The Pathway to Excellence | Work | Career Development
We need to work through the best ways to boost our disposition towards career – how we make specific choices about what we will and will not do to build a career that enables us to attain a sense of belonging, achieve our potential, and do what is good and right within the fields of our choice.
To understand our disposition towards career, we need to uncover what really motivates us in our lives. People are motivated to do work of different types at different stages of their lives and at different points in the timelines of their families and communities. In a time of hardship where there is greater uncertainty and resources are tight, we will tend to look towards pay and other remuneration that allows us to take care of the basic needs of food, shelter, security and so on. We will prioritise income and the pathways to success that are most likely to maximise this.
Quite often our family traditions and culture will also have a strong bearing on this, particularly if our family has not yet established itself securely in the place in which we live and has not yet built its financial foundations, then our choices available to us as to a sense of calling may well be more limited. We may be listening much more to the external expectations of those around us than we do to the inner sense of what we might need to do to feel personally fulfilled. This does not mean that we cannot have a true calling and a disposition to build a career around this – it’s just that we may be much more influenced by our sense of obligation to others and that we will need to define criteria by which we might judge our access accordingly. We can’t have complete choice in anything in our lives and our circumstances may direct us toward a set of career choices that we have to follow regardless of personal inclination. If this is how it is for us, then we are most likely better off seeking fulfilment through this sense of service and contribution to the greater need and, perhaps, finding ways in our hobbies and past-times to seek a more individual sense of accomplishment. Addressing this is important as built-up resentment can and will most likely spoil any well-intentioned set of choices about something as significant as our work. On the other hand, a family that is more secure in this respect or which has fewer expectations overall may well allow individuals within it to exercise choice towards less financially-driven prospects. Again, the key here is how we approach our context in a reasonable manner.
"Calling is connection: Uncovering our calling is a deliberate choice to serve others and to make a difference in the world. Our calling is made manifest in service to others … it is paradoxical but true; we are more likely to receive the meaning and fulfilment we seek when we enable others to achieve the meaning and fulfilment they seek, as well."
David A Shapiro
If our work is simply a means of becoming paid and we do not enjoy or have success at what we do, then the notion of a career can seem very remote. Yet, if we can move beyond simply the financial compensation and find work that we do well and which makes us feel good about ourselves, it should be possible to find a calling in doing just about anything that is moral and ethical so long as we can connect it to our sense of calling. The idea that some jobs have more worth or dignity than others should be as foreign to us as the idea that some people are more important or valuable. What we do know is that when we reach a certain threshold financially, when we are paid enough to meet our need and then perhaps an amount more on top that allows us some of the luxuries of life, most of us become much more motivated in our work when we have a sense of mastery over the competencies we exercise, a feeling of autonomy over our choices, and an enduring connection to a purpose that is greater than or at least goes beyond us.
A disposition towards career allows us to take this type of motivation in whatever field or fields in which we are engaged over time and put together a set of choices that will also change in due course as to how we might grow our capacity to do this and other work successfully and meaningfully. In other words, if we can align our jobs with a clear sense of who we are, if we can align our practice with our purpose and take into account our people and our place along the way, then we have a much greater chance that we will see whatever it is that we do as a vocation, something that we called to do and in which we might take great satisfaction and show genuine gratitude and appreciation for the benefits it brings to us and those around us. It may not be the perfect job or the most high-paying job. The conditions may not be ideal, nor may we get everything we want from it. Yet it is our calling, something with which we can put everything else into context as we seek to serve our families, friends and communities throughout our lives on The Pathway to Excellence.
We can contemplate our Disposition Toward Career by considering the following questions: