How does Having a Calling Affect Job Commitment and Satisfaction?

Some people insist they have been called to a specific vocation, while others merely work a job. “Scholars from a variety of disciplines have begun to explore what it means to have a calling and how this relates to outcomes, consistently finding calling to be associated with enhanced work-related and general eudemonic well-being,” said Ryan D. Duffy of the Department of Psychology at the University of Florida. “Moreover, barriers may exist that limit people’s abilities to carry out their callings, thereby impeding the potential positive psychological effects of having one.” Duffy recently led a study to discover if people who were living their calling were more satisfied and committed in their jobs than those who were not. In other words, Duffy asked, “More simply, what is it about having a calling that makes individuals more satisfied at school and work?”

Duffy theorized that of the 201 adults he interviewed for his study, the ones that were living their calling would report the highest levels of career satisfaction. After evaluating the responses of the participants, Duffy realized that not only was his hypothesis validated, but that people living their callings were also less concerned about income than those who were merely working a job. “This finding supports the inclusion of living a calling in the relation between perceiving a calling and job satisfaction and the need to focus attention on this construct in future research on calling,” said Duffy. “Considering the integral role that work plays in the identities, lives, and well-being of adults around the world, counselors must be prepared to address and utilize interventions related to the work domain. At a basic level, as supported by this study and other research, it is recommended that practitioners explore the relevance of calling to clients’ work experience.” He added, “These results have clear implications for practitioners that include the therapeutic aim of helping clients increase their perceptions and experience of living out a calling in the work domain so that enhanced career commitment, work meaning, and subsequent work satisfaction might result.”

Duffy, R. D., Bott, E. M., Allan, B. A., Torrey, C. L., & Dik, B. J. (2011, November 7). Perceiving a Calling, Living a Calling, and Job Satisfaction: Testing a Moderated, Multiple Mediator Model. Journal of Counseling Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026129

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Brent


    December 2nd, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Is there such a thing as having a calling to a specific vocation anymore? I run into more and more people who seem to go through their daily lives just as it is a drudge, like they are so dissatisfied that they almost can’t stand living it anymore.

    I am so glad that I don’t feel that. I mean maybe I am in the middle. I like my job, and go there pretty happily every day, you know just happy to have a job and all. But would I prefer to be independently wealthy? Of course.

  • s.campbell


    December 2nd, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    I would definitely be a lot more flexible about my expected pay if I find a job of my liking. If there is no real interest in the job its easy to see why any person would pay more attention to the pay, isn’t it? Its either a satisfying job that you desire or higher pay in a different job, that’s what everybody is looking for!

  • Solomon


    December 3rd, 2011 at 6:39 AM

    For me I know that if I felt called to the work that I was doing, I would probably feel a whole lot more committed and a whole lot less likely to leave the job over a petty disagreement or something like that.

  • Sadie


    December 4th, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    You gotta have some real strong faith to feel that calling anymore.
    There are so many of us who are in it for the money these days.
    That green stuff seems to be the only thing that calles names anymore.
    I want something a little deeper and meaningful than that.
    Somehow that kind of calling and meaning got lost along the way.

  • emma bradley

    emma bradley

    December 4th, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    I know that there have been times for evryone where you have to take a job that you may not like for a number of reasons. But to think that I have had to lives not being able to work and do something that truly inspires me as a human being? How sad. I am lucky that I have been in the artistic field for some time now, and while I cannot say that I have a huge paycheck every week, I can say that it makes me happy to go to work every day. And remarkably I have always been taken care of. The bills get paid, things just always seem to work themselves out. It would be great to probably have more money, but it has been more important for me to work doing something that I love.

  • MK


    December 5th, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    I wanted to be a photographer but am now in family business.Not that I do not like following into my father’s footsteps but I wish I were a photographer.I am pretty certain i would have been a better photographer than I am at my present job.

    If your child has this urge to get into a particular profession,please let him or her go ahead.Never push your child into something they are not happy with.Because eventually that thing remains stuck in their minds and may even become a thorn to live with!

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