Friday, 25 April 2008


Continuing a fondness for dictionary style definitions, there are a couple more on offer in this post. It should be noted that only one can currently be found in the dictionary. Can you guess which?

vocation: a call or sense of fitness for and obligation to follow a particular career (New English Dictionary, Editor: Ernest A. Baker, Published: 1932)

and a newer interpretation,

vocation: an occupation for which a person is suited, trained or qualified (, Editors: Many, Published: Current/Present Day)

The definitions are interesting but the notion of a vocation is what really interests me. Thinking about the organised Career Advice and Guidance available for most of us at school, college and in work (via HR, appraisal, etc.), it begs the question why the majority do not use the word vocation. Is the concept that a career can become a vocation that difficult to discuss?

Taking the notion forward a little, wouldn't a better name for Career Counselling or Career Advice and Guidance (as it is called in the UK) be Vocation Counselling or Vocation Advice and Guidance?

Admittedly, a Vocation Counsellor has a far harder task than a traditional Careers Advisor but, when we have sat down with our advisors in this field in the past, are some of us looking for the professional to play a part in the conceptual stages of our career decision making? To help us understand what is out there and how we might achieve it?

Taking a step back, some might view the role of Vocation Counsellor as a quick route to disappointment in the majority of cases but, is it really disappointing an individual to tell them that some career choices require a greater degree of application than others?

Growing up in the 70s and 80s some kids dreamed about being astronauts. Most astronauts were/are either the best of the best in the armed forces or holders of advanced degrees in astro-physics, mathematics and other related disciplines. Explaining this as a Vocation Counsellor may not be the easiest of conversations but what it definitely does, is enable that individual to understand what an informed choice looks like.

To be an astronaut I have to study. Most successful astronauts have advanced their study in the following directions. I am looking at a minimum of 10-15 more years at school and in training. Does the prospect still appeal? Can I leave my meeting with my Vocation Counsellor with a new knowledge of the important questions and the preliminary qualifying steps I need to take?

I have a new word and a new definition that applies here and may help the debate to move along,

vocationeering: engineering the likelihood of your vocation being found. The process of steadily moving towards your vocation

and what, at this time, might offer the best chance for a vocationeer's success?

work/life fusion: understanding an individual's values, talents and goals and applying them to the pursuit of personal success

It's arguable but that's the point.

Have a great weekend!

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