ImageYou know it’s bad when you’re in denial of being in denial.

It’s a handsome word – vocation. It tumbles off the tongue at its own pace. It summons the view of a white steeple on Sunday morning, or of a curved back blocking the view of a paint-speckled hand before a canvass. It’s never been clear whether one’s vocation is a fatalistic sentence, clear and static as a thumbprint, or whether it’s something you find after years of despair in career trial-and-error. Indeed, are we all blessed with our very own vocation?

Fortunately it’s okay to be unsure about what you’re going to do, before and during college that is. It’s normal. The options are endless. As graduation dances closer, you drink another glass of wine and wonder why you have yet to walk into an arch of dusky sunlight and mutter “Ah, yes. I’m supposed to be a – !” A what? A who?

Beware of loans. Get your graduate degree first. It’s worth the money. Get your graduate degree later. And don’t go unless you’re sure. Work first. Save up. Take risks. Follow your heart. (If possible, become a doctor. It would be really great to have a doctor in the family.)

What if the vocation that I think is my vocation is an imposter? What if I harbor a prodigious untapped talent in sculpture? What if I have two callings – or worse – my mission necessitates living somewhere other than New York City, San Francisco, or Seattle?

Maybe we construct our vocations in the same way that we construct knowledge and construct meaning and construct social constructs? Can I get a Ph.D. in Social Construction? You know, I’ve always wanted to work with my hands. After all these years tapping this keyboard my fingers are cramped. Therein lives true authenticity, real connection with one’s work. Marx was on to something. Is there a Neo-Marxist Association of America, and are they hiring? College has taught me to think critically. Critical thinking is absolutely critical in this day and age.

Jenny is lucky because she is working her dream job, which maybe translates into: she is actualizing her vocation. Jenny is fortunate in that her vocation pays her to peruse Facebook and look at puppies on Craig’s List for much of the day.

Am I in denial of my vocation, or is it in denial of me? Perhaps my vocation was hoping to reside in the soul of someone more charming.

One thing’s for sure, and that’s that the CIA is in denial of my usefulness as a secret agent. I envision my application somewhere in the “Not a Chance” shred pile, and I expect that’s because the CIA is expert at sniffing out secret agent vocational wannabes.

They say that those who can – do, and those who can’t – teach. What about those of us who can’t do anything about the fact that we can’t teach? Where’s our idiom?

Maybe I’m in denial that my vocation is hiding somewhere between my Motivation to Avoid Failure and my bills from Sallie Mae. She’s somewhere close all right, sighing and rolling her eyes.



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