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Are you doing a “job”, developing a “career”, or pursuing a “calling”?

Not all work is perceived the same and the way people think about their work might surprise you. Do you see work as a chore, something you do for a paycheck or for some extra cash? Do you go to work simply because you have to? You live for the weekend and spend as little time working as possible. Your current work is not building toward anything. It is just a source of funds for financing the things you really want to do. If this sounds like you, then according to Yale Psychologist Amy Wrezesniewski you probably consider your work a “job”.

On the other hand, you may be more invested in your work. You may look to advance and succeed at you chosen profession. You want to do well and have others recognize you for it. At minimum, your efforts will pay off as entries on your resume. You may work in an organization, a law firm, a university or similar institution. You have a sense of progression and are motivated to move up the ladder. Salaries and benefits are strong motivators. For you, your next job will likely be a move up. Most likely you see your work as a “career”.

Maybe you are really lucky and find the work reward in itself. You look forward to working and would not want to do anything else regardless of external compensation. You see your work as a natural fit for you and as contributing to the greater good. Your work perfectly syncs with your inner strengths and values. Your work contributes to the sense that your life has purpose and a meaning. You are doing what you love and somehow getting paid for it even though you would likely do it for free or possibly even pay to do it. You are blessed to be pursuing a “calling”.

Don’t confuse external beliefs about the importance of the work with your perception of your work as a job, a career or calling. There are doctors who see their work as “jobs” and there are janitors who see their work as a “calling”. After all, who else would help the children and schools and patients in hospitals keep safe from debilitating germs?

So where are you and where do you want to be? A coach might be the very best person to help you figure it out.