Hobby, Job, Career, or Vocation?

I am taking Seth Godin’s The Creative’s Workshop, a 100 day course on focusing my creative energies. Hence all the Seth Godin quotes that have informed my blogs recently.

As part of the course, we listen to thrice-weekly videos from Seth Godin – and sometimes he has special guests talk about specific topics. Early on, it was Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love. She spoke about the difference between:

  • Hobbies
  • Jobs
  • Careers
  • Vocations

These are my notes from listening to her:

Hobby: done purely for pleasure; “I’m not a robot producing, consuming, paying bills and waiting to die.” Don’t need to share it with anyone. Not a requirement to live.

Job: necessary to live. It doesn’t have to be fulfilling, it just has to pay you. You can enjoy it, you don’t have to enjoy it, but you do have to put in the effort to get the $. It’s okay to have a job. You can still be an artist.

Career: Something you’re passionate about and you love. You believe in the mission and are willing to make sacrifices. You can’t HATE your career. If you do, go get a job. 

Vocation: Calling. Divine invocation. The universe calls you to do it. Highest and most sacred pursuit. No one can take it from you. No one can give it to you. “If you have the voice, you have no choice.” [that last part is my own interpretation based on a quote from Marianna Busching]

If you are an artist, where on this spectrum does your art fall for you?

My hobbies are, among others, hanging out on Facebook, watching TV, wine and beer tasting.

Jobs I’ve had include customer service, legal secretary, waitress, cashier, opera chorus (yes, that is a job, not a career – it might have been a career when I was younger, but now it’s a job).

Careers I’ve had:

  • Classroom music teaching K-8 (hated it – that’s why I went to work in customer service)
  • Teaching voice

The second one is a vocation, as is singing. How I view performing is evolving right now. Especially since I haven’t been able to do it recently. It’s still very important to me, but in what form?

Stay tuned while I figure it out.

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Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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