Financial Life Planning: A Job, a Career, or a Calling?

Rick KahlerAdvisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Is the work you do to make a living a job, a career, or a calling? Recognizing the difference will pay great dividends in many ways.

A job is a paid position of regular employment that puts bread on the table but doesn’t necessarily provide a lot of satisfaction or joy. The song, “Take This Job and Shove It,” embodies common attitudes about jobs.

A career is a more holistic and long-term concept that encompasses your entire professional journey rather than a specific job or jobs. A career usually requires more investment in training for work in a particular technical or professional field. Not everyone that has a career, however, views it as a calling.

A calling is what makes you feel fully alive, that gives your life meaning, passion, and purpose. It is something that you feel drawn to and uniquely qualified for, that you deeply believe in, and that provides a sense of fulfillment. It’s often something that is so rewarding a person would do it for free. In fact, people often do, earning their livelihood at a job or career and finding their calling in meaningful hobbies or volunteer work.

Helping clients find ways to pursue their calling is one aspect of comprehensive financial life planning. Does it matter to clients, then, whether their financial advisor has a job, a career, or a calling? It may.