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Published: August, 2016; Vol 13, Num 3

Journey to a Healthier You:

Vocational Wellness: Identify Your Interests and Achieve Fulfillment

by Emily Smith

Our “Journey to a Healthier You” series kicked off this past January with a look at the differences between health and wellness. Over the last few months, we’ve looked at many of the eight dimensions of wellness, which are covered in more detail on our Journey to a Healthier You page. This month, we examine vocational wellness.

What Does “Work” Encompass?

We are defining work as paid part-time and full-time work, unpaid work, apprenticeships, internships and volunteer work. Continuing education, skills and content-based training, and other types of professional development are also included.

Vocational wellness is the ability to achieve personal satisfaction and fulfillment from our work, maintain balance in our lives and make a positive impact within the organizations where we work and the communities where we live.

Vocational wellness is subjective – it’s based on your feelings or opinions. It is about your perception, attitude, outlook and reaction to the work you take part in. Ambition, desire for satisfaction and yearning for advancement vary from person to person; each person is on their own path with their own set of vocational wellness goals.

A vocationally well person selects an occupation that utilizes their gifts, strengths and skills and aligns with their interests and values. A vocationally well person strives to balance work and non-work obligations and activities, including learning how to say “no” to maintain that balance.

Use the Following Statements to Assess Your Vocational Wellness

How much do you agree or disagree with the statements below?

  1. I am happy with my career or job choice.
  2. I look forward to work.
  3. My job responsibilities and duties are consistent with my values.
  4. My job gives me personal satisfaction and stimulation.
  5. I am happy with the professional and personal growth opportunities in my career/job.
  6. I feel my job allows me to make a difference in the world.

One Piece in a Larger Puzzle

Vocational wellness is connected to other dimensions of wellness and to the overall level of wellness someone experiences. Having a satisfying work life positively impacts physical, mental and emotional wellness. Engaging in professional development enhances intellectual wellness. Working collaboratively with coworkers and practicing conflict resolution develops social wellness. Securing work that offers good pay enriches financial wellness. Achieving personal satisfaction and fulfillment in one’s work deepens our sense of meaning and purpose.

Get Started on the Path to Vocational Wellness

Determining how vocationally well you are for the first time can be overwhelming. If you are unsure of what to do next, start by exploring your talents and interests and assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself if the work you’re involved with is aligned with what you’ve just identified.

Next, talk with and learn from others in the industry whose values and interests align with yours and whose career path or job is similar to one you would like to aim for. Seek professional development opportunities that enhance your knowledge and skills in order to advance your vocational wellness goals and future career aspirations. When appropriate and relevant, take advantage of the classes offered by LIUNA Training Centers and through LIUNA directly.

A significant amount of our waking hours are spent at or involved with work. Though it varies from person to person, a portion of self-worth and value may be tied to work. To achieve optimal health and wellness, it is important to take part in work that you find personally (and financially) rewarding.

Future articles about vocational wellness will examine how to focus on, improve and fulfill this dimension at various life stages as well as provide suggestions for volunteer and other unpaid work opportunities.

[Emily Smith is the Health Promotion Division’s Senior Benefit & Wellness Specialist.]