Thursday, May 9, 2013

Job, Career, or Vocation: Which do you want for your kid?

Help Wanted...\

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
― Confucius

The brain can be hyper efficient, especially when we pursue our passions. We want our kids to learn this way as they progress through school, but what about their profession? Where is all this hard work in school leading them? What will they spend the next 40 years of their life doing? Will they have a job, a career, or a vocation? Which should you as a parent hope for? Follow along and I'll explain each and let you make up your own mind.

I've had jobs. When you have a job, you're basically working for a paycheck. That is your motivation. My first job was as a busboy for a restaurant in Miami. I was so glad when my buddy, the assistant manager, got me the job. I was 16 and I was going to be paid with actual CURRENCY!!! Fast forward two weeks later and I was hating life. I dreaded coming in to work, and every minute was torture I spent there was torture. I just wasn't good at it. When my buddy pull me aside for that "I'm sorry but we are going to have to let you go" conversation, I HUGGED him and ran out the door! Without that paycheck (and even with it), you do only what you must. You don't go in early, or stay late. You just punch a clock, suffer through the misery, waste away the hours, and collect your pay...which often isn't much.

I've also had careers. Careers offer money and security as well. The best part of a career is advancement. You are no longer just working for an hourly wage. You eyes are on the horizon of advancement. Regardless of the postition you hold, there is always a better and higher paying opportunity ahead of you. Those that are motivated "climb the ladder" and seek advancement. You work harder than the next guy, you outpeform those around you, some even take short cuts and earn positions that they shouldn't. Hey, but at least it's better than a job. Your working for a living, earning better money, and moving on up...until you hit the ceiling.   Once you hit that ceiling, you now have a job and your back to working for a paycheck or just to keep your job in a competitive market. Either way, neither one of these was ever for me, and not what I would ever want for my kids.

Ahh, but I found my vocation. I am a fortunate man. Early on in life, I discovered my passion, and this passion lead many of the choices I made in life I wanted to do something honorable. I wanted to help others...I wanted to teach. That encouraged me to become an educator. It lead me to do foster care. It compelled my soul to adopt children with special needs. It guided me to help others using the gifts that I worked hard to develop. Yet through this all...hard work, sacrifice, whatever...I loved every minute! Even though times were often tough (tougher than a $2 dollar steak), I couldn't imagine doing it any other way. I was meant to be a teacher.

Pursuing your passion
I'm not motivated by just a paycheck. My desire to excel is not driven by advancement. I do what I do because I love doing it. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not going to turn down my paycheck (I still have that pesky mortgage...I'm fond of shelter), and advancement would be great if the right opportunity came along. All of that aside though, I work because at this so hard...with reckless abandon....because it bring me joy! I derive a great deal of satisfaction from helping kids and helping families. I get to help shape lives...HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!  I experience a level of fulfillment that I desperately want my kids to experience. Sure, I work long hours and it can be exhausting, but I'm always smiling. I've a teacher for nearly 17 years and I can't imagine doing anything else. I come into every year with the same excitement that I felt during my first! There is always so much more to learn. If anything, I worry about not having enough years to teach before someone forces me to retire. I found my vocation. I do what I love.

Your dream is just that...YOUR dream!
A friend of mine recently got his dream job...trash collector. Yeah you heard me, trash collector. I'd never seen him so happy. Our of curiosity, I respectfully asked him why. He said he'd wanted to work as one for the longest time. He said he loved the physicality, lifting heavy stuff, tossing it around, and being out in the elements without a boss staring over his shoulder. Rain or shine, hot or cold, he's loved his new job since the day he started. Now that is not MY dream job, but it sure is his and THAT is what I want for my kids. I don't want my kids to have just jobs, or slave away chasing a carrot in a career. My 13 year old son Lawson loves cooking and is a Paleo nutrition buff. My 8 year old daughter Aniah is a natural born teacher, just like her pops. My 6 year old son Tristan? I'm terrified of what he is going to want to do, but considering his love of science and danger, I am thoroughly TERRIFIED! No matter what, I want them to find to find their calling, discover their passion, and pursue a fulfilling vocation! I want them to do what makes them happy, so they'll never have to "work" a day in their life. =)

Just for fun, I've included this very interesting video. What this young kid is talking about is pursuing his passion and discovering his vocation. I think you will enjoy this video.