This is not so much a response to the above question as simply some of the thoughts inspired by this show. In particular, the irony in the various usages of the word "vocation" and how they either exalt or denigrate a job.
As a senior in a liberal arts college, I pondered--as most of us do--what was next. Grad school? Seminary? Or a job having something to do with food--my great passion? My advisor, Deane Lagerquist, told me, "you know, Monte, I sit up here in the office and I write things that I don't know if anyone will ever read. People will always be hungry." The next year I enrolled in culinary school and I have fed people ever since.
The last five years have been as a baker--and this is currently a hip, oft-dreamed-about career. Krista, you said that people tell you all the time they would love your job--and I'm sure they do. I would love your job! Being a baker in Vermont (where I lived in those years) has much the same status.
But am I satisfied? Some days. It is magical to make inedible things edible, to make something beautiful and delicious and sustaining. The repetitive parts can be meditative ... but they can also be boring. It can be soul-draining to do the same thing over and over, especially in situations where you never see the customer, you don't know who is eating your bread.
I think my dissatisfaction mostly comes from the fact that I was part of a school and a community that placed great value on the religious idea of "vocation." St. Olaf College is Lutheran, and Martin Luther famously opened up the idea of Christian vocation beyond the pastorate. Any job, he said, could be a vocation. This is wonderful, unless it becomes perverted into an extreme focus on finding one's vocation, one's calling. Somehow this exalted language made me feel that a job had to be just right, had to be fulfilling and helpful and perfectly suited to me. It's not so much that I have a hard time imagining baking as a vocation--or truck-driving or teaching or any other possible job out there. It's that I don't know if it's my vocation. Is it what I'm called to do?
I still don't know what is ahead for me, career-wise. But I am slowly separating out my sense of vocation from my job. My vocation, I think, has more to do with living a certain life and becoming a certain person. It's rooted as much in relationship--with my children, my husband, my parents, my neighbors--as anything.
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