Vocational wellness is sometimes referred to as occupational wellness, but the term vocation is more inclusive.

A vocation is a calling that expresses who you are—which may or may not happen in a job. Your vocation encompasses interests, hobbies, and volunteer work as well as your job or school work. But perhaps most importantly, vocation includes a tie to personal values.

Vocational wellness can be nurtured by matching what’s most important in your life, otherwise known as your core values, with your interests, hobbies, academics, employment, and volunteer work. As you uncover your talents and passions, you experience a higher level of self-expression and overall happiness. People who are attentive to vocational wellness are able to find balance between study, work, and home and be fully present in whatever they are doing.

Where do you stand?

We spend approximately one-third of our day either in class or at work. We need to make sure that this time is satisfying as possible, or that we’re finding personal satisfaction in other ways. A tool to help analyze whether we have the greatest impact possible on our vocation is to conduct a personal SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

  • Strengths are your internal, positive attributes and selling points. Examples include positive personality traits such as optimism, hard-working, and ethical; your education and training; strong personal and professional networks; and a passion for your field. You have control over these and can work to include new areas.
  • Weakness are your internal negative attributes such as poor time management, lack of experience, lack of direction or focus, and little or no networks. You have control over your weaknesses and can work to improve certain areas.
  • Opportunities are uncontrollable external events that you can potentially leverage for your gain. Examples include favorable industry trends, specific job openings, an upcoming project or conference, professional development opportunities, and chances to expand your network.
  • Threats are uncontrollable external factors that may work against you and require you to take protective action. Examples include changing job markets, evolving technologies, emergence of a competitor, reduced demand for skills, and changing professional standards. An external factor can sometimes be both a threat and an opportunity.

Take a few minutes to conduct your own SWOT analysis.

  1. Draw a large square on a piece of paper and divide into four smaller squares.
  2. Dedicate one square to each component of SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Stretch yourself to really come up with comprehensive lists.
  3. Analyze what it all means. A SWOT analysis can help you validate your current position or direction you are headed in. It can also help you understand skills you have and highlight areas you would like to work one.
  4. Determine any possible actions you wish to take.
  5. Revisit and update your SWOT analysis often to reflect any personal or professional changes.

Vocational wellness and personal values

As mentioned before, vocational wellness is closely tied to personal values. You are likely subconsciously aware of your core values, but perhaps never have taken time to list them out. Complete this brief activity to identify your core values.

  1. Think of a time(s) you felt completely fulfilled. What about this situation or situations made you feel content? Your core values were being expressed.
  2. Think about a time(s) you felt completely annoyed. What about this situation or situations made you feel irritated. Odds are, your personal values were not being honored in this situation.
  3. From the above situations, write down five core values you identified. Try to list them in order of importance.
  4. Additional questions to ask yourself:
  • In what areas of your life are you expressing your personal values?
  • Is there one or more areas in your life when your core values are violated?
  • What additional activities could you incorporate into your life that would support your core values?
  • Do you feel happy, creative, and innovative? Are there areas of your life that nurture these feelings more than others?
  • Are there certain individuals in your life that do not respect your core values? What can you do about this?

View additional vocational wellness resources online.

Join SEVEN and discover wellness at Illinois State

Challenge yourself to make YOU a priority! SEVEN is a free program from Health Promotion and Wellness for students, faculty, and staff that focuses on the importance of the seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environment, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational. SEVEN runs from September to the end of April, and you can join at any time. Log wellness activities to earn points toward monthly prize drawings. Participants also receive the SEVEN newsletter and information on campus wellness events.

For more information, visit Wellness.IllinoisState.edu/Seven.