Can Do #31: My calling
(Henri Matisse, The Dessert: Harmony in Red, 1908)
Welcome to edition #31 of Can Do, a newsletter where I share my professional journey.
You can also read my previous editions and follow me on Twitter.
Newsletter at a Glance
News & Reflections: My calling
Article: How Higher Ed Can Prepare Students for Today’s Digital Jobs
Twitter: How to stand out during a job search
News & Reflections
This was a text message exchange between my daughter and me several days ago.
Recently, I’ve realized that I’m finally doing the work I was meant to do. In 2020, I did a lot of research on what constitutes meaningful work. I published an article in Innovation Management in which I said:
Whether we think about it or not, everyone wants to do meaningful work. Meaningful work is highly motivational and intensely personal, leading to improved commitment, performance, and satisfaction. It may seem that meaningful work focuses on the individual, but most people who experience meaningful work view it as a broader contribution to society. They want this work to have an impact on other individuals, groups, and the wider environment.
While I was doing that research, I published 112 blog posts on my website. One of those blog posts was on the difference between a job, a career, and a calling. In this blog post, I defined a calling (based on Amy Wrzesniewski’s 1997 study) as:
When you have a calling, your key reason for working is not simply financial rewards and advancement. You are working for the fulfillment, or as Professor Wadhwa at Columbia Business School puts it, “work is an end in itself.” For a person with a calling, work is one of the most critical functions of life. What one does for a living is a vital part of who the person is. The person loves the work and thinks it makes the world a better place. This type of person would be upset if forced to stop working and is not looking forward to retirement.
Offering career guidance, helping people see additional options, and working with colleges and universities to provide students with career education is my calling. I don’t think I’m articulating it just right yet. In 6-12 months, I should have a much better description of the type of impact I’m trying to make.
How Higher Ed Can Prepare Students for Today’s Digital Jobs
This article gives me so much hope and inspiration. Yes, there are many challenges in higher ed and job training, but as the adage goes, “In every challenge lives a greater opportunity.” The possibilities are endless for how we can solve these very important problems.
I spoke with someone this week who is an actuary at an insurance company 9-5, and then he has several side projects. Discussing these side projects was the most interesting part of the conversation. When he talked about them, you could feel the energy and passion in his voice, but the energy would dip as soon as he mentioned his 9-5.
Thank you for reading!