Do you follow a vocation or just have a job?

For centuries monks and more recently clergy have worked at our Cathedral. They are here because they have responded to deep innermost calling to serve God and community. For the rest of us, careers are chosen by a series of decisions, each reached as we approach a fork in life’s road. What subjects shall I study? Which degree or college course? Where shall I look for my first job?

I for example enjoyed working on farms as a youth, so chose to study agriculture. Then I worked in the farming industry until the urge to explore the wider world of business because too strong to ignore. For the past 30 years I have worked for myself, getting involved in what interests me and writing 19 books along the way.

But it is only in the past decade that I have felt any sense of vocation. The most satisfying work I do today is that which confronts inequality. It makes me angry when fear, prejudice or simply our societal system exclude people from opportunity. I firmly believe we should all have the chance to be the people we deep down want to be.

What I have learned over the years is that the more we feel our work is making a valued contribution, the happier we will be. Of course the bills have to be paid, but it’s all too easy to make that the excuse for putting off following your vocation.

As the New Year unfolds, take an objective look at your life, your work and your impact on the world. Are you really doing what you are here to do, or are you simply marking time?