Vocation is not your occupation

I had a discussion with a friend of mine yesterday that started off with: “what is your personal vocation in life?”

The first thought that came to mind was “I don’t have a vocation, I’m not a teacher and not a nurse” so I asked if he meant what’s the motto I live by.

It was then established that neither of us had a clear grasp on the word “vocation”. One of us thought that vocation meant your occupation or career aspirations while the other thought it meant some sort of principled attitude to life.

So the reasoning behind the question was that besides our occupation, there isn’t much else that we contribute to during our lives. I made the comment that when we die, nobody stands up and remarks at how good you could code in SQL, implying that our jobs are of minor importance in the grand scheme of things.

Our current job is just one aspect of our lives but it doesn’t define us as a human being. That’s not where we have our biggest impact on humanity (for most of us at least).

This is what my friend wrote on the matter:

I think an occupation can fall into 3 categories: a Job ( lil satisfaction) a Carear ( career improvement and life fulfillment until retirement) and then your vocation (the activity that is your birthright and something you were born to do, complete life fulfillment)

I’ll finish with a quote on vocation that I found on the web:

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.

-Viktor E. Frankl