Back in Business (Dec 2006)

Well, after a short (or long depending on how you look at it) hiatus, I’m back. It sometimes takes an event or subject that makes me really contemplative for me to get into writing. Well, I don’t know that there was anything specific that happened to initiate my return, but that’s okay, too.

On my mind: Usually a couple of times a year some conversation that I’m having or discomfort in my situation or subject matter in a class or something turns to the subject of “your calling.” It always gets me thinking about what it means to have a “calling” and what mine is. Generally I start looking around and seeing what areas of my life make me happy and what areas of my life make me frustrated or miserable. Sometimes I can only see the misery. That isn’t to say that I’m miserable now. In the financial seminar we are taking the subject of Vocation vs. Career vs. Job came up and I started thinking about what I want to do with my life. The thing is, no matter how much money you get paid, no matter how much a job fits your personality, if you aren’t passionate about what you do, then you’re never going to be happy.

So, that begs the question, what am I passionate about? Here’s the thing. I love change. I love doing new things, but mostly I love being a different person. I like the kind of change that isn’t just a new job, it’s a new direction. So, that being said, what I’m passionate about changes. When I was in college I was passionate about geology and Phi Mu, my fraternity. When I graduated I wasn’t passionate about anything for a while, which is why I was so miserable. I had no driving force. I became a Christian and became passionate about that. Since then, most of my passions can be traced back to loving people. I have been driven by a desire to meet people’s basic needs. I haven’t always felt free to do it, though, because often that takes money, something that we don’t have a ton of (although, when we achieve financial peace, we should have a lot more disposable income). I have been passionate about reaching the lost, about feeding the hungry, about helping people who are differently abled, about social justice, about fiscal responsibility in our nation’s leadership, about the environment, . . . the list could go on for days.

It all comes back to this, though, what am I passionate about? I’m a person who is driven by her values. I value hard work, loyalty, justice, love, family, fun, intelligence, integrity. What do I enjoy? I enjoy making something out of nothing, despite the fact that I’m not creative. Let me explain. I like cooking, because I take a bunch of stuff that is nothing special on its own and put it together to make something wonderful, but I can’t cook without a recipe. I like taking a piece of paper with a song written on it and turning it into music, but I’ve never written music of my own. I like taking a list of stuff at work and turning it into a beautiful display (beautiful is a subjective term), but I can rarely make the lists myself. I’m not an idea person, but I really enjoy taking somebody else’s ideas and making them work. I can’t be the boss, but I can be the go to person.

So, is my job a job, a career, or a vocation? Hard to say. I really enjoy it and right now I can’t see myself doing anything else. Really, I can’t think of anything specific that I would rather do for pay. Here’s the thing, though, would I do something else if money wasn’t an issue? I don’t know. I mean, really, money isn’t an issue now, or else I would have to get a better paying job. I guess here’s what I’m really asking myself: what if we have kids? Will I quit my job and take care of the kids? Or will I keep working because I like to work. I do like to work, well, I like to work at this job (honestly, I haven’t had a job yet that I enjoy as much as I do my current one). I have to think, though, about if its my calling, or if the world would be better served if I pursued something else.

The thing is, I’m pretty good at it. I’m not going to say I’m the best, but the department that I’m manager of has never looked as good as it has since I took over. Really. I hesitated to pursue the job because I was afraid of this particular department, and that mainly because it was always a disaster. It is rarely a disaster now, though, so I know that at least some of the problems before came from incompetence on the part of previous managers. Don’t misunderstand me, I know the previous two managers of my department, they’re great people. It’s just that one was too hands off in his management, so that nothing got done, and the other’s expectations were too low, so that she never pushed her associates (also she hates the job . . . she’s manager of another department now and says she’s only staying so that when she goes back to school the company will pay for her education).

But, is it my calling? I don’t know how to tell. I guess I have to look at what I like about it and figure out if there is a better way that I could use those gifts. I like making something out of nothing, like I said before. I like managing a team within a team, but I can also manage the team (I have done this before. I’m not good at the administrative side of things, the details, but I’m good at managing people and projects as long as somebody is there to make sure I’m not forgetting something, because I can be pretty flaky. I’m also not a good disciplinarian). The thing that I wish there was more of is music. Well, I’m manager of the music department, but I mean music-making. You can’t make a living doing that, though, or at least not much of a living unless you are really good, which I’m not. I just really enjoy it. I wish there was more of that in my life. As I’ve mentioned before it’s the thing in my life that brings me the most joy. I need to be in a band (I know that some people would say that I am. I don’t call my worship team a band, though, because that gives doing music in church the feel of doing a concert, which isn’t the effect we’re going for). That would round things out. I would have a job that I love and my free time would be filled with the thing that brings me the most joy. It’s not happening any time soon, though, so I’ll just have to be content with having a job that I enjoy and singing once a month. Not bad, really.

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