Quick Poll – What Is The Work You Do Really To You?

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, November 02, 2014 at 11:15 PM with 6 comments

Is the work you do a vocation, career or simply a job?

This is the question I am asking in this quick poll. As I am reading the book 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal by Dan Miller, this question is the activity of day 6 of the 48, where one is supposed to discuss this with 2 people about what they do for work and if it is a vocation or their calling, part of the progression of their career path or if it is merely a job where they are collecting a paycheck.

I have decided to go wide with this query and am asking all readers of this post to answer this poll. In addition, I am interested in the discussion of why you made your selection and welcome your thoughts in the comments to this post. As the comments are moderated, you may respond anonymously, and providing you are not spamming the comments with ads for knock-off merchandise, I will post them.

Thank you in advance, and I am eager to see your votes as well as your comments as to if what you do for work is a vocation, career or job.

Please make your selection below - if you cannot see the poll question please answer the poll here.

This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.

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Book Take-AwaysBusinessThrive • (6) CommentsPermalink


I am a designer and business owner. I feel lucky to really love what I do. I can lose myself for hours while working on a design challenge. And I do think about work and how to solve a problem or serve a client, when I’m falling asleep. I also can get completely bugged by poorly designed things from typography to design to products. So it definitely is a drive in me way beyond just a job.

However, the word “vocation” seems rather lofty to me. I tend to put it together with something that gives back to society and community a bit more. But maybe that’s not true.

Picture of Emily Brackett Comment by Emily Brackett
on 11/04/14 at 08:52 PM

I became a recruiter out of college because I needed a job and I was talkative, sales-y and friendly. I have come to find that over the course of 26 years, several long periods of lay offs due to several economic recessions, I truly love what I do and I am good at it. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I help people find a new job, career, path in life, financial advancement. Many times I have changes people’s lives- mostly for the better. Not everyday is as rewarding as the next but, that is what life is about. Definition of vocation-“a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.”•a person’s employment or main occupation, especially regarded as particularly worthy and requiring great dedication.”
So I have found my vocation or it in fact found me.

Picture of Dana Fink Comment by Dana Fink
on 11/20/14 at 10:44 AM

Most folks in my profession consider it to be a vocation.  But to identify that closely with one’s work can be overwhelming.  I have found that it’s healthier to say “this is what I am; that is what I do”, even as there is enormous external pressure to equate the two.

Picture of John Madvig Comment by John Madvig
on 11/20/14 at 11:29 AM

“Vocation” seems to imply that you get just one of them, perhaps. In agreement with Emily, it seems overly lofty. As a business owner, I love what I do — with clients, with my company, and with myself.  I suspect learning and growing might be part of my ‘vocation’ DNA. But does that preclude me from a second or third act/vocation in 10 or 15 years? I am actively planning, thinking, and evaluating what my life might be like in the future, different from my company today. I don’t think that future work is any more or less a vocation.

Picture of Nick Comment by Nick
on 11/20/14 at 12:27 PM

I have been able to take a love of investments -  and all things economic - and have that as the framework of the work I have accomplished.  Within this framework, I have been able to take steps into different aspects of the industy, from mutual fund accounting to financial engineering and now to Risk Management.  I continue to seek out and find new ways to look at the industry. I have built a career path that no one else has taken by doing so.  Since the current path I am on is a new industry (operational risk is a new discipline), I continue to look forward to seeing where this may take me. 

I truly enjoy what I am doing, especially since I am able to continue to stretch myself and learn something new each day.

Picture of Karen Zeff Rosen Comment by Karen Zeff Rosen
on 11/21/14 at 10:38 AM

I second Emily Brackett’s comment. I would add on top of that, that I really enjoy supporting the publishing industry. My ultimate goal i in life is to help others. By helping people get their work syndicated and seen, I feel like that is fulfilling my life goal. Maybe I shouldn’t call it a “goal” because goals have an ending. It’s more like a life purpose. Or a life attitude.

(excuse my late response, I’ve been so busy at work that I haven’t checked my feedly in weeks. Somewhat ironic given the topic at hand)

Picture of spudart Comment by spudart
on 12/01/14 at 10:11 AM

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