Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Contentment and Vocation

I was touched and impressed by Elizabeth's post on contentment. I remember when I was an undergraduate, being taught by Cistercian monks. In my first year philosophy course, Father Cain said something along the line of "In our work, we are perfecting the world."

I believed it. I thought I would find a "job" that would also be a vocation in which I would help to perfect the world. I had a job like that for several years. Now, I often look back on it with wistfulness.

Now, I have a job that is merely a job. I recognize the difference.

A while back, one of my colleagues left her job to take a job that was a mission and vocation for her. I expressed to her my envy – that she would have her passion and her paycheck both coming from the same place. I had that once.

I miss it.

I dunno how much ICanHasCheezburger has to say to this, but I'm looking for excuses to work in these images. So here ya go. I think it has something to say about being and doing.

cat

BTW, if any of you know of a position where I can be and do, give me a buzz.

8 Comments:

Blogger Hilary said...

I was drawn to my profession - urban planning - out of a desire to do good as well. I let myself get lured away from real planning work and into the private sector consulting world partly because of the considerably higher salaries the private sector offers.

Now, after being laid off from two different companies in two years, I'm focusing my efforts on getting back to local government and to public service. It's very hard because besides taking a step way back on the pay scale, potential employers wonder why I'm willing to take a job lower on the seniority scale than where I was.

But the soul searching I'm doing right now just keeps telling me it's the right thing to do and I'm so hopeful I'll be happier in the long term.

I don't know your professional field, but I hope you can find something that fits your need to both 'be' and 'do.'

7/17/2008 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa,
1. I agree about changing the world. But I believe that you can change your microcosm just by you being you-in-Christ even in a reasonably unfulfilling job. I think that is what Paul (who I love, by the way)was saying when he said don't conform but be TRANSFORMED and as you are being transformed, you'll find yourself transforming the world. In theory.

In practice, I find that I too am discontent in my current job. Am I making enough of a difference, touching enough people? Couldn't I, shouldn't I be doing more directly? Sometimes I feel like I am the appendix of Christ's body and I don't seem to be contributing much. But at least at the moment I don't seem to be inflamed. I don't know if that is good or bad...

2. Waaaaay different: how 'bout an update on your furry family?

--Susan

7/17/2008 1:54 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks to both of you for sharing your stories.

Let me offer a little bit of a clarification. The former job I mentioned wasn't church-related. I worked for a non-profit organization. But it was one where I felt passionate. I truly believed I was doing Good And Important Work. Occasionally I said, "It's so cool that they actually pay me to do this work!" I happily put in 12-hour days because I loved what I was doing and loved the latitude I was given to pursue that vision.

Now I'm doing somewhat similar work, but in a different place [within a government bureaucracy] much curtailed and much overlaid with bureaucracy ... and my sphere of influence is much smaller. A while back, I was asked to speak at an international conference [expenses paid] in Europe in my area of expertise and the agency head said, "No. I don't see how this benefits the citizens of Missouri." Short-sighted asshole.

In my former job, I was given leeway to use all my writing and training and consulting skills to do Good Stuff. Now ... in this current job ... "doing good" doesn't matter. Following the rules seems to be all that matters.

I hope that helps flesh-out what I was trying to articulate. I am sorry I still have to be a bit cryptic, as I work in a political office where they would be quite happy to hang my butt out to dry. :(

7/17/2008 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any government bureaucracy within the borders of MO is lame-ass. MO loves mediocrity. Heck, just going to lobby at Jeff City (state capital) and seeing the representatives and senators is proof that you don't need to be a rocket scientist to be a state legislator. (I recommend a trip to your state legislature as a self-confidence boost).

Susan, appendices may not be required in modern life, but they do provide some assistance against GI infection.

NancyP - in a blue spot of MO.

7/17/2008 9:14 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

NancyP, I wish we could hook up sometime. I am indeed in the capitol -- just a couple of blocks from the capital.

And you nailed it. Everything you said is true.

7/17/2008 9:18 PM  
Blogger Hilary said...

A diatribe against MO state gov't would be cathartic, but wouldn't help with this dialog. So I'll just say, 'what NancyP said.' My little corner of MO leans blue too, thankfully.

Lisa, can you move? I can't imagine what living in Jeff City would be like - except that it would be bad. Even Columbia would be an improvement (and that's where my more progressive friends who work for the state live).

Also, there's a group here in the St. Louis are called the Rome Group that regularly posts jobs in the non-profit area:
http://new.theromegroup.com/Default.aspx?TabId=68&CsPage=3

Maybe they could help?

Hilary - in Webster Grooves, er, Groves ;-)

7/18/2008 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NancyP!
You have given me a renewed sense of purpose!
Thanks.
--Susan

7/18/2008 10:51 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

First, let me say that I am mortified that I confused "capital" and "capitol." I do know the difference!

Hilary, I'm heartened to know that you, too, know how things are in Missouri.

This week, I entertained a friend whom I'd only met in the blogosphere. One of his first questions was: "What's a nice girl like you doing in Jefferson City?" I hear some of you asking that question, too. I can't exactly answer it. My job is here, and the housing here is much more affordable than up in Columbia.

And I love my parish church. When I first moved here in '99, I visited back and forth, and I'll take my parish over Columbia's any day of the week.

The downsides are obvious, too. Yes, this is a narrow-minded, conservative town. A lesbian has about as much hope here as does a cat in DogTown USA.

Hilary, I'm fairly often in Webster Groves, at Emmanuel.

Hilary & Nancy, you are asking questions that I cannot well answer. The job I found is in this town. Thank God, my diocesan work and my job often take me to St. Louis.

I don't know what else to say. To paraphrase Schofield and the schismatics: "Here I'm stuck. I can find no better." :(

7/18/2008 10:37 PM  

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