Are you my vocation?  

Posted by Jonathan E Johns

I was recently discussing the idea of Job Versus Vocation with a friend of a friend. Most of us have jobs, which pay the bills, and eat 40+ hours per week of our precious time. Very few of us apply our efforts towards a vocation, which continually fills our respective cups, while spilling the precious fluids of art/science/spirituality onto those around us.

I have almost exclusively held jobs my entire life. From my first job as a clerk in a five & dime, to grocery store clean-up guy, all the way up to coffee shop manager and International Customer Service Representative for an Internet Service Provider. My favorite job description was when I was in the U.S. Army National Guard, as a Platoon Leader for the Heavy Duty Road Construction Equipment. “Earth Moving Platoon Leader.” This was also the closest I ever came to having any kind of Vocation, as I was a leader of men, who could potentially go off into combat and die at my order. That kind of immense responsibility required a little more than 9 to 5 hours, and 'leaving the office at the door'. It also provided a great deal of personal rewards, in that I was able to see both physical and professional improvement that I was directly involved in influencing.

For those of us who don't have any kind of full time vocation, we are constantly feeling the suck of a job that is leaching the life fluids out of our respective cups, and constantly struggling to refill that life-blood with, whatever makes our boats float. For some it is family, or exercise, or eXtreme adventure, travel or spiritual journey. Sometimes it is a hobby, from Civil War Re-enactment, to cross-stitching kitten calendars, whatever helps us shed the slimy film of the suck off our souls, and escape to whatever Ponce De Leon was looking for to refill his cup. On occasion, we all must take a break from the career we are mired in, and take on a less taxing position in order to be better able to 'leave it at the door', and use our weekly pay checks to finance our excursions to the Precious Moments Cathedral, or the Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota. Or feed our hobbies, or fill our coffers, or do whatever it takes to reduce the rate at which corporate America is suckling our cups dry.

This vicious cycle occasionally has the effect of creating a cynical spiral of despair, which funds our global pharmaceutical conglomerates, and makes for some interesting escapes from reality. It also tends to make some of us look hard into the mirror and ask, “Who are you, and what did you do with my childhood?”

The real balance of life comes when we find something that we love to do, and a job which finances that. Those few that get paid to do something they might do for free anyway, are rare and lucky people, and most of them know it. The rest of us are eternally appearing on Ed Sullivan's stage, balancing spinning plates for a giggling audience, with occasional applause, mixed with sporadic expressions of 'Oh, shit!'

I am at a point in my life where I am ready to have a simple job which finances the refilling of my cup, and just past the cynical part, where I found the cup to be neither half-full, nor half-empty, but simply twice as big as it needed to be. I am preparing for a big move away from my hometown, back to my adopted village, and find myself seeking a job which will not tax me too much nor suck the life out of my soul too fast, and plan on pouring my energy into starting a newer simpler life, and expressing my creative self through writing.

My good friend Dave ( recently expressed his interest in continuing his excursion into blogging, knowing full well that it may not be either profitable, or even wide-read for that matter. My feeling is that it doesn't matter. A good artist does not create for others, but for himself/herself. In the end, we ourselves are responsible for the rate at which our cup both fills and empties.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 6:54 PM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


i took a weekend off from the rest of the world. here is the fortune cookie i got whilst on my personal retreat:

don't pursue happiness--create it.

it is my new personal motto. :o) thanks for the shout out.

May 11, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Next time on 'The Blog',

How Fortune Cookies Control Our Lives...

May 11, 2009 at 11:18 AM

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