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Make Your Job a Calling

How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change Your Life at Work

Bryan Dik Ryan Duffy

Do you ever feel sick of your job? Do you ever envy those people who seem to positively love what they do? While those people head off to work with a sense of joy and purpose, for the rest of us trudging back to the office on Monday morning or to the factory for the graveyard shift or to the job site on a hundred-degree day can be an exercise in soul crushing desperation. “If only we could change jobs,” we tell ourselves, “that would make it better.” But we don’t have the right education … or we don’t have enough experience … or the economy isn’t right … or we can’t afford the risk right now. So we keep going back to the same old unsatisfying jobs.

The wonderful truth, though, is that almost any kind of occupation can offer any one of us a sense of calling. Regardless of where we are in our careers, we can all find joy and meaning in the work we do, from the construction zone flagger who keeps his crew safe to the corporate executive who believes that her company’s products will change the world. In Make Your Job a Calling authors Bryan J. Dik and Ryan D. Duffy explore this powerful idea and help the reader navigate the many challenges—both internal and external—that may arise along the pathway to a sense of calling at work.

Over the course of four sections, the authors define the idea of calling, review cutting-edge research on the subject, provide practical guidelines for discerning a calling at all stages of work and life, and explore what calling will look like as workplace norms continue to evolve. They also take pains to present a realistic view of the subject by unpacking the perils and challenges of pursuing one’s higher purpose, especially in an uncertain economy.

The lessons presented will resound with anyone in any line of work and will show how the power of calling can beneficially shape individuals, organizations, and society as a whole.

Check out the website: www.makeyourjobacalling.com

Acknowledgments / ix

Part 1: Calling in the Twenty-fi rst Century

Chapter 1. Recovering Calling / 1

Chapter 2. What Work Means, and the Difference It Makes / 23

Part 2: Dimensions of Calling

Chapter 3. Listening / 45

Chapter 4. Making Meaning / 65

Chapter 5. Serving Others / 87

Part 3: Discovering and Living a Calling

Chapter 6. Forging a Path / 109

Chapter 7. Job Crafting / 131

Chapter 8. Callings outside of Paid Work / 151

Part 4: Boundary Conditions and Challenges of a Calling

Chapter 9. Perils and Pitfalls / 173

Chapter 10. A Role for Calling in the Changing World of Work / 197

Questions and Answers / 221

Notes / 253

Index / 269

For anyone wanting to reflect upon the significance of their work, or to find a vocation better matched to their gifts and passions, Dik and Duffy offer a practical guidebook. Their feast of inspiring stories and cogent evidence points the way to transcendent meaning and increased joy in all varieties of paid and unpaid work.

David G. Myers, professor, Hope College, and author of Psychology, 10th Edition

In this time of economic uncertainty and rapidly changing patterns of work, the search for a meaningful vocation is foremost among major life concerns. Make Your Job a Calling offers an excellent guide to historical and psychological wisdom on how work can be made meaningful.

William Damon, professor, Stanford University, and author of The Path to Purpose: How Young People find their Calling in Life

Our work world is a maze into which Dik and Duffy confidently plunge. They trace a path of calling, blending faith and research to show us how to connect our gifts to the greater good, leading to more meaningful work and a more satisfying life.

Carol Eikleberry, author of The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People

This book is a treasure-trove of true, inspirational career-calling stories, backed by proven strategies and solid research. You’re sure to find career answers in these pages.

Katy Piotrowski, career counselor, and author of The Career Coward’s Guides

As the career development field and its varied professionals re-invent their roles and strategies, demand for career service grows exponentially. Redirecting attention to ‘calling’ offers a critical link to helping clients design their life. Make Your Job a Calling forges new ground, offers needed hope and advances the field significantly.

Rich Feller, professor, Colorado State University, and President, National Career Development Association

Full of practical insights and actionable research findings, Make your job a Calling guides readers-in all kinds of jobs- through a thoughtful and research-based path to transform their relationship with work. Dik and Duffy have powerfully captured the dynamics of meaning in work that underscore the importance of meaningful work in any job.

Amy Wrzesniewski, associate professor, Yale School of Management

JobZology

“The lessons presented will resound with anyone in any line of work and will show how the power of calling can beneficially shape individuals, organizations, and society as a whole.”

Mentor Coach

"The inspiring lessons presented will resound with anyone in any line of work and will show how the power of calling can beneficially shape individuals, organizations, and society as a whole.”

Ben Dean

Midwest Book Review

Make Your Job a Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change your Life At Work provides a fine survey linking job and vocational purpose to the idea of making a hob a ‘calling’ one which offers opportunity for hope joy and meaning. From finding underlying purpose in company products to defining the concept or a business ‘calling’ and a more purpose-driven work world, this is a fine pick offering insights into vocational purpose and career satisfaction. Any business holding will find it an important, thoughtful guide!”

Diane C. Donovan

Vocation Village

Make Your Job a Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change Your Life at Work is a well researched, thorough book on calling. If this subject interests you, it is well worth the time to read it.”

Janet Scarborough Civitelli, Ph.D.