Are You Looking for a Job, a Career, or a Calling?


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Aug 08 2020 33 mins  

Are You Looking for a Job, a Career, or a Calling?


Do you even know the difference? Jeffery A. Thompson, author of The Zookeeper's Secret, explains how to find your calling in life at the intersection of passion, purpose, and place.


A little over ten years ago, Jeffery A. Thompson gave a Devotional Address at Brigham Young University (BYU) that changed the course of his life.

Unsure of what to talk about and worried that he didn't have "anything wise to say" at that point in his career, Jeff's thoughts turned to his latest research on "finding a calling in life." Unexpectedly, he started to view that research through a spiritual lens. 

He says, "As I did that, in preparation for the devotional, a new vision of my research opened up to me and I had a new understanding that what I was studying was actually deeply embedded in principles of the restored gospel." 

Jeff's eventual talk, "What is Your Calling in Life?", laid the foundation for a book he would one day write (along with J. Stuart Bunderson) called, "The Zookeeper's Secret: Finding Your Calling in Life."

In addition to sharing the difference between a job, a career, and a calling, in this podcast episode, Jeff explains that finding your calling in life sits at the crossroads of passion, purpose, and place. Those "3 P's," said differently (or with spiritual eyes), are your spiritual gifts, stewardship, and destiny--where Heavenly Father has led you.

Though it sounds easy enough, Jeff cautions that having a desire to find your calling in life does not mean that the search will be simple or that it will always be rewarding. You might actually go through a period bewilderment, find that some steps are difficult to take, or that your purpose reveals itself through some of your worst experiences. But if you partner with the Lord in taking each step, finding "that thing" you are uniquely qualified to do is possible and worth the effort.

And spoiler alert. Your calling in life is not a "destination."

Listen to this episode to find out how Jeff went from a corporate career he disliked to being a professor in a program he didn't even know existed, while also longing to perform in musical theater.

It's a great story, and thanks to Jeff's acting classes--an unexpected addition to his calling in life--he is also a great storyteller.

And for stay-at-home moms who are thinking about going back to school, Jeff adds this plug for the Executive Master in Public Administration (EMPA) program that he loves so much. He says, "This is a great option for stay-at-home moms who are returning to work. We get at least a few each year. They come into the program terrified, but generally are among our best students. It’s a great degree for launching a late-stage career in public sector, nonprofit, educational administration."

What You'll Learn in this Episode

  • Steps you can take to find your calling in life
  • How finding your calling in life is an iterative process
  • Why it's important to making serving others your top priority
  • Most Importantly: How Jeff has seen the Lord’s hand in his career

Mentioned in this Episode