Let’s face it- we all dream of having that one job we will love doing, no matter what the circumstance, and hope we can keep doing for the rest of our lives. However, a lot of people don’t know what that job actually is. And at other times, the jobs we thought were our true calling end up not being the dream we were looking for at all. It’s tough, but as an engineer, a member of the largest field of STEM there is, it’s even tougher.
Now, how do we truly find our “calling”? Well, to summarize everything, your “calling” is not found, it’s fought for. Based on the book Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work by Dave Isay, winner of the 2015 TED Prize, here are 5 ways to find the work you were meant to do:
Find something that you’re good at, makes you feel appreciated, and makes other people’s lives better.
Source: TED Ideas
“When those three things line up, it’s like lightning,” says Isay. You don’t have to become the next Steve Jobs to feel like you have a calling. Just being a run-of-the-mill software developer could mean everything if those three things align for you. “You have to shut out all the chatter of what your friends are telling you to do, what your parents are telling you to do, what society is telling you to do and just go to that quiet place inside you that knows the truth.”
The harder times lead the way
“Having an experience that really shakes you and reminds you of your mortality can be a very clarifying event in people’s lives. Oftentimes, it leads to changes,” explains Isay. He recalls an interview with teacher Ayodeji Ogunniyi whose father was murdered while he was studying to become a doctor. “He realized that what he was really meant to do was be a teacher,” says Isay. “He says that every time he walks into a classroom, his father is walking in with him.” Sometimes, it pays to have our souls shaken to their core. It makes us rethink our true priorities.
The things that take your courage might be the one
Think of all those people who were the “firsts” in their field. Wendell Scott, the first African-American NASCAR driver had experience death threats due to racism. Dorothy Warburton, one of the first female scientists to research on miscarriage and end the stigma around it dealt with sexism. Or Burnell Cotlon, who opened the first grocery store in the Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina. Your calling is often sparked by a passion in your heart to change the status quo that simply isn’t acceptable.
Others will often nudge you to the right direction
Source: PR week
Working several odd jobs to support her daughter in college, Sharon Long was going through financial aid forms when she muttered “I wish I could’ve gone to college” to herself. The bursar responded with a quick “It’s not too late.” She then enrolled in an art program and took a class in forensic anthropology just because it was the easiest science course to take. Little did she know that as soon as she sat there, she had found her calling. What you’re meant to do is extremely personal to you, but sometimes, people will nudge you to the right direction without even knowing it.
Finding it is just the beginning
Finding your calling doesn’t mark the end of your journey. “Understanding what your calling is — that’s very different than the blood, sweat and tears of actually doing it,” says Isay. Your calling might require you to start a business, go back to school, move elsewhere, etc. Once you find, or rather, fight for your calling, you have to work towards it, and that takes effort.