Vocation and freedom in a “free market” economy

Certain presuppositions seem to be embedded in our culture’s general approach to vocation. It is generally assumed that the goal of making vocational decisions is doing what one wants to do. This need not be understood in a crass and shallow way; “what one wants” could be, for example, serving the downtrodden. Nevertheless, discerning what one wants to do is generally understood as the first step in vocational decision.

The second step is assessing what one is able to do; not everyone who wants to make a living as an NFL quarterback or a novelist is able to do so, for a variety of reasons. It is generally understood, however, that having more choices is better than having fewer choices.  The ideal is to be able to say to someone “You can do anything you want.” The telos or goal of vocational decision is thereby seen as being “chosen,” rather than given from outside the person.

These presuppositions need questioning, first of all with respect to their origins. We need to look at Continue reading