Conforming to societal expectations, rather than finding personal meaning, tends to be the norm. The traditional approach assumes that the economy is rational, and that an individual is not, unless he or she conforms. As a result, aptitude and personality "testing" are the dominant methodology in career counseling today.

Traditional career counseling tends to overlook the importance of self-examination, and the psychological and spiritual foundation to career decision making outlined in this article. In life, where and how you choose to use your talents and knowledge are ultimately and always a question of the relationship you have with yourself and whether or not you seek to find your higher purpose in life.

(c) Jon Snodgrass, Ph.D., author of Follow Your Career Star: Career Quest Based on Inner Values. Professor Snodgrass is a Professor of Human Development and Group Dynamics at California State University, Los Angeles.

Obtain a Free Email Career Consultation with Professor Snodgrass by emailing your situation and main questions to


"My philosophy is simple: Love what you do. Don't do something because you hear that it's a great way to make money."

- Richard Foos, President, Rhino Records

do what your heart desires - every day

By Donna Watkins

Are you thinking about beginning a home business to get away from the rat race in the corporate world - or to provide for your own job security?

What's the first question that comes to mind?

Our pastor preached a message over a year ago entitled, What is Your Destiny? In that message, he provided a list of questions to ponder when trying to find your "walk" through life.

  1. What is the deepest desire of my heart?
  2. What stirs my passions?
  3. What flows naturally out of me?
  4. Where do I bring forth fruit or produce good results?
  5. What do other mature people see in me?
  6. What thoughts, visions, and dreams are impossible to put out of my mind?
  7. To what can I give 100% of myself for my whole life?
  8. What do people want to gather around me and help me to do?

If you will sit down and honestly consider these questions with somebody who knows you well, you'll come up with some surprising answers. You can find a purpose in life that will allow you to provide an income for yourself and your family while you are doing what your heart desires - every day!

Email Donna on or access her website on This issue of Vocation Quest is published by MediaPeak

why work?

By Robert Woods

Many of us may assume the answer is an easy one - "We work because we have to!" Some may say we work, "to make money so we can live." But I'm not talking about the daily practical reasons we work. Is there anything that motivates us to work other than the obvious reason of making money? Is there anything that can give our work a deeper meaning?

Signs of a weak philosophy of work are all around us.

Work fascinates me; I can sit and watch it for hours. The search for meaning in work is a quest many have embarked upon with no real sense of completion. Most of us could agree with Thomas Caryle when he said: It's the first of all problems for a person to discover what kind of work one is to do in this universe.

Since the average working American spends between 40-60 hours every week engaged in activities called work, you would think more would have searched for the elements that can make work more meaningful and enjoyable. One quote from the great civic poet and philosopher, W.H. Auden, contains some important clues to finding happiness in work.

Auden writes: In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it: they must not do too much of it: and they must have a sense of success in it -- not a doubtful sense, such as needs some testimony of others for its confirmation, but a sure sense, or rather knowledge, that so much work has been done well, and fruitfully done, whatever the world may say or think about it.

Do a quick inventory of your work in light of this quote.

1. Do you "fit" your work? Auden can be read as asking here more than the basic question of whether you are gifted for your work, but whether it is "right" for you and you are "right" for it.

2. Do you find a deep enjoyment and sense of satisfaction in your job? And some will take this question about, "rightness" a step further. There is a new movement underway that has a long and respected tradition. It urges on us renewal of the notion of calling.

3. Do you work too much? Someone may ask, what is too much? Are you exhausted to the point of depression because of your work? Do you feel like you just ran a marathon but didn't even leave the starting block? When you come home in the evening, do your children look as if a stranger has just broken in? Do you simply wish that casual Fridays could expand to include pajamas, so that you didn't have to waste the time of changing clothes before getting to work?

4. Can you really say that you are good at your work and the work you do is important? Do you have a grand and noble vision of your work? In the big picture, does your work make a positive contribution to the human race? The contributions each day can be small in a global sense, but can you believe that its there?

When people answer the question why work with the cynical, "for a paycheck," they fail to see the real possibility that work can provide a deeper meaning to life. The highest reward for a person's work is not what they get from it, but what they become by it. A significant part of finding happiness in our work is the realization that happiness is not an emotion but a practice. Happiness will be found in work when we are held captive by the desire to be more than just average, getting the job done, but moved to be excellent in our actions, habits, and outcomes in work and life.

Proof of this idea of happiness in work and life can be found not only by living it but by watching and speaking with those who already live and work this way. Reflect on the following quote from Dorthoy L. Sayers: That the eyes of all workers should behold the integrity of the work is the sole means to make work good in itself and so for humanity.

Do you see the big picture of your work? Do you look at your work and say, "it is good"? When asked the question, "why do you work?" what is your answer? When we can say with Martial that, The work itself is a pleasure;we will be able to say with enthisiasm why we work.

2001 Morris Institute for Human Values.

the inner calling test

Find out if the usual achievements and accomplishments associated with work are enough for you, or if you may be seeking something more. Rate the following areas in your current worklife from one to ten, with one being a statement that is not at all true for you and ten being a statement that is always 100% true:

1. DISCONTENT  You believe you have reached some or all of the professional goals you set but often feel discontented, empty or unfulfilled;

2. YEARNING You feel a strong desire for something more in your life;

3. INTEGRITY  You do not believe in what you are doing or the clients you represent;

4. MEANING  You would like more inner meaning and fulfillment in your life;

5. FULFILLMENT  You go home many times after finishing difficult work tasks feeling a lack of inner fulfillment;

6. TGIF  The best part of work is when it is over;

7. SELF-EXPRESSION  You would like to express the unique qualities and talents that you have to contribute;

8. ADDING VALUE  You would like to add more value to your practice, to your firm or company, or to your life;

9. AUTHENTICITY  You would like to be fully authentic, with permission to make mistakes;

10. AUTHENTICITY You believe that you would be less effective in the legal profession if you honestly presented your true self. You worry that if people found out who you really are they would not like you, or you would lose your job;

11. NEEDS  You want more from your work than just a comfortable living;

12. LIFE IMPORTANCE  You feel that there is something important in life that you are missing out on as the days pass by too quickly;

13. CONTENTMENT  You respect having a life of more contentment and inner peace;

14. SATISFACTION You find the satisfactions of work accomplishments last only a short time; and

15. VISION  You would like to get more out of life than just safety and security.

If you are interested in knowing more about this process, access the Coachlaw website or email them at

The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation.

- Mark Twain

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