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Finding Your Vocation

July 12, 2010

Filed under: Coaching,Management,observations — admin @ 1:46 pm

Is it really this easy? I went to a Commonwealth Club lecture recently by Craig Nathanson, a coach and author, who’s main theme was to encourage people over 40 to find work that is not just a paycheck, but is a vocation -something that is fueled by an inner passion.

It was one of those lectures where the audience members left enthused and ready to follow his seven step approach to fame and fortune.

Unfortunately, while I agree that finding a job which provides more than an economic payoff is a great goal, I couldn’t help make a few observations based in the real world.

The concept of a fulfilling job is a relatively new concept. After World War II our parent’s generation found a ‘career’ with a company who would hire them. A higher calling was not even a consideration. Providing for the family was paramount.

The economy we face today is similar and while, as Nathanson says, the country might be stronger if we all found our vocation, the reality is that money is a necessity. During the Q and A session it was clear financial issues also concerned some audience members.

I have several clients who are perfectly happy working for a paycheck which allows them to support their family and pursue a raft of hobbies and interests which provide purpose to their lives. Nathanson suggested that they may be a rationalizing their situation and that it was not a long-term recipe for happiness.

I would also note that despite the seven-step approach Mr. Nathanson suggests, not everyone can be an entrepreneur and create a job out of their own interests. Not everyone has the ability to complete all the steps – liking writing an e-zine article – that will have the world beating a path to their door.

I have several other issues with many of Mr. Nathanson’s specifics but they would take too much room to detail. While I urge my clients to find their passion and explore ways to make it a career, I also know that enthusiasm has to be tempered with reality – especially in an economy with over 10% unemployment.

I have tremendous respect for the drive, creativity and passion of my clients but they cannot overcome the disappointment of a bad idea executed poorly.

Finding your passion may mean that you never have to work but you have to be realistic. One point I agree on with Nathanson -it’s a coaches job to help guide you toward the goals you set.

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