A few weeks ago I taught a class in my church on“Discovering Your Vocation”. I thought I would share my notes from the class here on the blog in case some of you are looking for a career. If you are still on a pathway to finding God’s calling on your life, or your “hedgehog” area, which is the intersection of your passion, skills, and job, then here are some things to consider.
A Model for Career Development
What is a career? Fredrick Buechner gives us a simple yet profound definition: “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet." Understanding what gives you gladness is part of understanding three big aspects about you. Jonathan McIntosh, the Lead Pastor of Christ City Church, alluded to this as well in his sermon on what Jim Collins calls the “hedgehog concept”, which is the intersection of your passions, your skills, and what you can be paid to do. Furthermore, it is being who God created you to be. So how do we know who God created us to be?
Understanding Who God Created You to Be
Your Story. First, you must understand your story. We discussed three elements in this portion of class, 1) your Gospel story, 2) the story you want to write about your future, and 3) the story of your past shaping your career today. Your Gospel story is simply developing your story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. If you do not understand this in terms of salvation, you will more than likely make your career your redemption, and you will be empty in your career. Second, the story you want to write about your future requires you to dream and think about your future, and then make goals for where you would like to be in 5 years and beyond. And three, we delved into the Career Style Interview to reflect on the people and affinities in our past shaping our story and trajectory for our career today.
Your Uniqueness. Second, you must understand who you are and how you work. A couple of ways to do so are to take the Myers-Briggs personality assessment and have a professional walk you through the results. Knowing your preferences for introversion to extraversion, sensing to intuition, thinking to feeling, and judging to perceiving can help you find the right career, best work environment, and help you function amid your personality differences. Also of help was our discussion of knowing your Holland code breakdown and career interests. Finding your unique Holland code and the interplay between your coding helps know how to find the difference in your career versus your hobby. Taking the formal Strong Interest Inventory and reviewing the results with a professional can help you find our what careers match your personal interests.
Your Passion. Third, to find God’s calling you must listen to your heart to know what you are passionate about. Knowing your uniqueness can most definitely help you find your passion, but we also in class received copies of a simple work values assessment. This assessment helps you find out what is most important to you when it comes to work so that you can find a job and hopefully a career that delivers meaning to you. You can value money, interpersonal relationships, variety, self-expression or service among other things in your job. The awareness of what you value in work will allow you to ask good questions in interviews or shape your current job to fit more with your values.
The World’s Hunger
Once we understand who God made us to be, we can then look outward in the world to see what it is hungry for. The world’s hunger is composed of areas of your life where you have a heart for ministry (which is helped by knowing your passions), places that have been entrusted to you (which is helped by knowing your skills and interests), awareness of the unreached parts of the world, places where you can earn a fair income to give generously, and occupational information and labor trends. A great place to look is the Occupational Outlook Handbook to see information about labor trends and particular career paths.
And finally, we talked about 3 crucial questions and scaffolding. The 3 crucial questions are: What am I able to do (skills)? What do I enjoy doing (passion)? What will someone pay me to do (job)? We must answer these questions to find God’s will for our work life, and then begin to scaffold. Scaffolding is finding two of the three areas above in order to get the “hedgehog”. For example, you want to work at the Advertising Firm, but they are not hiring for account managers. But they do need someone to get coffee and lunch for them. Can you learn that skill and take the pay if it meets your economic needs in order to make connections and open the door to your passion? If not, you may spend a lot of time being miserable getting coffee for the lawyers at the law firm that you don’t want to work at and have no passion for, leaving you with no next step. So, what steps do you need to take to exercise a passion and skill you can earn money for? Or a skill and thing you can receive money for in order to access your passion?
If you desire to have a professional walk with you in developing your career and provide formal assessment to your story, uniqueness, and passions, I would be glad to assist. Contact me here.