On Jobs, Dreams, and Calling Part 1

Recently, I’ve been having an attitude problem. Everybody has bad days at work where you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed or didn’t get enough sleep. But recently I’ve felt resentful at my job for keeping me from my dream of writing, and every day is a struggle to have a good attitude.

You’re probably thinking I have a terrible job. Nope. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful job. I work with amazing people, I fix important things, I’m well compensated, and I live five minutes from work. So I’ve felt confused, and rather guilty, for having such a bad attitude. How could I be so ungrateful and unpractical as to dislike what provides for my family?

I mentioned it to a friend and he said something that made me pause: no job is good for you if that job is not your calling.

What is calling? How is it different from career/job? And how do those fit with my dreams? Breaking it down to it’s most simple, your job is what you do, your dream is what you want, and your calling is what you were meant for. If you’re very, very lucky, all three of these are the same thing. Usually, though, we drift through life working whatever job puts food on the table, our dreams never get further than inside our heads, and we never really know what our calling is.

I can’t give you all the answers. But hopefully, I can get you thinking about things in a new way that can get you on the right track, doing what you want and what you’re meant for. In this post, I’ll say a few words about jobs, and I’ll wrap up with calling and dreams in the next post.

1. Work is a Blessing: I’m not just talking about it being a blessing to have work, as opposed to being unemployed and poor (though it is definitely that). We were made to work, to be industrious. Laziness is physically unhealthy, and the unchallenged, unused mind grows feeble. Though certain kinds of jobs can be backbreaking, set in unhealthy conditions, or are personally boring/undesirable to you, your job and the fact that you have it is a great blessing. Remember that every time you want to yell at your boss, yell at your customers, or just yell in general. A mind and heart full of gratitude is scientifically proven to improve your life.

2. Bloom Where You’re Planted: This one is the hardest for me. I’m a go-getter, and an impatient one at that. If something isn’t the way I want it, I set out to change it and get frustrated if things don’t happen as well/quickly as I wanted it to. Life, unfortunately, obeys no one, and sometimes it’s just not the right time to move on. If you have a job that’s not your calling, you have not failed. You have simply been given an opportunity to grow and develop. How you do that in this job now will directly impact fulfilling your calling later. Don’t be fooled: what you do every single day impacts who you become and what you achieve. Don’t sabotage your future by short-changing yourself now, just because your job isn’t where you want to be. Bloom where you’re planted. Give life 110% NOW. Don’t hold back your talents, effort, or heart because you think what you do doesn’t matter. It does, whether flipping burgers, cleaning houses, selling cars, or what-have-you. If it were meaningless, nobody would pay you to do it. That being said, always have a plan:

3. Always Have a Plan: Just because you should bloom where you’re planted doesn’t mean you must stay there. This is where dreams and calling come in. It is right and natural to have dreams, and even though we may struggle to understand it and it takes a lifetime to find it, each one of us has a calling: something we were meant to do. That something isn’t always a job. Sometimes it’s a hobby, or a non-profit activity. Whatever, and whenever, it is, you won’t get there by being complacent. Have a plan, a goal, a dream. Look at where you are now and figure out what you need to do to get where you want to be. Most importantly, be flexible (no plan survives contact with reality) and persistent (the only sure way to fail is to stop trying).

Implementing these three things will help you succeed at the job you have now, and work toward a better future. But how do you know what future to work toward? How do you find your calling? I’ll address those questions in my next post. In the meantime, check out my post from last week, 3 Ways to Win while Working Toward Success.