Back in December, I was catching up on my alumni magazines and saw this article. Not too long ago, but prior to reading said article, I wrote a comment on one of Sparky’s posts that basically said exactly what the professor in the article advocates. So, a) validation! and b) I really need to work on marketing my ideas. 😛

Anyway, the short version of the article is that there are three ways to view work: as a job, a career, or a calling. Job people are the TGIF, watch the clock, counting the days to retirement crowd.

So I read this and I think: ah yes! the “3 categories” game. I have a few versions of this myself. Interestingly, they all fit into the job/career/calling scenario.

  • There are 3 types of law students: the ones who want the money / prestige (= law as career), the ones who want to save the world (= law as calling), and the ones who really want to write (= law as job).
  • There are 3 types of undergrads: the ones who want a degree because “a BA is the new high school diploma” (job people); the ones who need a specific degree to reach a predetermined professional goal (career people); and the ones who are studying what they’re passionate about and for whom a degree is icing on the cake of learning (calling people).

Which is not to say that just because you’re in one category now, you’re stuck there forever. You can, of course, move from one category to another. To that end, in the article there’s some discussion of how you can find work that you find more fulfilling. And then it goes on to say:

If we aren’t willing to switch to another kind of work, then he advises us to reframe the work we do.

AHEM. Reframe. My comment:

You’re not going to quit your job, so I think you need to reframe your feelings toward it. There are obviously things you value about it (the money it provides you, the fact you can retire early, etc.) and those outweigh the negatives for you.

Look, I even used the same word. Moral of this post: listen to me. I am wise like Yoda 😉


7 thoughts on “Reframe

  1. kingmidget

    There is a fourth category of law student … those who don’t want to be an executive secretary for the rest of their life.

    And let’s be real … my job is my job. Not a career. Not a calling. It’s just what I do to provide for my family and get me to the next stage of my life. Sometimes though it is so incredibly difficult to accept that.

    1. Theryn Post author

      I understand that’s how you feel. The larger point is that how a person feels about their work (or course of study, for students) is less about the specifics of that particular occupation and more about how they view it. In other words, different people will view the exact same job in different ways, depending on their perspectives toward it. For example, I’m sure there are people with the same/similar position as yours, ones who aren’t counting the hours until they can get back to their latest WiP or the days until they can write full-time, who do view it as a career.

      1. kingmidget

        By the way, when us kids approached college age, our dad told us we could pick our major based on two choices: study something we liked or study something that would get us a job. Always wondered why he didn’t offer the third choice — the one that combined the two.

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