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Vocation vs. Occupation: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Vocation refers to a person's calling or profound inclination towards a particular type of work, whereas occupation is one's actual employed position or job.
Vocation vs. Occupation

Key Differences

Vocation is often seen as a deeper, more personal calling or passion towards a certain type of work or career path. It implies a strong sense of suitability and fulfillment in the chosen field. Occupation, on the other hand, refers to the specific job or profession a person is engaged in, regardless of personal fulfillment or passion. It's more about the practical aspect of employment.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
Vocation involves an inner conviction, a sense of destiny or purpose in a specific area of work. This concept often carries an emotional or spiritual connotation, suggesting that the work is part of one’s identity. Occupation, conversely, is a more neutral term, describing the work one does to earn a living. It may or may not align with one's vocation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
Vocation can exist without remuneration; it's about what one feels called to do, sometimes even in a voluntary or altruistic capacity. It's closely linked with personal satisfaction and contribution to society. Occupation is typically associated with paid employment, focusing on the practical aspect of providing for oneself and potentially for a family.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
A person’s vocation might not always be their current occupation. For instance, one may have a vocation for artistic pursuits but work in a different occupation for practical reasons. Here, the vocation remains a significant part of their identity, even if it's not their occupation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
Vocation often implies a long-term commitment to a particular field or type of work, driven by personal passion or perceived importance. In contrast, an occupation can be more transient, changing as one moves through different jobs or career phases. Occupation is more about the role, while vocation is about the individual’s inner calling.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A person's life's calling or strong inclination towards a particular type of work.
The job or profession in which one is currently employed.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Emphasis

On personal fulfillment and passion.
On practical employment and earning a living.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Duration

Often lifelong and deeply integrated into one's identity.
Can change over time, depending on circumstances.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Financial Aspect

May or may not involve remuneration.
Primarily associated with paid work.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Nature

More aligned with inner convictions and purpose.
More focused on societal role and responsibilities.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
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Vocation and Occupation Definitions

Vocation

A person's innate desire or calling to a particular type of work.
Teaching is not just a job for her, it’s her vocation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Occupation

The act of holding a position or job.
Her occupation in the finance sector was challenging yet rewarding.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Vocation

A career or occupation that one is particularly suited to and passionate about.
His vocation as a doctor was evident from his empathetic approach to patients.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Occupation

A regular activity or job that a person does to earn money.
He changed his occupation from lawyer to teacher to pursue his passion.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Vocation

An occupation that aligns with one's talents and is pursued with passion.
Writing was more than a hobby; it was his true vocation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
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Occupation

A particular way of spending time, especially in terms of work.
Carpentry is not just his occupation, but also a hobby.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Vocation

A life’s work or mission, often implying a sense of higher purpose.
He viewed his research in renewable energy as a vocation, not just a job.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Occupation

An activity that serves as one's regular source of livelihood; a vocation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

A regular occupation, especially one for which a person is particularly suited or qualified.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

An activity engaged in especially as a means of passing time; an avocation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

An inclination or aptness for a certain kind of work
A vocation for medicine.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The act or process of holding or possessing a place.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

(Theology) A calling of an individual by God, especially for a religious career.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The state of being held or possessed.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

An inclination to undertake a certain kind of work, especially a religious career; often in response to a perceived summons; a calling.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

An occupation for which a person is suited, trained or qualified.
Nursing is a vocation, which many people find horrendous.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

A call; a summons; a citation; especially, a designation or appointment to a particular state, business, or profession.
What can be urged for them who not having the vocation of poverty to scribble, out of mere wantonness make themselves ridiculous?
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

An activity or task with which one occupies oneself; usually specifically the productive activity, service, trade, or craft for which one is regularly paid; a job.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

Destined or appropriate employment; calling; occupation; trade; business; profession.
He would think his service greatly rewarded, if he might obtain by that means to live in the sight of his prince, and yet practice his own chosen vocation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The act, process or state of possessing a place.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

A calling by the will of God.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The control of a country or region by a hostile military and/or paramilitary force.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

The bestowment of God's distinguishing grace upon a person or nation, by which that person or nation is put in the way of salvation; as, the vocation of the Jews under the old dispensation, and of the Gentiles under the gospel.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The act or process of occupying or taking possession; actual possession and control; the state of being occupied; a holding or keeping; tenure; use; as, the occupation of lands by a tenant.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

A call to special religious work, as to the ministry.
Every member of the same [the Church], in his vocation and ministry.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

That which occupies or engages the time and attention.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

The particular occupation for which you are trained
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The principal business of one's life; the principal work by which one earns one's livelihood; vocation; employment; profession; calling; trade; avocation; as, these days many people continue to practice their occupation well into their seventies.
Absence of occupation is not rest.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

A body of people doing the same kind of work
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The principal activity in your life that you do to earn money;
He's not in my line of business
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vocation

A strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.
From a young age, she felt a vocation to help others through social work.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Occupation

The control of a country by military forces of a foreign power
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

Any activity that occupies a person's attention;
He missed the bell in his occupation with the computer game
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The act of occupying or taking possession of a building;
Occupation of a building without a certificate of occupancy is illegal
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The period of time during which a place or position or nation is occupied;
During the German occupation of Paris
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Occupation

The job or profession in which one is currently employed.
Her occupation as a graphic designer keeps her creatively engaged.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Occupation

The state of being employed in a particular role.
Since her occupation in the non-profit sector, she has felt more fulfilled.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is an occupation?

An occupation is the specific job or profession a person holds, primarily to earn a living.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Do people always follow their vocation in their careers?

Not always; practical considerations and circumstances can lead people to pursue careers that do not align with their vocation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Is vocation something one is born with, or can it be discovered later in life?

Vocation can be discovered or embraced at any point in life, not necessarily something one is born with.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Is vocation limited to specific professions or careers?

No, vocation can apply to a wide range of professions, not limited to religious or altruistic fields.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Is an occupation always tied to a person's vocation or calling?

No, an occupation can be a means of earning a living without necessarily reflecting one's vocation or calling.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

What defines a vocation?

A vocation is a person's innate calling towards a particular type of work or career, often associated with personal passion and fulfillment.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Is vocation synonymous with a calling to a higher purpose?

Yes, vocation often implies a calling to a higher purpose or a sense of mission in one's work or life.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Is occupation synonymous with employment?

Yes, occupation and employment are often used interchangeably to refer to a person's work.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Can someone have an occupation they are not passionate about?

Yes, some people may pursue occupations primarily for financial stability, even if they are not passionate about the work.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Can an occupation change frequently throughout one's life?

Yes, people often change occupations several times in their lifetime due to evolving interests and circumstances.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Can vocation change over time?

Yes, a person's vocation can evolve or change as their values, beliefs, and life circumstances change.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Can an occupation be temporary or part-time?

Yes, an occupation can be temporary, part-time, or full-time, depending on the nature of the work.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Can you have multiple occupations simultaneously?

Yes, it is possible to have multiple jobs or occupations at the same time.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Can someone have multiple vocations?

It's possible to have multiple vocations if one feels called to different aspects of life or careers at different times.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Is vocation always associated with a sense of passion or fulfillment?

Vocation often involves a strong sense of passion or fulfillment, but not always.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Is an occupation limited to paid work?

No, an occupation can also refer to unpaid roles or activities that occupy a significant portion of a person's time.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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