Researchers in a variety of academic fields study what it means to discern and live out a calling. Results from these studies are often fascinating, even to people who don’t live in the academic world. in this section of the website, you’ll find some brief summaries of some of the newest, most cutting-edge studies that have been published on calling, with complete citations for those of you who want to check out the full article.
For example: In a recent article, management scholars Shoshana Dobrow and Jennifer Tosti-Kharas studied 450 aspiring amateur musicians who had been admitted to prestigious summer music programs in high school. They surveyed this group of individuals upon admittance to these programs, and then followed up with them 6 weeks, 3 ½ years, and 7 years later. Dobrow and Tosti-Kharas were interested in understanding how feeling called to music was related to being receptive to career advice from knowledgeable mentors. More simply, does feeling called make people more or less likely to take career advice from people who know what they are talking about? This is an important question for aspiring musicians, as it is extremely difficult to attain a full time job in an industry where supply greatly outweighs demand. Interestingly, they found that those with a stronger calling were more likely to ignore career advice, even when this advice concerned the realistic prospects of a career in music. Although in most cases we see having a calling as a good thing, it might also make people so driven that they essentially become blind to the very real difficulties required to “make it” in highly competitive fields, such as music, art, athletics, or acting. This article leads one to ponder: can being too tied to a calling actually be a bad thing? For a complete version of this article, please see the August, 2012 issue of the Journal of Career Assessment.