Finding your calling is worth the effort, say the experts. According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, it can help you live longer. Lead researcher Patrick Hill of Carleton University in Canada says the research has clear implications for promoting positive aging and adult development.
Though I didn’t fully understand why until recently, my work has always been a calling — first as a journalist and then later as an executive recruiter. I have always felt compelled to do what I do.
As a teenager, I was inextricably drawn to television news. I knew I didn’t want to get stuck working in the same office every day. I longed for the kind of travel and adventure detailed in CBS correspondent Eric Severeid’s book Not So Wild a Dream. I wanted to witness history in the making first hand.
While I didn’t realize it at the time, there was another deeper motivation that drove me.
Shortly after starting work as a reporter at KTVI-TV in St. Louis, I started reporting on nursing home fraud. I met confused and frail elderly victims whose life savings had been stolen by nursing homes owned by the mob as in the Mafia. While covering congressional hearings on organized crime, I met a newspaper reporter who introduced me to investigative journalism — uncovering and reporting on closely held and difficult to obtain information. It was then I realized this form of reporting held the power to right wrongs and, actually, to save lives.
And still I didn’t fully understand what drew me to reporting.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered the wonders of computer-assisted journalism. It could prove wrongdoing that had previously been impossible to nail down. For some twenty years, I broke award-winning stories that made a difference.
I did it by uncovering secrets.
Then I left reporting to found an executive search firm, a new career that leveraged all my investigative skills. I found searching for the perfect candidate incredibly rewarding.
All along the way, my work has been a calling. It has resonated deep within me like I was meant to do this. Then one day, I realized why.
I am an adult adoptee.
My adoption records are sealed by the court in California.
While I was growing up — though it was natural for a child to wonder — I never knew who my birth parents were. I never knew the story of how I came to be, what my birth was like, or why I was given up for adoption. My birth certificate is amended. Though it is not true, it lists my adoptive parents as the ones that gave birth to me.
In my early twenties, I spent 2 years searching for my birth parents and I found them. It was a good thing. Moreover, I believe it essential for health reasons to update one’s familial medical history.
But that experience explains why uncovering secrets and searching for people has been so incredibly rewarding as a journalist and as an executive recruiter.
I was meant to do this.
In my personal life, I am involved in the adoption reform movement: we are the only class of Americans denied our original birth certificates, access to our own heritage, and to current medical histories.
For the reasons above, my work has been a calling. What has your work experience been like? How does it speak to who you are?