Make Your Vocation a Vacation
by Dave Ramsey
Your satisfaction with your job has a direct impact on your willingness to give it your all and make a real success out of your career, or just toughing it out till it's time to go home. Here's how you can find a career that suits you so you can excel professionally, emotionally and financially.
The career or type of work you choose – and whether or not you choose to work at it – can be paramount to your financial peace. Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Peace, says that “life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” Thomas Edison said that “the secret of success is focus of purpose.”
We will spend well in excess of 100,000 hours of our lives working at our choice of vocation. The sheer math of a per-hour rate makes this decision very important. You must plan your work and then work your plan. Happy and effective people have found a vocation for which they have a natural aptitude and have committed themselves to excellence in that vocation. These are the people who have a vacation for a vocation.
Everyone has some natural talent or aptitude in one or more areas. If you can identify those areas you not only will be happier and perform more successfully in that role, but you will also become better paid for that. Our free-market system pays for performance at some point. When you have a natural talent or aptitude, coupled with desire and experience, the result is productivity plus.
This is such an important financial concept that I recommend detailed aptitude testing if you are not happy and functioning at peak efficiency. These tests are sometimes expensive, but in relative terms if you discover an aptitude for an industry with a salary potential from $75,000 to $100,000 within a few years – and you are making $30,000 now at a job you hate – that is a good deal. The economic change will easily make the testing pay its way, not to mention the self-growth that occurs when you find a vocation that suits your aptitudes.
If you are currently in a vocation that is perfect for you, it is time to excel. You must get busy to do the work necessary to excel in what you do. The old saying holds true: if you are going to eat and eat excellently, you must get up, leave the cave, kill something, and drag it home. The boss can’t do it for you, the company can’t do it for you, and the competition can’t do it to you if you have made up your mind to succeed.
This is not some hyped-up vision of success. It just involves hard work at something that comes naturally for you and that will sooner or later catapult you to where you want to be. In most industries you can outwork 80 percent of your cohorts and outsmart (use the knowledge you have) 15 percent of the rest, putting you in the top 5 percent – which always pays very well.
If you are good at something, you become more intense, and so you get more creative. Consequently, you accomplish more, so you get paid more. This causes you to enjoy it more, which in turn means you will get better at it. This process is what we call an excellence cycle. If you get caught up in an excellence cycle, you will find that your financial problems will no longer be caused by a low income.
On the other hand, you can get caught in a death cycle. When you finished school, you may have given as little thought to your career as to what clothes to put on that day, and so you entered a field not well suited for you. You may have thought about your direction based on what your parents or your friends thought should be your direction, and so you entered a field not well suited for you. A lot of people feel this way, and it takes a toll. An article in the Los Angeles Times reports that the risk of heart attack is 33 percent higher on Monday morning. If so, you probably hate what you do, are less intense, and are less creative. As a result, you accomplish less, and you get paid less or you level off. Now you become even more unhappy, which starts the cycle again. You need to get out!
You should start making plans today to get away from your bad situation as soon as possible. You will be happier, healthier, and wealthier. One warning is in order, however: Do not quit your job today! Do not get all excited and destroy your monthly budget by making a rash decision. You can begin the process of discovery and transformation today.
Dave Ramsey offers life-changing financial advice as host of a nationally syndicated radio program, “The Dave Ramsey Show,” which is heard by nearly 4.5 million listeners each week, on more than 450 radio stations throughout the United States. The author of multiple New York Times best-selling books, Ramsey added television host to his title when “The Dave Ramsey Show” on Fox Business Network debuted nationally Oct. 15, 2007. Dave is the creator of EntreLeadership – a business course taught to entrepreneurs and leaders on how to successfully grow a business. For more information, visit www.daveramsey.com.