I was all prepared to post on a different topic and then had one of those serendipitous moments when things you are doing in separate spheres of your life come together, so I figured that was a sign.
As we’ve discussed before (since it is the central theme of the blog, at least in theory) there is a perceived, but false, distinction between liberal arts education and preparing for “the world of work.” Similarly (I guess) there is sometimes thought to be a distinction between one’s work and one’s “life.” I think many of us instinctively rebel against being defined by our occupation, and yet for most of us it does occupy more of our time and energy than any other single thing in our lives. (The title of this post was spoken in grave tones in an old Waste Management commercial, extolling the value of the garbage collector who performed his job dependably and well. Or something.)
For a program I am in this summer, we are considering this puzzle. Even the word “vocation” embodies some of this: I think that in everyday discourse, vocation is often synonymous with “occupation” as opposed to one’s avocation, or hobbies. But in most dictionaries, the first meaning of vocation is much deeper, drawn from “calling” or a special fit between individual and work. I’m reading this book which offers several interesting perspectives on this question. In many ways, this gets to the heart of our task as educators: not merely training students to be qualified for a job, but to be prepared to live fulfilling, meaningful, lives.
And then, last weekend I heard a talk (or more accurately, a sermon) from the president of Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School, Dr. Marvin McMickle, speaking to the Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. It was preached as part of the annual memorial service, so obviously overtly religious, but certainly consistent with some of the readings in “Leading Lives that Matter” (and he is a powerful preacher!)
It is about 30 minutes long and the sound level is low, so you’ll have to turn up your speakers, but worth the trouble if you are so inclined. (And although I am hesistant to give a shortcut, if you want skip to the more “social” message, skip to the 17:00 mark.)
In honor of the Tony Awards on Sunday, check this out–a great way to kill a lot of time. If by some chance, you’ve never watched the number one selection, do it now. The song, I’m sorry to say, has become a bit of a cliché, but that broadcast had people that had never heard of the show jumping out of their chairs in the Holoman household and around the country.