The Key Considerations When Choosing a Vocation Over a Career

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If you are considering pursuing a vocation it is important that it is due to passion and not the shaky job market! We have some tips to help you out! 

If you were to look briefly at the state of the labour market in the UK, you could be forgiven for thinking that it is quite healthy. For anyone with an interest beyond top level figures and the aesthetics of the market, however, it is clear that even a national unemployment rate of just 4.9% is not enough to disguise the real issues that exist at present.

Wage growth has stagnated as unemployment has fallen, for example, while the number of young adults who remain out of work remains uncomfortably high. More than a quarter of graduates are still on the hunt for work 12 months after completing their studies, with almost half of students wishing that they had pursued alternative career paths and eschewed higher education.

More specifically, many students wished that they had followed a vocational route to the job market, although this in itself reveals a dangerous mind-set that completely misunderstands the definition of a vocation and its core meaning. After all, while a vocation remains one of the three main perspectives on employment (along with a job and a career), it also represents an exact calling through which the work itself is the prime motivational factor.

In this respect, a vocation is something that you pursue regardless of the state of the job market, rather than as a convenient option in an economic climate where skilled roles and career opportunities are scarce. This is one of many considerations that you will need to take when considering a vocational career path, however, especially if you are to make an informed and ultimately satisfying choice. For example:

1. The origin of vocational careers and their meaning

While we have already touched on the way vocational careers are perceived in the current climate, it is important to understand their origin in further detail. The word vocation comes from the Latin term ‘vocare’, for example, which translates into ‘to call’ in English.

With this in mind, a vacation can best be described as a voice summoning a person to a unique purpose, and one that reflects their individual passions and special talents. In this respect, a vocational call comes from within you from a relatively young age, rather than as a response to failed academic pursuits or the unpredictable nature of the job market.

Now, this internal voice will often be contradicted by those around you, while your own common sense will encourage you to pursue more lucrative and financially rewarding careers. These arguments are something that those with a true vocation and a genuine understanding of their calling will have the strength to ignore.

If you are easily discouraged from a vocational route that initially appeals to you, the chances are that it is less of a true vocation and more of a convenient crutch in a difficult economy.

2. There are numerous types of vocational career

This definition of a vocation is interesting, not least because it contradicts one of the main misconceptions surrounding such a career path. The term ‘vocation’ is often used exclusively to describe careers that are objectively deemed as worthy or selfless, but this narrow application can cause confusion among job seekers when they look to plot their future paths.

In fact, whether or not something is a vocation remains entirely subjective, depending on the outlook and perspective of each individual. Although all vocational careers are bound by their innate calling and the need for selfless dedication to a specific cause, they can be extremely varied in their nature and cover many different industries.

Take a look at the recent Manufacturing Awards in the UK, which recognised a number of small but dedicated businesses that have pursued the unique passions of their owners. Such pursuits and innovations often come at the expense of bottom line profits but improve the lives of customers.

So while manufacturing is not typically considered as a vocation, this depends almost entirely on your own unique calling and skill-set as an individual. It is, therefore, crucial that you keep an open mind when considering your potential career paths, and remember that vocational callings can exist in the most unlikely places.

3. The importance of financial remuneration when making your choice

If you consider traditional vocational careers such as nursing, you will notice they are often described as being relatively low-paid. As a result, some careers are mistakenly classed as being vocational because of their low salary, but this negates the fact that some vocations can deliver a deceptively high rate of pay.

In fact, true vocations are pursued regardless of the financial remuneration on offer, meaning that some individuals may automatically be required to compromise on their earnings to follow their calling and fulfil their unique, professional goals. In simple terms, vocational careers should be followed unconditionally, irrespective of the working hours, salary or the sacrifices that must be made by you as an individual.

Nursing is an excellent example, as the majority of those who undertake the role are motivated by an innate desire to help others and make a genuine difference to the lives of patients. This creates a tremendous sense of spirit and camaraderie between those in the profession, which in turn is reflected by the sheer range of communal nursing blogs that offer help and guidance to workers.

But depending on your stage in life you may need to balance the desire to follow a vocation with sustaining an existing standard of life. So even if you are willing to compromise on your basic rate of pay, there may be instances where this is entirely unrealistic.

These considerations will put you in good stead when appraising your career options, particularly if you are considering pursuing a so-called vocation as a response to the ongoing challenges that exist within the job market. By first understanding the nature of vocational careers and how they relate to your own, unique skill-set, you can make an informed choice that leads to a bright future!

Are you considering pursuing a vocation? Is it due to passion or the unstable job market? Let us know in the comments section below...