Calling vs. Career: Do You Have to Choose?

Have you ever read through a job description and wondered why there is an education requirement? For example, what is it about the tasks of an administrative assistant, such as sorting email and scheduling travel, that are distinctively held by someone who earns a bachelor’s degree?

I have varied admin experience, and I can tell you that my athletic training degree wasn’t helpful when I learned different tasks. However, the low pay made it more difficult to pay back my student loans quickly! Many times people feel trapped in their jobs because they don’t have the right education to pursue something different.

With worker demand on the rise, many employers re-evaluate their job requirements. Researchers found that between 2017 and 2021, the share of postings at Accenture specifying a Bachelor of Arts degree or higher fell from 54% to 43%.

Job postings also have prioritized writing, communication, and detail-oriented soft skills. This mindset has enabled internship programs to identify qualified in-house candidates that would have otherwise been eliminated. Accenture, Google, Dell, and Bank of America have also focused on recruiting interns.

“We recruit apprentices from community colleges, tech academies and nonprofits, such as NPower and Year Up,” Verma said. “The vast majority — 960 people, or 80% of our apprentices — joined Accenture without a four-year college degree. Part of the beauty of the apprenticeship program is that we get to teach the apprentices the skills they need.”

Why many employers have ditched 4-year degree requirements Kerry Hannon·Senior Columnist

Is Now The Time To Change Careers?

In September 2021, The Joblist’s Midlife Career Crisis survey revealed the top five reasons people change careers. They were:

  • Better Pay: 47%
  • Too Stressful: 39%
  • Better Work-Life Balance: 37%
  • Wanted a New Challenge: 25%
  • No Longer Passionate About Field: 23%

Additionally, the survey identified that millennials were 20% more likely to consider a job change because of better pay or because their previous job was too stressful than Baby Boomers.

Now, it may seem reasonable to change jobs simply because of pay. However, if you consider four out of the five top reasons people reported they change careers, they lean more toward prioritizing enjoying life over finances. With burnout rates on the rise, it’s natural to long for work-life balance or to want to invest the majority of your hours in something you’re passionate about.

Advancements in technology and people’s acceptance of remote work have created opportunities for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit to explore turning their calling into a career. So, if you’re longing to have gifts, passions, strengths, and talents better align when it comes to your career than they currently do, perhaps it’s time to consider a career change.

Choosing Calling and Career

Guy Chmieleski, Belmont University campus minister, explains, “Finding the place where your unique gifting and passion can bring blessing and relief to those who hurt and struggle in our world — that’s where you’ll find your sweet spot. It’s the place you feel most alive, usable, and at peace. This is the place God is calling you to.”

We tend to identify certain careers, such as missionaries, social workers, or those in medical care, as people who have a calling that blesses others and relieves pain and struggles. It may be difficult to identify how a career like an accountant, insurance agent or taxi driver could have the same impact. This is often why people believe they need to choose calling vs. career when in fact they can choose calling and career.

You can take steps to align your calling and career. It doesn’t matter what vocation you use to serve God, it’s about your heart. How you use to choose to apply your gifts and abilities to your career goals is what aligns your calling and career.

For example, as an accountant, you can choose to use your gifts and talents to ensure non-profit ministries establish their 501c3 funding accounts correctly. You can teach budgeting and investing skills to high school students, and you can ensure that every person who asks for help understands actionable ways to get out of debt and stay out of debt. All of these choices glorify God because we are stewarding our gifts and resources from him well.

A taxi driver has the opportunity to lend a listening ear and offer encouragement to everyone who they interact with. Imagine the least stressful moments of one’s day being those encountering a stranger who strives to be the image-bearer of Christ.

Rather than assuming you have to choose between your calling and your career, I want to encourage you to consider how your passions and career can complement each other.

Making Life Decisions is Often Easiest With the Support of a Mentor

Embracing Holy Interruptions Book Cover

As Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), we’re all called to “make disciples of all nations” wherever we live. God invites us to partner with him and live on mission every day, even in the mundane moments of life. We do this when we love people as Jesus taught the disciples to do, without stipulations.
Embracing Holy Interruptions: How Jesus Used Mundane Moments to Love People Deeply is a six-week Bible study that teaches people how to develop a disciple-making movement.

This is not a step-by-step instruction manual.

Jesus modeled using mundane moments to love people, build tension, and point them to God in a way that caused many of them to step from a curiosity about God to a fully surrendered faith. We can adapt his methods and learn from the examples in the Gospels today. This study aims to help people keep their eyes on Jesus and improve their inductive Bible reading skills while also learning to love their neighbors to the best of their ability. This 6-week study is available in both print and Kindle formats.

Scroll to Top