Wouldn’t it be nice if you when you needed a job, you were visited by the career fairy? This fairy sprite would fly into your bedroom window in the middle of the night, quietly whisper your “calling” into your ear, and then sprinkle you with fairy dust that magically paid you to do the work that makes you happy. That would be awesome!
Instead only about 30% of workers in the USA are happy with their jobs, and a much smaller percentage – maybe 10% – are highly engaged at work and love what they do. David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps and editor of the book Callings: The purpose and passion of work, has listened to thousands of personal interviews and believes that meaningful work exists at the intersection of three things: feeling appreciated, making people’s lives better, and doing something you are good at. Some people, like Isay who recorded his first interview at age 21, find their calling early in life but others find it later in life, like the accountant who found his passion for slicing lox after retirement.
Isay takes issue with the phrase “finding your calling” because it implies a passive process in which you fall into your dream job. Just a magical visit from the career fairy. Instead, Isay believes that once you stumble upon something that makes you happy, you have to fight like hell to make it your life’s work. Some people slog through years of a dissatisfying career because they can’t afford to leave the salary, benefits, or aren’t able to take time to realize their passions.
Other people know what they are called to do, but can’t see a path forward. Maybe pursuing meaningful work requires taking a pay cut, going back to school, or disappointing your family, friends and co-workers when you leave your current position. Outdoor educators and conservation professionals are lucky because most of us love what we do. However, our calling often pays rewards in laughter and sunsets rather than salaries and benefits, so some of us struggle to make ends meet.
I developed the Career Mapping process to help conservation professionals and outdoor educators articulate their calling and draw a path to meaningful work. I’m offering a five-week online Career Mapping workshop this spring and would like to invite you to participate in the first week (Know Yourself) for free. Just reply to this email and I will put you on the invite list.
I may not be the career fairy, but I know how to fight like hell to help people realize their passions.
Share in the comments below: When did you realize what you wanted to do with your life? And how are you fighting to make it happen?
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