Language is inherently metaphorical, and those underlying metaphors shape the nuances of meaning and thus how we think. Tickletext’s discussion of “Vocation” vs. “Career”–do we think of our work as something God has called us to, or as a road we happen to be on?–made me think of other words that we use.
OCCUPATION. What we do to pass the time? Actually, the word has the sense of “place.” Our work as the place we occupy.
JOB. That originally referred to the unit that was made by the craftsman. It came from a word for “lump”!
PROFESSION. That means “a public declaration,” probably referring to the oaths necessary to enter certain guilds. (Cf. “profession of faith.”) That’s the converse of vocation: what the person says, whereas vocation–calling–refers to what God says.
Vocation-related words that convey the classic theological meaning include “CALLING” (of course, which is all “vocation” means, connoting a voice that summons and names); “OFFICE” (a position of authority), “STATION” (where someone is assigned to stand), “POST” (where a soldier is stationed).
(Etymologies from Merriam-Webster.)