Friday, January 22, 2010

Finding Your Calling

I've noticed that a lot of people complain about aspects of their jobs, but seem fairly content to remain in them. The reasons vary, I'm sure, depending upon the individual and their situation. Still, those reasons usually circle around to money, in some way or another. The unwillingness to take a job that pays less but that we'd probably enjoy more because we think we're entitled to a certain lifestyle. The fear of losing our source of livelihood even if the situation is abusive, toxic or dehumanizing in some way. The promise of being able to obtain a better lifestyle even though we won't have much time to enjoy it. The need to make a particular income level because that's what the average person with our degree and similar credentials makes. The need to reflect status and justify our self-worth through displays of material wealth; to essentially say "I'm better than you." It's funny how as a society we've allowed a made-up notion of value to have such power over our lives.

It's funny because when I think about the jobs that I've truly enjoyed, that I've truly cherished, that I truly felt alive in, they were probably the two jobs that I received the least amount of monetary compensation for. For a thirty-three year old, I think I've had a lot of jobs. I've worked for a lot of different types of companies and dabbled in a variety of industries. The longest I've been with a company is four years. In true HSP fashion, I get bored easily. I outgrow things quicker. I'm always looking for change, for growth, for something new to make me feel alive again. I'm not satisfied with remaining stagnant. Writing would be the exception. I think that's one "job" I would never get tired of doing.

Thinking back to those two jobs that I felt the most alive in, I realize that the rewards for performing them were mostly intrinsic. Yes, ok, there were many perks involved with working for Disney. Discounts at just about every location in Central Florida, being able to meet and be around celebs (who, by the way, are just as human as the rest of us with a different line of work, and who we need to appreciate for their talents and nothing more), the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world, as well as the opportunity to literally create "magical moments" for others. I can't say the perks were as exciting or glamorous working for my undergraduate alma mater in their Student Services department, but at least I got to set my own hours and kind of be my own boss. I had creative and strategic control. I had the opportunity to apply and bring together several disciplines into one position, offer advice and bring some of those classroom theories into practice.

Regardless of the intrinsic reward itself, both of these jobs literally ignited passion from within. If that feeling of passion is missing, an HSP becomes restless and unfulfilled. There's no meaning, no purpose and we feel as though we are stuck in a never-ending cycle of drudgery. While others can muddle their way through a world of grey, we literally feel the heavy weight of "this is draining me." We search for any way to bring color into the picture, to find some way to feel alive, to re-invent, to change our perspective, to absorb ourselves in other ventures during our non-working hours to make up for our lackluster nine to five. We feel trapped, suffocated and sometimes desperation. We don't see how we can get out alive and begin to feel as though any other job would be better than what we currently have. Anything except being one of those poor souls dressed up in costume, holding a sign advertising a tax service, another store going out of business or a new housing development, forced to smile like a Cheshire cat and wave at those driving by. Now those folks, I truly do feel sorry for. When I see them, I always think, well it could be worse. I could be getting paid to do that.

In order to find your calling or your purpose, if you will, you have to listen to what your heart is telling you. You have to learn to recognize what seems as natural as breathing. Granted, you have to get good at whatever this is too, but if it feels like work and a big part of you is bored by it, it's best to move on. Easier said than done, I'm aware. Sometimes we've put ourselves in a position where hanging onto that drudgery job is necessary until we've built up the necessary resources to make the final leap. What matters in this type of situation is that you're taking the time to explore and make the necessary preparations for that leap, and not allow yourself to remain in drudgery because it's safe, practical and familiar. Speaking of practicality, yes, your calling also has to eventually generate enough income to cover a lifestyle that you're content with. Sometimes that means combining several passions, sometimes that means learning to live with less, and sometimes that means working odd-ball jobs while you're also working on establishing yourself in the line of work you desire.

While the majority of the world may choose their vocation according to how much they'll get paid in exchange for their time, how many opportunities for ego inflation through titles and promotions exist, and how impressive it will make their resume look, sensitives just can't take that same approach. When the work is meaningless, so is any money earned from it. When knowledge isn't being cultivated and shared, your mind shifts to auto-pilot. When your soul isn't nourished and expressed, you rob yourself and others of the fulfillment of destinies. Without inspiration, you forget how to breathe. You forget that you're supposed to take in the air that feeds the essence of existence. You don't spend your time living and others wither in the shade, unable to feel the warmth of your inner light.


  1. so absolutely true

  2. Thanks for your validation. Still learning to let go, follow and trust the heart rather than let the mind question its faith. =)

  3. I should be thanking you for your validation. I've been reading your blog over the last several days and I can relate to almost everything you have written. It's very comforting to know I'm not going crazy :-)

    I'm in my last semester of law school and have a graduate degree. By all accounts, I'm the epitomy of an accomplished and successful person with a bright future to look forward to. So why is it that I'm dead on the inside, a shell of the person I used to be, one step removed from spiraling into a big, black hole?

    Because an HSP doesn't measure success, contentment, and self-fulfillment by the standards imposed on us by the non-HSP world. I could care less about status, privilege, and nice cars. All the things that make others feel good about themselves, make them feel as though they matter, make me want to hang my head in shame.

    I've reached my limit and now my soul is screaming out to me, pleading with me to set it free so that it can pursue what it was always meant to, except this time I won't question its wisdom. I won't try to hinder its path by judging it as infantile, impractical, foolhardy,... Instead, I will follow its lead and let it soar.

    All of this to let you know you are not alone.

  4. Exactly. I completely agree. I could care less about status and privilege either, in the non-HSP sense. Like you, I'm near the end of a graduate program that I'm now wondering why I pursued in the first place. I have plans to move on and hopefully pursue what I really want to do, but it's very difficult to finish an MBA program when you view the business world and its practices as bull. Thank you for sharing your thoughts; very soulful by the way. It is comforting to know that others view the world the same way. =)

  5. Ms. Elizabeth, you are Awsom!!!.
    I AM AMAZED how you know so much about my Sensitivity and my inner makings. I have finally discovered my passion in writing. I never used or nourished my Creative Genius since i was a little girl bullied and teased in elementary School. back then I loved music and learned how to read it. I played the bells, autoharp, exzylophone, and my favorite the Violin. I also sang in the school chorus and the church choir. I was stuffing a lot of pain and my musical passion ended there. After 23 years I am completing my autobiography that I started in 1991.
    My soul has not been nourished for a long time.
    Thank you for you insights, wisdom and knowledge.