What is most rewarding about having a career that helps other people find the right career for them? It seems somewhat paradoxical but I could also say that my greatest passion is to help others find theirs. Or, I could say that my mission has been to help other people find and follow their mission. Certainly there is tremendous satisfaction in seeing the satisfaction and joy that those I have had the privilege of coaching and supporting have found for themselves.
The most important aspect of career development work is that it is about aligning passion with work. It is not a “job” (an antiquated and low level notion of employment), but the ennobling and personal reward of doing meaningful work – meaningful to you, the individual. My favorite word for what we are discussing is “vocation,” from the Latin word for “call” – voca. I believe we each have a “calling” and, the better we answer that call, the happier and more fulfilled we will be.
Now, not all “callings” are to help others or to save the world. There are many that involve hard labor and many that require technology. Some are about inventing and discovering and yet others about trade and commerce. All have meaning and all are worthy of admiration. Somehow, however, everything eventually leads back to someone having the enthusiasm to do something great with it. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once penned – “Nothing truly great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Growing up in a small farming community in Rhode Island exposed me to many different kinds of work, some tough and dirty and others more refined and thoughtful. I went to college on a Pell Grant (named after the Rhode Island senator who instituted it - Claiborne Pell) and quite by chance, fell into studying theater in time to not flunk out and go to Vietnam. I fell in love with it and told my father on his death bed about finding something I loved, and his last words to me were, “That’s great! Now I know everything will be alright.” Through the many twists and turns over the last 50 years, that thought has guided me in the work of helping others find their passion, their vocation, their calling.