Most vocational guidance is an enigma, isn’t it?
The only real advice anyone can give you falls into one of two categories.
Is that they think X pays more than Y (which should be obvious, right?).
Is that they think you will be happier doing A, rather than B.
This is all true if you are looking for a job. But a vocation is something that runs a little deeper.
A vocation is like a calling, I think, for which “money” and “happiness” should play less of a role.
I say you should build a useful talent stack, follow your interests, and see where providence takes you.
And yeah – if you seek to be wise, rather than
become wise – you will likely never get what you are after.
The former is simply status-seeking, which is always hollow.
But the latter is something closer to enlightenment.
And to bring this immediately home to his audience, comprised largely of students, he continues by noting that the middlebrow “does not wish to become wise, only to be wise, to graduate cum laude.” He thereby drives a wedge between the quest for genuine wisdom and the desire to be academically (and then, of course, socially and economically) successful. To have a vocation, Auden says, is to be in a state of “subjective requiredness”: your vocation is something you are required to do, but the requirement comes from within. You are the one who is called, not necessarily anyone else, and likewise you alone are the discerner of the call. “For this reason Vocational Guidance is a contradiction in terms. The only reasons another can give me why I should adopt this career rather than that are that I should be more successful or happier or it pays better, but such matters are precisely what I must not think about if I am really to find my vocation.”