Job vs. Calling – Work to Live or Live to Work?

Do you work to live or live to work? That is the question. Or are you currently residing somewhere in the gray area in-between?

I have been thinking about this idea of differentiation between job and calling since the day I contacted a colleague at home and she asked me to hold while she covered the phone and yelled “It’s my job”. I was struck that this person who was so committed to her work, used the term ‘job’ vs. any other label in the English language. And I realized my bias, thinking ‘job’ was less than calling.

I think it has something to do with where our true passions lie. A job, to many, is a means to an end, while a calling is that nagging dream that disrupts any attempt to take a career detour.

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ and ‘The Signature of All Things‘ described better than most what a calling looks like in her TED Talk last year, referring to her work as her ‘home’.

“Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself…your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.”

“The only trick is that you’ve got to identify the best, worthiest thing that you love most, and then build your house right on top of it and don’t budge from it. And if you should someday, somehow get vaulted out of your home by either great failure or great success, then your job is to fight your way back to that home the only way that it has ever been done, by putting your head down and performing with diligence and devotion and respect and reverence whatever the task is that love is calling forth from you next.”

Maybe we’re a bit reluctant to describe our aspirations as a ‘calling’. Maybe it’s more humble to have a ‘job’. I would not use caution in describing your life’s work.





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