Career vs Vocation: Creating Wealth And Finding Fulfilment


“There are three words that tend to be used interchangeably and shouldn’t be. They are Vocation, Career and Job.” – Timothy Butler. 

A lot of people including moi, often confuse the words job, career and vocation. I mean, going by the dictionary definitions for the words career and vocation, it is ‘natural’ to assume one word means the same as the other. The following definitions are given by

Vocation – A strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career; A strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.

Career – A chosen pursuit; a profession or occupation.

The two words are synonymous and I would liberally use them interchangeably. I was that ignorant until I attended an event where ma’am Lucy Agba, a media consultant, gave a pep-talk on Career versus Vocation. And it was from her I first heard the above quote by Timothy Butler, a Harvard Business School Psychologist.

“There are three words that tend to be used interchangeably and shouldn’t be. They are Vocation, Career and Job.” – Timothy Butler

After that event, I did a lil’ more research on the words – job, career and vocation, vocation in particular (‘cause I used to think it was strictly religious) and here’s what I found from

“A vocation, or calling, is something to which we all should strive. A vocation is similar to a career but we also get deep satisfaction and fulfillment from our vocation. So not only do we earn money to obtain material possessions, but those of us who have found our vocations enjoy those eight to twelve hours we spend in the office Monday through Friday. When people ask, “Who are you?” you can answer that what you do to earn a living truly is part of who you are. A vocation gives us deep satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness. A vocation will have you jumping with excitement.”

Fortunately, this week’s e-Boost is anchored by a subject-matter expert whose delight is to throw more light on the above topic. Her name – Lucy Agba, a Life Coach, Media Consultant and Broadcast Journalist. Please read, learn and share your comments/opinions/questions in the comment box.

Career vs. Vocation: Creating Wealth And Finding Fulfillment – Lucy Agba

Lucy Agba

Finding, understanding and creating a balance between career and vocation is critically important for financial stability and innate fulfillment. – Lucy Agba

A job is what you do to keep afloat while hoping to find your bearing in career. Career is that knowledge path you want to be known for; that path you have planned and hope to carve a niche for yourself. Vocation however, is the most profound of the three and it has to do with your calling. We’ll however, be focusing more on career and vocation – their characteristics and differences.

In your search for fulfillment and financial freedom, have you ever thought or asked yourself what your career is and what your vocation is? You must have heard about multiple streams of income. Many times it has been mistaken for having several jobs which our Nigerian system may not encourage or having several businesses which again, the economic realities may not favorably predispose you to. How then can financial breakthrough come through?

What Is Career, What Is Vocation?

Career is what we study, with the intention to make a living out of it. It is the field we intend to find expression in. Most people’s career path are influenced by family, friends, environment or books, while others just know what they must do and pursue same. Career puts money in your pocket, may give you fame but may not give you that innate fulfilment.

Vocation on the other hand, is what in religion is called “CALLING”. It is the path where destiny has for you to go. Vocation gives us perspective on what to do with a staying power. A good example is William Wilberforce, who fought for the abolition of slavery in England almost 3 decades and endured disheartening obstacles before succeeding. Vocational calling helps us to be good stewards of our gifts.

Vocation gives innate fulfilment even though it may not put money in your hands, until you commercialize it. Yes, vocation can be a wealth generating path too but its primary drivers are impact and fulfillment; money is the profit of those two. When vocation begins to payoff, its wellspring can be endless if properly managed and invested.

In lay man terms, career pays the bills while you create impact and enjoy fulfilment from your vocational calling. Finding, understanding and creating a balance between career and vocation is critically important for financial stability and innate fulfilment. Some are blessed with the same career and vocation, making it an easy and seamless blend for them. Some others however, have a separate career from their vocation, hence they have a harder time finding and creating the needed balance.

Some characteristics and differences between Career and Vocation include:

  • Career path can change, vocational calling does not; it can however expand.
  • Career puts periodic financial reward in our pockets, vocation may not.
  • You retire from your career but not from your vocation.
  • Career ends with the person, vocation outlives a person.


Vocational calling can be general or particular. Your passion, talent(s) and natural flair are indications of what it could be. Do not expect a perfect use of your gift but be determined and diligent enough to find yourself and hone your skills and before long you will be both fulfilled and comfortable if you don’t give up on yourself. See you at the top of your world.

Thank you so much Aunty Lucy! Your pep talk and this article opened my eyes and mind to a lot of truth about creating wealth and finding fulfillment through my career and vocation.

Initially, I wasn’t one of the few who were blessed with a seamless blend between their career and vocation. Studied Computer Science in the university but my vocation is in writing and content development. But consciously and unconsciously, my innate passion aka calling kept pushing me till I found and created the much needed balance… Had to resign my job in Software Testing and fully pursue a career in Content Development which is what I am doing today.

I do hope you picked a lesson or more from today’s e-Boost?

What is your career and vocation? Have you found or created a balance between the two? Please share with us in the comment box.

Lucy Agba is a Media Consultant, Life Coach & Broadcast Journalist. You can reach her via email:

Wishing y’all a Fulfilled rest of week.


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10 Replies to “Career vs Vocation: Creating Wealth And Finding Fulfilment”

  1. Seen why you were awake almost all through the night.

    Really love this article cos just on Sunday I was having this discussion with myself (lol I discuss with my self a lot oh). I know what I want to do to generate money and I also know my passion and calling of which both is entirely different from what I’m studying in school right now. Very soon in 2 months time I’ll be done, so I was just reflecting (which I do a lot this days), in case someone just approaches me and begin asking questions how would I be able to differentiate them. Well now I know how to differentiate the one from the other and what to reply.

    Nice writing. Thanks a lot dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I sure picked a lesson.
    Must confess I also used those words interchangeably too. I know better now.
    I haven’t gotten my vocation figured out so cant say there’s a seemless bonding with my career yet.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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