Calling vs. Job vs. Career: It’s Not About Money Anymore

We are all chasing happiness, or so we think. Happiness is something we would all say we want in our lives, but we probably don’t even understand what true happiness is or how to truly find it. In addition, happiness isn’t what we should be chasing, especially the modern society definition of it. Instead, we should set our sights on something much better: JOY.

...we should set our sights on something much better: JOY. Click To Tweet

Joy is defined as, “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness,” but I think this definition falls short. Joy is the ability to be happy/joyful during any type of circumstance. It’s just who you are. When you’re filled with joy, there truly isn’t anything that can take it away.

Happiness, on the other hand, is fleeting and doesn’t last. It’s one step above pleasure, but neither can compare to joy. We’ve all met a truly joyous person before and it just doesn’t seem like anything is wrong in their lives. It’s not that they have some great life void of problems, it’s how they view the problems as challenges and opportunities that keeps them upbeat and joyful.

One of the biggest stepping stones to becoming a truly joyous person is to seek a calling instead of a job or a career. When money is taken out of the equation and we truly empty our cup, we open ourselves up to so many opportunities.

Finding our calling is the most important step in the journey towards joy and happiness. Before you can find your calling, it’s important to know the difference between a calling, a job and a career.



We will start with “Job” since it’s the lowest of the three on the totem pole. Job can be turned into an acronym meaning Just Over Broke, which is exactly what a job will get you. You won’t love it; in fact, you will hate working most jobs. Often, a job is just something to get you by and to pay the bills until you can figure out your next step.

Jobs certainly serve a purpose, but they are not something we should strive to have in our lives. You may work many jobs in your life, especially if your calling isn’t a specific career or way to support yourself. There is nothing wrong with working a job, but you cannot expect a job to bring you any kind of joy or happiness, unless it’s a means to allow you to enjoy your calling when you are not working.



Career is the most commonly misinterpreted phrase having to do with work in our society today. Wikipedia defines a career as, “A career is an individual’s journey through learning, work and other aspects of life.” This definition is utterly false!

A career is barely a step above a job. Click To Tweet

A career is barely a step above a job. The only real difference is with a career, you might have a better title, room for advancement and you will likely have to work far more hours. Jobs actually provide flexibility, in most cases, while careers are closer to a death sentence.

The career is what most of modern society strives for, however. This is the answer you give to the question, “what are you going to do with your life” and it’s what your college major is supposed to help define. However, a career will never bring you true joy and happiness because it’s not a calling and more often than not, it won’t allow much quality time for you to have a calling outside of it.

Job vs. Career


Before we discuss what a calling is, let’s look as what a job is compared to a career. Jobs usually give you some type of flexibility and you don’t feel nearly as trapped compared to a career.

For example, I worked as a bartender for about a dozen years (off and on). I also worked as a loan officer/account executive for a handful of mortgage companies. One of these is defined as a job and the other as a career.

Bartending was a job because I didn’t have to feel trapped. I hopped from one bartending job to another, if necessary, and it wasn’t hard to find a job behind a bar. In addition, the hours were shorter than a career and I had flexibility with my schedule, within reason.

In the mortgage industry, I was expected to put in my 40+ hours and take my work home with me, especially at the end of the month. If I wasn’t going to hit specific numbers or the quota set for me, I had to work extra hours (same amount of base pay) to reach those numbers. For me, this turned out to be temporary, but for those I worked with, it was certainly a career as they hoped to move up the totem pole to manage a branch or become a broker.

I didn’t work nearly as much as some of the other people in the offices I worked in, but it was far more hours than bartending and there wasn’t really any flexibility. This was most certainly a career path.

The biggest differences between a job and a career is the expectations, the hours and the pay. Click To Tweet

The biggest differences between a job and a career is the expectations, the hours and the pay. With a job, you will likely get paid by the hour, so every hour counts on your paycheck. With a career, you will start at the entry-level and the only way your paycheck gets bigger is with advancement or raises because you’re a salaried employee, in most cases. If you work 80 hours, you get paid the same as if you worked 40 hours.

Neither a Job nor a Career will truly make you happy Click To Tweet

Neither a Job nor a Career will truly make you happy or help you find joy in your life. A job does have the ability to support you, while you fulfill your calling outside of it. We see this with Paul in the New Testament, as he was a tent maker, but this certainly wasn’t his calling. It’s also common for single parents, as they may work a job to support themselves as they fulfill their incredibly noble calling to be a parent to their child.

In some cases, your calling won’t give you the ability to make money and support yourself. This is exactly why money cannot be a part of the equation. We have become such a money centric society that many people have missed their calling and now are so blinded by money they simply cannot see anything except more money in their future. Chasing money will never lead you to your calling or any type of happiness or joy.



A calling is what we should all seek. This is simply the work you were put here on earth to do. Whether it’s to be a parent, be a doctor, be a janitor, be a comedian or anything else, your calling is the thing you were put here to do. It can change and evolve over time, as a parent called to be a parent will one day watch their children leave and will need to find their new calling.

When you find your calling, you will work with joy in your heart and love on your face. Click To Tweet

When you find your calling, you will work with joy in your heart and love on your face. You will be happier, more compassionate and in love with life. Difficult things will become new opportunities and the grappling you do with life will become more of a game than a misery. Finding your calling is the most amazing thing you can do in this life because it will lead to so much joy it will spread like wildfire to those around you.

A calling cannot be something selfish either. It will help others in one way or another, even if it doesn’t help the entire world. If your calling only reaches one person and only changes the life of one person, it was well worth it.

I have read probably a 100 books about happiness, finding life’s bliss, finding joy, becoming successful, etc. They all have a few similar things in common and one of the main themes of just about every book I have found written on the subject of success is finding one’s calling. Without it, the rest of the formula for success might as well be null and void, unless money and prestige are your measuring sticks for success.

If you measure your success by money and prestige, finding your calling won’t matter as you will work tirelessly in your pursuit of money and prestige. In the end, when you actually get both, you’ll find out neither made you happier and neither was the path to Joy.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with money and prestige. However, they have to be by-products of your calling, not your ultimate goal in life. When we find our calling, the right amount of money and prestige for our lives will be there and we will be a joyous person because we love what we do.

Most of the books I have read on the subject make it sound like everybody has a calling that will make them all kinds of money. This simply isn’t true and the one huge problem I see with most of these types of books. I think authors talk about being rich today because they know it will sell more books. Our society is in love with money and it’s a huge problem, but for a good marketer, it’s something they will exploit.

I also think authors talk about becoming rich and they are not always referring to money, especially in the older, more classic types of success books, such as Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. While Mr. Hill does speak of riches in the form of money, he also talks about it in the form of great friends, great relationships and many other things in life.


Before you start on the journey to find your calling, you must take money and prestige out of the equation. We are not all meant to be rich and we are not all meant to be famous. Did you know, money only makes a difference for your happiness to a point? A recent study called Negative Emotions, Income, and Welfare shows that once your basic needs are met, the amount of happiness derived from more money starts to fall off, especially after reaching the $200K mark.

Money is a tool used to pay for the things you need (not want) to survive. The things we want should start with joy and happiness. In fact, an article from shows says, “Getting things like a new car or 60-inch flat-screen are goals many of us work toward. Unfortunately, these pursuits have the opposite effect we intend: Instead of making us happier, getting more stuff drags us down.”

Another article from says, “The pursuit and purchase of physical possessions will never fully satisfy our desire for happiness. It may result in temporary joy for some, but the happiness found in buying a new item rarely lasts longer than a few days. Researchers even have a phrase for this temporary fulfillment: retail therapy.”

A study from Tufts University also shows how unhappy we are with more things. It states, “Existing scientific research on the value of materialism yields clear and consistent findings. People who are highly focused on materialistic values have lower personal well-being and psychological health than those who believe that materialistic pursuits are relatively unimportant. These relationships have been documented in sample of people ranging from wealthy to poor, from teenagers to the elderly, and from Australians to South Koreans.”

There are several benefits to owning less, which means, we don’t need so much money to buy things from our job or career. This is good news, however. It means we can empty our cup (in this case our houses, storage units, garages and vehicle) and make room for new opportunities.

Those new opportunities can come in the form of our calling. We no longer have to chase the dollar and we can get back to living by the Waste Not, Want Not philosophy, which is certainly one of a minimalist. Living with less will not only make you happier, but it will also allow you the opportunity to change from a job or career to a calling.

When you let go of the need (it’s really a want) to buy that new car, that new designer bag or that new toy you’ll probably never use, it opens you up to search for a calling and stop worrying so much about money. What would your life look like if you were pursuing something you loved every single day, even if the monetary benefits only allowed you to pay your bills and have a little bit left over for entertainment? Would you be happier? Would you be able to become a joyous person?

We think we need all these things because marketers in modern society have become experts at blurring the line between need and want. They prey on our emotions and have taught us to compare our lives to those around us and make sure we measure up. If you want to find your calling and live a life uniquely yours, you have to break free of these marketing schemes.

Stop viewing advertisements and thinking you have to have something that will just clutter up your home. Right now, it’s these fidget spinners everybody is going crazy about. A few months from now, the fad will die out and it will be something else. There will always be something they want us to think we need because it will solve some so-called problem. The worst part, it’s almost always aimed at kids.

Anyway, enough about the marketers of this world and how they prey on our children. Back to finding your calling and moving forward towards a joyous life.

The best way to start working towards your calling is to start dreaming again. Click To Tweet

The best way to start working towards your calling is to start dreaming again. Remember when you were a child and nothing was off limits. Heck, I used to dream about being a bird (probably really wanted to fly). Remember when people told you that you could be anything you wanted. Guess what, that’s still true today.

Sure, it may be a long hard road to get there, but when you’re working towards your calling or your work is your calling, you won’t mind it one bit. In fact, you’ll love waking up and you’ll love going to work because you’ll love what you do. Start dreaming again and put every single possibility back on the table. Then, you’ll have a better chance at finding your calling.

Working a job is something you may need to do to put food on the table, pay the bills and get to where you’re headed. It’s often how someone affords the education they need to work in their calling. There is nothing wrong with working a job and it can actually help to shape your character.

A career, on the other hand, might as well be a death sentence. Click To Tweet

A career, on the other hand, might as well be a death sentence. This isn’t something you ever want as it will consume you and your time, which will keep you from finding your calling and becoming the joyous person you were created to be. Stop focusing on finding a career and stop focusing on the financial aspects of work.

When you seek out your calling, the money will be there. You won’t have anything to worry about. In fact, the bible says:

Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25 – 34

If you’re not a Christian, you just have to understand, when we take our focus off money and focus on what were made to do, the money will be there because what we do will be worth it to others. It’s the same principle as food tasting better when it’s made with love, which is true, btw.

Empty your cup, open your mind, start dreaming and find your calling. Click To Tweet

Empty your cup, open your mind, start dreaming and find your calling. Stop listening to those people telling you to find a “stable career”. There is no such thing and “job security” is truly an oxymoron. Start seeking your calling and watch your life change into a joyous creation.

Comments 4

  • Excellent message Benjamin. Folks sometimes ask me how I appear to be all over the place in my blogging niche. I have fun! I love what I do. Blogging really is a calling to me. So when many bloggers see this as a job like deal, or a career, or just a business, and maybe they would never work well into the night, here I am at 9 PM on a weeknight, serving folks, having fun, reading, commenting, promoting other bloggers, answering questions on Reddit….blogging has become bigger than me, and bigger than making money. It is about me and other folks and having fun and meeting new people and serving. My passion. A calling.

    The cool part? The less you make blogging about money, the more money you make over time. Those who following their calling and open up monetizing channels pretty much name their price, even though they care little about money. The money is just there. Always is. Always expanding and increasing, when you focus on generously rendering service.

    • Ryan,

      So incredibly true. I remember hearing a quote, something like, “if you want to make more one, focus on helping more people.” I feel like it may have came from Zig Zigler, but I think it’s in line with exactly what you’re saying.

  • All the quotations in the post are really true. Neither a Job nor a Career will truly make you happy is exactly right.

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