A recent re-reading of one of my Earl Nightingale books makes a point about getting a job that is worth retelling.
Earl writes, “There is no such thing as a job that cannot, with time and thought, lead to greatness.”
We joke about career choices that lead to, “You want fries with that?” or “Paper or Plastic?” However, most of the CEO’s at McDonald’s started flipping burgers when they were teens. I remember calling on an ad agency that represented McDonald’s back in the 70’s and learning that McDonald’s had the statistic of being the first job experience for one fourth of the workforce in America. Wow, one out of four workers started out at the University of Mac.
In today’s job market if one were to take a job packing groceries and decide to study and learn everything they can about the food industry, how far might they go? It’s just a job to some, but an introduction to an industry to others.
In today’s unemployment economy, there are jobs to be had. It’s kinda’ up to us regarding attitude about those positions. Take the entry level sales job. Accept it even if it’s commission only. It may be the first rung in your climb up to the level of success you were created to achieve.
My son-in-law is a very impressive guy. He’s a decorated USMC Col. Imagine how tough you have to be, to be a Marine … much less earning such a high rank at a young age. When we first met I asked why he joined the corps. Without hesitation he answered, “It’s a calling.”
Wow. Not a job, or career, but a calling. How fortunate to do something you love and were meant to do. And, how fortunate for the rest of us that young men and women hear that calling and rise to the occasion.
But, what about other ways to make a living?
A friend told me of a relative passing and the fact she had worked 55 years at the same fast food restaurant. For someone like me that’s moved 22 times and lived all over the country from Virginia, Miami, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles, and North Carolina, the same place for 55 years is puzzling.
Earl Nightingale considered the difference between vocation, career, and job. While on the surface these three words seem to mean the same, they are quite different. Vocation carries the biggest meaning. Translated from Latin the core meaning is to call; therefore, the calling. This is the purpose, the nagging inner desire, the big plan. There can be many careers used to support this calling. For example, a person that is called to be a healer may be a doctor, and the many specialties involved, or a nurse. And, there can be many job descriptions that work to satisfy a higher calling such as an orderly. So, the task of changing beds and bed pans may be a means to fulfill that higher purpose. That position of orderly may only look like a job, but it may be the engine that drives a vocation.
Back to our fast food lady, the person who worked for over five decades everyday at the same counter handing out trays of soft drinks, fries, and sandwiches, was she just doing a job? Or, was she motivated by a higher calling to serve others, or maybe something greater, to send her kids to college, pay off a mortgage, enjoy the American dream. We don’t know her higher calling. People may not know your calling by seeing the uniform of your job. Whether you wear a coat and tie, or shorts driving a brown truck, no one knows your vocation. But, you do.
Is your daily routine one of the many gears turning to answer your calling? Or, is it really just a job.