Vocational Wellness refers to the ability to gain personal satisfaction from our endeavours - be it a career or voluntary work - while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
The vocationally well person achieves personal satisfaction and fulfillment through work that is consistent with his or her personal values, interests and beliefs. A person who is meaningfully engaged in his or her vocation finds it personally rewarding to contribute his or her skills, experiences and talents to work. Vocational wellness extends beyond work to volunteerism. Everyone has a unique gift, talent, vocational skill or strength that can be used for the benefit of the community. The investment of time and energy is returned immensely multiplied, thereby enriching life, rather than consuming one’s energies and resources.
And only you can decide what you are going to make of it. What you choose to do in your life, the work you do, will affect the kind of person you become and the legacy you leave behind.
As we go through life, there are many changes in the purpose of work and it is inevitable that we need to change in order to continue to grow, and to suit the new purposes that develop. When in their 20s, people are proving themselves; in their 30s, they are achieving and earning. By 40, people want more authenticity, meaning they want to be at their best while being themselves rather than trying to fit in or live up to someone else’s standards.
By the time they reach their 50s and beyond, most people yearn for more meaning in their work. Mature people want to use their talents and accumulated wisdom, not just to prove themselves or to get to the top, but as a way to give back to society.
With each major shift, something different is required for your work to be satisfying and rewarding. Fulfilling work is a moving target requiring continuous improvement.
Many people make inspiring changes leading to more enjoyable and rewarding careers. One should believe that regardless of the obstacles, it is always possible to achieve fulfilment in your career. It takes commitment and a conscious effort to make it happen.
The saddest thing is when people look back at their lives and regret not having done things they wanted to do. By deciding to give it your best shot, you may make mistakes, you may find dead ends or barriers that take years to overcome, but you will not regret your life. And chances are good that you will achieve much more than you thought possible.
Here are a few things one should keep in mind, when finding your second vocation after retirement:
Be clear about what you DON’T want
The first step towards finding a fulfilling career is to look at your current situation. Assuming you were not completely fulfilled in what you did, there would have been something wrong or missing from that job role or work environment. The more precisely you can identify it, the easier it will be to make sure your next role is an improvement so that you don’t just end up jumping jobs for the sake of keeping yourself occupied.
A career change, especially later in life, is often a big commitment, so you will want to make sure you get it right. The best way is to list everything that bothers you. By making this list, you will become much clearer and more realistic about what was actually wrong with your job and what steps you can take to improve it. Often the changes needed may be less drastic than it feels at first.
Envision the ideal
Once you have clarified what you don’t want, focus on what you do want. This is the time to dream, imagining that anything is possible. With an idealist viewpoint, you can tap into your true desires. Dreaming big is vital because it will help you identify what is really important to you. And that is the secret to fulfilment. Only what you truly want will satisfy you, no matter what others may say. Also, once you start thinking about what you want, you will be alert to new opportunities to create what you are looking for.
When you first start envisioning what you want, you may not have a lot of the details. So start with the feelings you want – the passion, pride and joy. What makes you jump out of bed in the morning? What gives you a surge of energy? What supports you and nurtures you? What warms you with pride and satisfaction? What do you want to see, hear and feel? If you find this step difficult, make it easier by tapping into your creativity. Rather than thinking hard, start doodling, or paint a picture.
You don’t need any artistic talent, just some willingness to experiment and a few coloured markers! Or look through a few of your favourite magazines to find images that represent what you want and put them together to make a collage. When you are done, describe what it means to you to a trusted friend. The exercise will bring much more clarity and inspire you towards making it happen.