Job, Career, or Calling?

No Greater Gift

One of my celebrations from late last month is the special invitation I received to write an e-course for an exciting new venture.  Their website is for women in business who are interested in Positive Psychology, the scientific study of what makes life worth living.  When the course is online, I’ll let you know where to find it. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some takeaways from my informal literature review of Positive Psychology that pertain to our work here in the connect2 community.

How do you experience your professional and/or volunteer life – as a job, career, or calling?  According to one model, people who care most about the moolah they earn from their work have “jobs”; people most interested in advancement over time have “careers”.  Those who focus on the enjoyment and meaning they find in their work have “callings”. 

One study I read shows that one third of people consider themselves to have jobs, one third careers, and one third callings.  Applying my language, if you choose to base your work on your unique brilliance, you’re among those who choose to have a calling. 

Why does it matter?  Because those who find their work activities interesting, important and worthy have statistically increased health, longer lives, and greater job satisfaction.

Furthermore, fulfilling work (a.k.a. a “calling”, a.k.a. “brilliance-based work”) is one of only three (only 3!) strong predictors of happiness.  (The other two, BTW, are love and supportive relationships.  Yep, your money, age, intelligence, attractiveness, etc., have very little to do with your degree of happiness). And people who focus on their strengths at work daily are three times as likely to have excellent quality of life.

Fulfilling work isn’t just good for you individually.  It’s also good for your organization.  When employees have fulfilling work, they yield higher productivity, success and profitability.  Plus, there’s a nifty effect called the Feel-Good, Do-Good Phenomenon, which shows that happier people are more likely to be helpful to others. 

Long story short, brilliance-based work is good for you, your organization, and others with whom you come in contact.

Are you surprised?  Personally, I’ve always known this intuitively and anecdotally.  But it fascinates me to see that research actually proves it.

Think back to your job/career/calling answer above. Would you like to experience your professional life differently?  Is there a part of you that wants more?  If so, I can help.  Part of my calling is to teach you to recognize and prosper from your brillianceSet up a Connection Call, my gift to you, and let’s get started.


  1. Nancy

    Dear Debra: I am most interested in your theory and applaud your linking the intuitive knowledge to the research on brilliance-based work. I'm engaged by your blog and plan on sharing this with my mentees. Thanks for sharing. Nancy

    • Debra Woog

      Thanks for taking the time to read, write in and share.