Our paycheck may not come from a calling but then not every calling is defined by a paycheck.
When we act with purpose we act with intent; we understand why we are doing what we are doing. Or, if we don’t truly understand why we are doing what we are doing, we know
it feels right for us. It makes us feel whole. Often I will ask an audience to examine why they put their feet on the floor each morning. Besides earning a buck, why do you do what you do? What passion drives you to do what you do? Are you inspired by what you do?
I friend recently asked me if the only job worth having was one a person had passion for. He related how he did not particularly like his job but the job (the hours, the rhythms of the workday, the pay) allowed him to live a lifestyle for which he had passion. He raised a good point. Can someone put his/her feet on the floor each morning, not like his/her job, and still have a purpose and passion for life?
The short answer: Of course you can.
My friend’s point is an important one and it made me take a deeper look. For instance, today’s economy is such that there are (very probably) untold numbers of people who have
lost jobs for which they had passion. Jobs that gave their days purpose and meaning. Many, when they find new employment, believe they are “lucky” to have a job; purpose and passion are a luxury—a dream. Does it mean their lives lack purpose? I don’t think so.
Back to my friend above. He has developed and honed a wonderful talent over the past 35-40 years. In his chosen field of work, he is very good. It just so happens his career talent is not what he is particularly passionate about. But even though he does not have a passion to do what he is doing—it is not a calling for him, it is a job—he still takes deep pride in what he does each day. He will never “phone it in.” He acts with continued discipline and integrity. And I think that sets my friend apart from many other people we might encounter numerous times each day.
Video recommendation for the week:
Parker Palmer provides insight on navigating the gap.
Like the young lady in Chicago’s Midway Airport last week. A cashier, she looked bored—totally disengaged from what she was doing and the customers in front of her. She barely grunted at me when I handed her my money. No smile, no eye contact, no connection. I don’t pretend to know what was going on in her life. What I do know is that for that momentary transaction there was no passion; she was a terrible representative for her employer. And she did not (it appeared) care. Another example of redundant mediocrity.
My friend, on the other hand, is an example of remarkable consistency. He is a reminder that even when our talents and passions do not align we can still have a passion for what we do because caring about doing a good job is the right thing to do. Our paycheck may not come from a calling but then not every calling is defined by a paycheck.
The reminder for me is that no matter what we do, we owe it to ourselves, the task and the people around us to do it with pride and integrity. Author Parker Palmer says it best, “If the work we do lacks integrity for us, then we, the work, and the people we do it with will suffer.”
Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B.as needed!
REGISTER NOW for my August 8, 2012 P.D.Q. Webinar “Study Skill Strategies: Success in the Classroom and Beyond!” Click here or paste this link into your web browser:https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6856101855536438784
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