Chapter 3: Creating a Life Plan
1. In today’s rapidly changing work environment, is it realistic to expect a job to provide more than just a paycheck? If we believe a job should provide only a paycheck and nothing more, we're headed down a path of degeneration. Our society is based on economics and consumerism. You must have a paycheck to purchase the necessities of life. You spend plus-or-minus 8 hours a day at your work. You are degrading your identity of you expect your work to be nothing more than a paycheck. Not only should your work provide the money you need to live, it should provide you a sense of purpose. It's up to you to decide if that purpose is gratifying.
2. Have you ever had a sense of calling in your life? How did you hear that calling? I feel most fulfilled when I'm reading aloud: picture books to the preschool kids or Bible verses to the church congregation. I know I'm doing something right when I steal a glance at my audience of preschoolers and they're looking at me rather than looking at the pictures in the book I'm holding up. That's when I hear my calling.
3. Does God call only a few people? God calls everyone. Not everyone is listening. That's OK.
4. Is it reasonable to expect our work to be part of the fulfillment of our calling? Why wouldn't it be reasonable? In my work with preschoolers I bring them into the web that connects us all: when I read them the story of The Fisherman and His Wife, or Moon Mother, or The Ugly Duckling, not only do I deliver to them literacy, I also deliver connection. They become part of the great mass of us connected by these stories. When I connect with them personally in this way, and in turn connect them to a larger body, I fulfill my calling in my work.
5. Do you currently have a job, a career, or a vocation? I don't know. A job is one's daily activities producing income. Yes, I have a job. A career is a line of work. I've worked as an early childhood educator for 5 years now at the same job. I'm moving to a different job in early childhood education in August so I guess that means I have a career in early childhood education. "Vocation is the most profound of the three, incorporating calling, purpose, mission, and destiny. This is the big picture many people never identify for themselves. It's what you're doing in life that makes a difference and builds meaning for you, which you can review in your later years to see the impact you've made on the world." (p. 38) Perhaps what I do now does make an impact. I like to think that I've induced a few "crystallizing moments" for a handful of the kids trusted to my care. It's the big picture I can't identify for myself.
6. What does success mean for you this year? This year success means survival. That's all. I want to poke my head in to 2012 knowing in my heart it will be a better year than this one. And that has nothing to do with my work, really.
7. Are you where you thought you’d be at this stage of life? Hell no.
8. Do you go home at night with a sense of meaning, purpose, and accomplishment? I go home at night feeling unappreciated.
9. If you want different results next year, what will you change in what you are doing now? I feel like my own efforts are good ones, and require little change on my part. I do good work. I'm a person of integrity. I stand on my two feet while the world swirls around me. The different results for next year I want to come from my own efforts. Too long I've allowed my efforts to be influenced by someone else. Now I make my decisions for me. Me.