Have you ever had that itch or fear which makes you think that you should probably be doing something to leave your mark on the world before you breath your last breath, relax your muscles and gracefully fart your existence into the wind?
I’ve been feeling this lately. It could be my age, career or lack of kids to keep me
stressed occupied, but it’s got me thinking about vocations. Not in the Christian sense, this is no call to God, but in the more modern ‘dedicate part of your life to doing something worthy’ sense.
There’s a few reasons why I find the concept interesting:
- In a selfish way, it’s a way of scratching the ‘making a difference’ itch. A way to say “Right, I’ve done my bit. Now I don’t have to feel guilty about doing other stuff.”
- It’s very hard to find a fulfilling career, I believe work by its very nature is not something people would chose to do with their time if they didn’t have to and that’s why people get paid to do it. Dont get me wrong, I’m sure there are some people who have a fulfilling career, people who love their jobs and have managed to monetise their passion. There also seems to be a disconnect between people's skills, desires and knowledge about jobs.
- It would be wonderful if people could pick one thing to improve about society and had the time to pursue it. Maybe if we had a Basic Income this would be possible.
So I came up with a plan to choose a vocation. I have no idea if this will work but it’s a useful thought exercise none the less!
Simply write a list of things which would like to change about the world or problems which you’d like to see solved. Any pet peeves or things you like to complain about. From grandiose subjects like ‘world peace’ to small things like trying to open plastic pasta packaging.
These act as a starting point - world peace is impossible for one person to achieve but after some research it might send you down a path which opens up more achievable opportunities.
Here’s a list I came up with:
- Not staying in touch with people.
- Un-honest companies.
- Reticence in relationships.
- Politicians should be role models.
- A more diverse parliament.
- Creation over consumption.
- Letting friends down.
- Picking up rubbish on walks.
- Increasing empathy.
- Caring for an older generation.
- Teaching social skills.
- Increasing gender equality.
Now you might look down your list and be struck with instant inspiration, leap to your feet & proclaim your allegiance to a particular cause or, like me, you might be left scratching your head.
So I devised a method to try and put the subjects in a some kind of order:
Mark each problem with 3 numbers representing: desire to fix, perceived importance to society, and perceived difficulty for you to fix it. The numbers should range from 1 (high) to however many problems are in your list.
Desire + Importance + Difficulty
= Arbitrary number
- Increasing gender equality ~ 1 + 2 + 6 = 9
- Un-honest companies ~ 3 + 3 + 3 = 9
- Increasing empathy ~ 10 + 1 + 2 = 13
- Teaching social skills ~ 4 + 4 + 9 = 17
- Caring for an older generation ~ 5 + 5 + 8 = 18
- A more diverse parliament ~ 9 + 6 + 4 = 19
- Not letting friends down ~ 7 + 8 + 5 = 20
- Not staying in touch with people ~ 2 + 7 + 11 = 20
- Creation over consumption ~ 12 + 10 + 1 = 23
- Politicians should be role models ~ 8 + 11 + 7 = 26
- Reticence in relationships ~ 11 + 9 + 10 = 30
- Picking up litter on walks ~ 6 + 12 + 12 = 30
The lower the total the more likely that issue might be suitable as a vocation… or it might be bullshit. It’s kind of worked for me - I’ve definitely been thinking about the top 5 issues lately. I’ve taken the ‘glutton for punishment’ option and set the Perceived Difficulty scale with the most difficult as 1. This could be flipped around with the easiest to fix issue set as 1 so you’re not working on the most difficult problems.
I suggest picking 2 or 3 and then doing some research into that subject to see how you can position yourself using your skills to help out. That’s what I’ll be doing in my next three articles.
- Increasing gender equality
- Un-honest companies
- Increasing empathy
If you had a go with the exercise above I’d really be interested in seeing what thing you came up with so send them my way.