Job, Career, Or Calling: Which One Do You Need?

If you read my article from last week, I talked about COVID-19 career PTSD. There are so many people who are stuck in their careers right now and can't figure out what to do next. I know from 20 years of career coaching that the answer lies in figuring out whether you need a job, a career, or a calling.

The Difference Between A Job, A Career, And A Calling

@j.t.odonnell Do you need a JOB, CAREER or CALLING right now???? @j.t.odonnell #careers #jobs #jobtok #careertok #tiktok #howto #dreamjob #workitdaily '¬ original sound - J.T. O'Donnell

A job is something that just pays the bills. It's serving a singular purpose. You don't feel any identity tied to it. A really great example of people who work jobs would be Olympic athletes. A lot of them will work at places like Home Depot because they can just go in and do the job. A job like that has flexible hours, which is perfect for them because their main pursuit is becoming an Olympic athlete. Or maybe you've got something going on with family right now that's way more important than feeling connected to the work that you do. Whatever the reason, you just need a job where you can punch in and collect a paycheck.

Then there's a career. I would say the majority of people fall into this category. These are people who want work to be meaningful to them. We've seen a big shift in this as a result of the pandemic. People are becoming purpose-driven professionals who don't just want to do a job. They want the work that they do to have some sort of impact or meaning or at least make them feel satisfied. Careers support intrinsic motivation, meaning you do the work because of the connection that you feel to it, whether it's the connection to the work itself or maybe to the organization and what they do. And that becomes very important for satisfaction. We have to do work that works for us. So when you know you want a career, you have to pursue it differently. You have to become a job shopper. That's how you'll find the right career for you.

The last category is a calling. Very few people fall into this type of work. This is when what you do becomes a large part of your identity. Finding a calling happens when people get super passionate about solving a problem, alleviating a pain, and creating more happiness. I have a calling. I left corporate America 20 years ago because I got very frustrated about the fact that the people that we were recruiting that we weren't able to place could have secured better jobs if they had received coaching. So I became a career coach, and for the last 20 years, I've been trying to disrupt that industry and build an online platform for people. It's come at a sacrifice. I've traded out a lot of hobbies and recreation to put toward work. Also, financially, this isn't overly lucrative. But I'm doing it because it makes a difference. And that's important to me. That's a calling. It's not for everyone, but it might be for you.

So which one do you need right now? A job, a career, or a calling?

Need more help finding a job, career, or calling?

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