However, since I’m very conscientious about spreading my germs, I’ve been doing a good deal of ‘home’ work….I’ve been baking/candy making here at my home….with cooking gloves!! I love to cook and I love to make candies/cookies at the holidays. I was only going to do a ‘few’ candies this year but the fervor got the best of me and I tried candies that I had never attempted before….caramels from scratch. Today I made two (2) types of caramels; one a 105 year old recipe from a southern cookbook that used an entire pound of butter, a can of sweetened, condensed milk and lots of other types of sugar. The second type that I made used goat’s milk, among other ingredients…with a sprinkling of sea salt on the finished caramel….my sense of taste has evaporated in the past week so I called and invited a friend over to do a tasting…she loves both of them.
Many years ago I considered purchasing a business in central New Jersey, where I was living at the time. It was a catering business with a ‘kitchen’ or ‘gourmet food’ store front in a prosperous, small town. I debated for a good while, visiting the shop regularly…having breakfast, lunch and dinner with the owner….in the long run, I decided against it. I loved to cook…and I still do. I love to create in the kitchen; it is my artistic outlet but I was afraid that if I took something that I loved and made it my profession, I might lose interest. Not a good reason at the time but it was valid to me. I’ve re-thought that decision many times. I think of all the small ‘food’ businesses that existed years ago but no longer exist now….I don’t regret my decision but sometimes I think that I would love to be ‘creating in the kitchen’ every once in a while. I also feel that if I were in a different socioeconomic class, I may have been able to do both….it would have been nice to have had an income (or bank account) that afforded me the luxury of building up a ‘retail’ type of business in the food industry.
The dictionary definition of ‘vocation’ is a calling, an occupation, or a large undertaking for which one is especially suited. It can be roughly synonymous with career or profession, though vocation connotes a seriousness or a commitment that these words don’t bear. An ‘avocation’ is something done in addition to one’s vocation….usually a hobby. Both are rooted in the Latin vocare, meaning to call. In its early English use, vocation usually had religious implications. One who had a vocation was called by God toward a certain line of work, often the priesthood. The word was in use without the religious overtones as early as the 16th century, and today it is commonly used both religious callings and secular ones. In avocation, the prefix a-, is shortened from ab-, which means away, so, considered etymologically, an avocation is a calling away.
With an ‘avocation’…one normally engages in a hobby outside one’s main occupation….hence my cooking….creating in the kitchen, so to speak. There are many examples of people whose professions were the ways that they made their livings, but for whom their activities outside of their workplaces were their true passions in life. Occasionally, a person who pursues an avocation is more remembered by history for their avocation than for their professional career….like Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting who was a military officer…. sometimes, there are famous people who have avocations where they excel….and the general public is surprised to learn….Did you know that Geena Davis is an archer? ….in fact, she competed to obtain a spot in the 2000 summer Olympics for the United States. Did you know that Bradley Cooper is a highly regarded and respected pool player? Jeri Ryan is an actress by profession but is a chef by avocation; she is married to a French chef….they opened a restaurant together in Los Angeles years ago…finally closed it to move to the south of France….she ran the restaurant while filming Body of Proof among other acting pursuits….
A few of the more impressionable figures from a vocation/avocation perspective are Hedi Lamarr…the average person does not realize that this famous actress was an inventor and has been inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame. She was very instrumental in discovering our present day Wireless capabilities…or William Carlos Williams, the Poet…was a Pediatrician…writing poetry was an avocation for him. JP Getty, the oilman was famous as an Art Collector. One of the more famous individuals is Copernicus….he was a Roman Catholic cleric who practiced Astronomy as a hobby.
Looking at one’s avocation is helpful for young students when they are trying to decide which ‘career’ to pursue…more on that in another Blog…however, I would like to state now that hobbies and avocations should be given serious consideration when trying to determine a career path. Take a look at all the successful entrepreneurs that the ‘website’ Etsy has produced….it is a joy to watch these artists ‘grow’.
I love Human Resources…the good, the bad and the ugly…and I’ve seen it all. I’m glad that I chose the Human Resources field as my career/profession…but, every once in a while when I’m stirring that sugar and dairy or I’m researching the history of Beef Stroganoff, I wonder if I could have been happier working with and around food all day long….I can honestly say that I would probably be a great deal heavier….
If you would like to discuss vocations vs avocations and how to pursue either…or if you would like a presentation for your staff, please contact me, Rosanne Bennett at SCB Services, LLC at 484-798-1236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.