Vocational wellness is one of the interconnected dimensions of the LIVE WELL with Eight at State program. LIVE WELL with Eight at State is designed to support healthy living for Illinois State University students, staff, and faculty. The Eight at State initiative emphasizes a holistic approach to well-being through the intentional focus on eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational.

Vocational wellness, also called occupational wellness, is defined as the ability to achieve personal satisfaction and fulfillment from our work whether that be academic work while in college or a job after graduation. Vocational wellness requires maintaining a balance in our lives and making a positive impact within the organizations where we work and the communities where we live. Optimal vocational wellness means matching your core values with your interests, hobbies, employment, internships, volunteer activities, and community service. This allows us to express our talents, passion, and personal values in the workplace.

Vocational wellness checklist

Ask yourself, how vocationally well are you? We spend the majority of the week at work or in school, and for many, obligations spill out beyond the 40-hour obligation. Therefore, enjoying your work as much as possible should be a priority. Vocational wellness is about your perception, attitude, outlook, and reaction to the work you take part in. A vocationally well person selects an occupation that utilizes their strengths and skills and aligns with their interests and values. Vocationally well individuals strive to balance work and non-work obligations and activities, including learning how to say “no” to maintain that balance.

If you find yourself feeling unenthusiastic about your workday, take a look at what areas of your occupation may be affecting your well-being. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

  • I am happy with my career.
  • I look forward to work.
  • My job responsibilities are consistent with my values.
  • My job gives me personal satisfaction and stimulation.
  • I am happy with the personal and professional growth opportunities in my career.
  • My job allows me to make a difference in the world.

Setting your vocational wellness goals

Develop vocational wellness goals and strive to achieve optimal vocational wellness.  

  • Increase your awareness of the variety of major/career opportunities available to you.
  • Explore your interests, skills, values, and needs and how they relate to your major/career choice.
  • Choose a major/career direction that reflects your values, interests, and skills.
  • Understand the relationship between your major/career choice and other parts of your life (family, spouse/partner, leisure activities, friends).
  • Recognize that many people change their major in college and their career paths throughout their lives.
  • Challenge societal gender roles and other barriers that limit major/career choices.

When it comes to your vocational wellness remember to put yourself first. Your mental health should be a top priority. Make sure that your work grants you the personal satisfaction and enrichment that you need to flourish. The first job you received upon graduating college might not be your dream job, but you can use your experiences to discover your passion. Once you discover your passion you will be able to relentlessly pursue your goals and express yourself freely.

Support available to assist you with your vocational wellness

“In Career Services, we are here and ready to help students understand and achieve vocational wellness. We can assist students in the process of self-reflection to hone in on their values and interests. We empower students to have confidence in their skills, experiences, and the value they can bring to their communities and any industry they choose to work within. We understand that our students are making critical life decisions, and we want them to know that the team in Career Services can assist with every step of their career development process to be sure they are holistically well and ready to do the work they are called to do.” —Career Services Associate Director of Student Relations Quanisha Kumi-Darfour  

The path to optimal vocational wellness is a journey of discovery. You might know exactly what you want to do, don’t know where to start, or maybe you want to change course entirely. Career Services can assist you.