A job is how you make money.
A career is how you make a mark.
A calling is how you acknowledge a higher vision.
My professional life (and probably yours) has taken or will take several unexpected turns and will include work within several organizations. So, I have often wondered if I could call my work life a “career” in the traditional sense. Deepak Chopra’s quote helped me see “career” from a larger perspective that reflects the current way work life happens for most of us.
Even though my career has not consisted of me progressing up “a ladder” within one company, I realized that I have made a mark in every position that I’ve held and so have you!
GIVE YOUR “JOB” A CAREER BOOST
As Chopra was considering making a leap into a new professional area earlier in his career, a prominent Ayurvedic physician advised him about the importance of matching job, career, and calling. Chopra believes that integrating job, career, and calling is necessary in order to experience a fulfilled life that benefits both mind and body. Unfortunately, you, like many others, might see your current work as just a “job,” simply a way to earn money to pay your bills.
The great news is that developing a “career” perspective can help you elevate any “job” to the career level and possibly even recognize a higher calling.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “career” comes from the 1530s and means “a running (usually at full speed), a course” and a “course of a working life” first attested [in] 1803.” When I think of career as a “course of activities,” all jobs and job-related tasks represent the work path that you are on. Yes, you’re doing the job for the money and you are also creating your professional path at the same time.
There’s one simple step that you can take to elevate that “job” to the career level: Figure out a way to make your mark!
MAKE YOUR UNIQUE CAREER MARK
Performing your job duties well is one kind of mark you can make. That particular mark may indicate your pursuit of excellence, belief in doing a great job, or ability to apply the skills that you have developed successfully. Developing a new product or service offerings demonstrates your passion for innovation and creativity. Contributions you make through activities outside of your job description can signify your willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.
And, the care and consideration that you bring to your work relationships and the office environment can have an equal or larger impact than your actual work responsibilities. Here are just a few ways to craft the unique mark that you can make:
- Compliment a colleague on a job well done and/or tell their supervisor how much you appreciate a specific colleague’s contributions
- Let your supervisor know that you recognize and appreciate her/his efforts
- Bring treats or surprises into the office on a random day for no reason at all
Take the time to experience the positive consequences of making your mark in these ways in the next week and regularly throughout the year.
PAVE THE WAY FOR YOUR CALLING
As Chopra concludes the story about his professional struggle, he writes that he “made the leap into a new career.” That statement points to “career” as a word to distinguish the different roles through which each of us makes our professional contributions. However, I propose that we chose to see and use “career” as a unifying word.
A “career” perspective can help you connect the fragments of your work life into a dynamic and coherent story about the opportunities you have had to make a mark and express your values in a variety of positions and organizations. And, guess what? Expressing your values in your job, while finding ways to make your mark, can pave the way to stay connected with a higher vision in your life, to experience your calling in action.
Make money, make a mark, and acknowledge a higher vision by reflecting and acting on the following questions:
What values are important to you?
How can you demonstrate your values in your work life?
What do you want to be known and remembered for?
How have you used your skills, expertise, and interests to make a mark?
How can you make a mark now and in the future?