Project Management

Occupation or Vocation?

PMI Florida Suncoast Chapter

Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant with over 30 years of business and government planning and leadership. He advises commercial and federal organizations on the planning, development and leadership of project management organizations, delivering viability and value. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition. He is the co-founder of, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus.

One of the many challenges that we face as we develop professionally is the vexing question of the pursuit of our dreams or paying the bills. Most of us are focused on enabling uninterrupted cash flow, the best company to pursue and what location to live. Many find an occupation that is in alignment with their immediate needs, in order to pay the bills. Reflection, analysis and alignment of fulfilling life work are pushed to another day, never unleashing full personal passion.

Todd Henry explains in his book Die Empty that the graveyard is the most valuable land in the world. Buried, here lay all the unwritten novels, unlaunched businesses and all the things that were to be accomplished tomorrow1.

Bottom line, many of us have yet to discern the difference between our occupation and our vocation. The terms can be confusing. Merriam-Webster defines occupation as “the work that a person does, a job or an activity that a person spends time doing.” On the other hand, vocation is defined as “a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work.” In Latin, vocatio means a calling or summons.

Scott Gottreu at indicates that you should not try to find contentment in your occupational tasks, as you will not be fulfilling your dreams and you will be continually frustrated2.

It takes time and reflection to&…

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A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.

- Frank Lloyd Wright