Finding Your Calling and How I Found Mine
Last updated Mar 14, 2021
by Krista Bradford

Finding Your Calling and Living Longer


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.


Connect the Dots of Your Career

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.

Although I didn’t fully understand why until recently, my work has always been a calling. I have always felt compelled to do what I do.


Uncovering Closely Held Secrets

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 a career in 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 closely held secrets.


Searching for the Perfect Candidate

Eventually, 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 strangely compelling. Executives and technologists who work hard to become the best-of-the-best deserve to be found and rewarded for their good efforts. No one’s light should remain hidden under a bushel.

When I became a reporter and then a recruiter, I didn’t realize my underlying motivation.  But in looking back, a common thread emerged, explaining why my work has always felt like a calling.


I am an adult adoptee

My birth certificate lists my adoptive parents as if they had given birth to me. It is an amended certificate, and patently untrue. My adoption records and birth records are sealed by the court in California. While I was growing up — though it is 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.

In my early twenties, I spent 2 years searching for my birth parents and, ultimately, I found them. It was a good thing. I enabled me to update my familial medical history. In fact, my birth father informed me that abdominal aortic aneurysms run in the family and advised I get screened. That’s because if that kind of aneurysm bursts, you bleed out in a couple of minutes. Don’t even bother calling 911. I was screened and given a clean bill of health. Still, that example underscores how critically important it is for us adoptees to know from whence we came.

My adoption journey 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.

Restoring the Rights of Adult Adoptees

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 our current medical histories.

 I am lucky to have been able to find my calling and would be interested to learn how you’ve found yours or whether you’re still on your journey to find it.


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