Vocation: The answer to all those burning questions

purpose-Studio-Insights-by-Michael-David-SturlinWhat am I going to do with my life? How will I be happy and make money? Where would I fit best? These are all questions I have heard from my peers and have even asked myself. You will find that the answer to these questions becomes much clearer when you find your vocation.

Vocation, for those of you who don’t know, is a feeling of suitability in one’s career. I think it is safe to assume that when most people think about their future, they want to be financially stable, growing in their business, and above all, feel happy. If you can figure out something that you are good at and something that you love, you are on the right track. Making sure your job supports your vocation is important because being intrinsically motivated by passion, instead of motivated by money alone, will produce better-quality work in the long run.

Figuring out your vocation or niche is not easy, but it is worth it. Take me for example, I was just like any normal kid as I switched my desired “what I want to be when I grow up” from day to day, but once I got to high school, I got pretty serious about one of my interests. People thought my major was great, but warned me it would probably change. I was convinced it wouldn’t. While I still do have the same major, I have added another and seriously re-considered what I could do with my two majors.

Not taking the traditional route to one’s career can be scary. I have questioned my future and what I was studying many times, but what I found out is that I’m not alone. After talking to friends and classmates, I was intrigued by what they were pursuing and how it didn’t match up perfectly with the title of their major. You see, there are about 100 majors, but thousands of students. There is plenty of room to explore your options or even create some of your own.

If you are still lost, here is a great tool that can help you  find your vocation and maybe even a possible career. Create a chart with three column headings and lines separating them (like a T chart, but with three titles). Label the first one, “What I Love To Do.” Get out of the occupation mindset here; that will come later. In this column, focus only on what makes you happy. Maybe that is cooking, helping people, playing with kids, going on long drives, or creating music. Be as specific as possible because you may be surprised by what you could do with one of the items listed.

Title the next column, “What I’m Good At.” Here, write what you do well and what comes easy to you. Maybe it’s biology, chemistry, English, taking photographs, dancing, or making people smile. Be sure to ask your family and friends too because sometimes when we are so naturally good at something, we can’t see it ourselves because it is just a part of us. A lot of the time, what we skip over ourselves is so blatantly obvious to others.

What you listed in these two columns is your vocation- the things that come easy and that you truly enjoy. However, vocation isn’t always a factor in your career, but if you’re lucky, your job can be a vehicle that helps you carry out your vocation, or your job and vocation can go hand in hand.

To brainstorm some ideas of jobs that could help you utilize and strengthen your vocation, title the last column, “Possible Career Options.” Under this heading you want to list anything you can think of that would allow you to make money. Be creative and don’t leave anything out, even if it seems unrelated. If you would enjoy being both a fashion designer and a traveling researcher and it would align with your vocation, jot it down!

The final step is the best part. Take your favorite highlighter or marker and highlight similarities you found in the different columns. For example, let’s say you love to learn and help others, you do amazing on your psychology tests, are great with kids, and teaching can help you make money. Do you see a connection? I think we have a winner. Try it with your own responses and see what happens!

Maybe you don’t come to a definite conclusion right away from this exercise, and that’s okay. Hopefully, it got you thinking because you were forced to write it down and consider your options. If you did come to a conclusion, that’s great. Always be open to change and feel free to do this exercise again whenever you feel your interests may have shifted.

For now, get out there and make connections, get real with what you want to do, think about what you would be awesome at, try not to stress too much, have faith, and watch your career flourish! You can do it.

Happy soul searching!

Career Peer Jessica

Let us know what you think: Have you found your “fit” yet or has a particular job or class introduced you to experiences that have allowed you to explore you vocation?




























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