Is There A Plan?

Job, career or vocation? They are all really different. Let’s look at the definitions from Dictionary.com:

job – noun
1. a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price: She gave him the job of mowing the lawn.
2. a post of employment; full-time or part-time position: She was seeking a job as an editor.
3. anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility: It is your job to be on time.

Now, there are lots of ways to use “job” as a verb or adjective, but let’s stick with this one for a moment. Is your job to produce words? Canvases with paint on them? Music? Comics? Sculpture? Or <insert art form here>? Mine isn’t.

career – noun
1. an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework: He sought a career as a lawyer.
2. a person’s progress or general course of action through life or through a phase of life, as in some profession or undertaking: His career as a soldier ended with the armistice.
3. success in a profession, occupation, etc.

A career actually seems to me that you have a plan. I don’t know that I had any plan beyond my first job. In fact, I was ahead of my time, I got a degree in a field that didn’t even exist when I got the degree, but it does now. Once I had the piece of paper in my hand, aka “Diploma,” I set about trying to get a job to earn this useful thing called money. I like having a roof, heat, food, electricity to run the computer, etc. After working in my degree field for about 3 years, I figured out that I wasn’t making enough money. I changed jobs and career fields to earn more. Did I plan that? Not really. Once I got tired of working 60+ hours a week for CorpAmerica™, I decided to go back to school to be a paralegal. Now I’m back to earning no money again. Did I learn a lot, yep. Is it a career for me, nope.

vocation – noun
1. a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.
2. a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.
3. a divine call to God’s service or to the Christian life.

I don’t pretend to preach beliefs to anyone, but let’s just go with “calling” to something without defining what made the calling because that is personal to each and every one of us. No matter where I go, what I do, how many careers or jobs I have, I ALWAYS come back to writing. I can write anything. I’ve written scientific papers, grant applications, proposals, technical specifications, technical manuals, legal pleadings, legal briefs and now a blog. My vocation is writing. I use words to communicate. I am a writer. How about you?

My next step: turn that vocation into a career. Write on.

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