Adults who are employed full time work an average of forty-seven hours a week, nearly 2,500 hours a year — that’s over 100 full days. We’ll spend a third of our lifetime working. How do we choose a vocation that will nurture the health of our soul?
Current research says that most people will change jobs ten to fifteen times over the course of their working life, with an average of twelve job changes per career. How do we navigate that kind of change?
One of the first questions we ask when we meet someone new is, “What do you do for a living?” Why do we ask this? Because a big part of how we understand human identity and our place in this world is through the work that we do.
What about job training? Who really needs to go to college, and who can bypass university for alternative means of training? How should one pick a major? Should we teach our kids to specialize early? In our local school district, kids are incentivized to pick a discipline on which to focus as early as eighth grade. It’s not as binding as picking a major in college, but it will shape their goals and imagination for a crucial period of their life. Is that too early?
What if we’re viewing education all wrong? What if college should be less like job training and more like character formation, personal development, and preparation for life? What if it’s a big mistake to see college as instruction in a discipline, or the development of a marketable skill?
These questions fascinate me, and they can all be subsumed under the larger question: How should we navigate the ups and downs of our vocational journey?
This summer our church took a few weeks to focus on the topic of Vocation. Our sermon series was called Let Your Life Speak, and it was based in Parker Palmers book by the same title. I was surprised by the strong reaction to the the book and sermon series. We experienced such high engagement with this conversation that I wanted to put together an extra podcast episode to tease out some of what was left on the cutting room floor during each week’s sermon prep.
Toward that end, I invited two great conversation partners to have a free ranging discussion of vocational life–Tim Keel and Taylor Johnson.
Tim Keel is the founding pastor of Jacob’s Well Church in Kansas City, Missouri. Tim studied Design at the University of Kansas and theology at Denver Seminary. Tim’s an avid reader, a CrossFit enthusiast, and a thoughtful pastor, writer, and teacher. Tim is the author of Intuitive Leadership: Embracing a Paradigm of Narrative, Metaphor, and Chaos.
Taylor Johnson is a professor in the counseling department at MidAmerica Nazarene University, and a practicing Marriage and Family Therapist. Taylor studied religion at MNU as an undergrad, then theology at Nazarene Theological Seminary where he earned an . He got his masters in counseling at MNU, and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Regent University.
I hope you’ll take some time to listen to our conversation about work, life, career, vocation, and how to view it all as a spiritual journey of discovery. You can listen at the Redemption Church KC Sermon Podcast wherever you engage with podcasts. Or, you can listen on the website. The episode is called Redemption Round Table 01: Mission and Vocation.
Follow me on Twitter:@Tim_Suttle