1. About This Class:
people want more from their work than the paycheck it provides--they
want a sense of calling. Within career development, a
calling is a sense of purpose or direction that leads a person
toward a personally fulfilling and/or socially useful engagement
within one's work, sometimes referencing God or the transcendent,
sometimes an inner passion or giftedness.
Yet so many people feel miserable in their jobs. Gallup
reports that more than 70% of American workers are disengaged
at work, a percentage that has changed very little in more than
Furthermore, stable careers are a thing of the past. Adults
now hold an average of 11 jobs by the time they turn 44 years
old--and the median number of years people have worked for their
current employer is just 4.4 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
These numbers tell a story in which uninspired work and constant
career change is the norm, with people at all career stages
asking themselves questions like "How can I find more meaning
in my work?" and "What path should I take now?"
Whether you are a coach, therapist, consultant, educator,
or other helping professional, at some point more than two-thirds
of your future clients will be in need of serious help in their
work lives, even if they come in desiring help with other problems.
There is a tremendous advantage for you and for your clients,
if you know what to do.
The research overwhelmingly documents the value for you and
your clients of finding meaning and purpose in work. For example:
A sense of calling is associated with positive career
development outcomes. People with a calling are more confident
that they can make good decisions about their careers, more
committed to their jobs and organizations, more intrinsically
motivated and engaged, and more satisfied with their jobs.
A sense of calling is associated with general well-being,
too. People with callings (compared with other people) are happier,
more satisfied with life, cope more effectively with challenges,
and express a stronger sense of meaning in their lives.
It's not about having it, it's about living it. People
with a calling are happiest, most committed, and experience
the most benefit when they feel they are living out their calling.
Unfortunately, some people who sense that they have a calling
have trouble finding opportunities to express it, and as a result
they feel frustrated, discouraged, and unhappy.
A sense of calling can have drawbacks, too. Research
on calling's "dark side" is sparse, but suggests that for some,
a sense of calling can cause career foreclosure or "tunnel vision,"
vulnerability to workaholism, or even exploitation from employers.
But how do we help people find these extraordinary benefits?
The good news is there are now research-based, clinically tested
strategies to help people discern and live out their callings
by understanding their gifts, identifying or creating new opportunities,
and even transforming their current job into a calling.
In this class, Dr. Bryan Dik will explore the historical context
and cutting-edge research on work as a calling. And he will
show us how to help people get more out of work and life by:
- Understanding their unique "work personality"
- Identifying ways to connect their work with a broader sense
of purpose in life
- Exploring tangible opportunities that fit with their values
- Actively shaping their work to make it a better fit
- Avoiding the perils and pitfalls of approaching work as a
- Cultivating their callings in and out of work
The Eight Weeks:
Week 1: What is a Calling, and What Difference Does it
Make? Explore differences in how calling is defined, and
learn about its impact on people who experience it.
Week 2: A Brief History of What Work Means to People.
Take a tour of diverse work meanings throughout history, and
how these meanings translate into work orientations that people
Week 3: The Science and Art of Discerning a Calling.
Try out some hands-on strategies for helping people explore
their work personalities and identify pathways for purpose.
Week 4: Cultivating Callings in Education. Discover
learning and teaching strategies that help students discern
and live out their callings.
Week 5: Meaning at Work (with Dr. Michael Steger).
Learn what the science of meaning in life teaches us about finding
meaning in our work.
Week 6: Make Your (Current) Job a Calling. Practice
work adjustment and job crafting, and transform your current
job into a calling.
Week 7: The Dark Side of Calling. Confront the perils
and pitfalls that sometimes accompany a sense of calling, from
career tunnel vision to rationalized workaholism to exploitation
by unscrupulous employers.
Week 8: Callings in Life. Explore how a sense of calling
can function as an organizing life principle, because people
are called to far more than work.