Psychological success: When the career is a calling


  • This is a revised and expanded version of a contribution to the symposium, ‘Unpacking and Reconceptualizing Career Success’, Peter Heslin, Chair, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Denver, August 12, 2002.


This article has the dual purpose of expanding an understanding of the relationship between subjective and objective careers, and describing one condition under which the subjective career takes on particular salience: when the person feels a sense of calling in his or her career (that is, a sense of purpose, that this is the work one was meant to do.) This sense of calling does not necessarily have to be connected to a set of religious beliefs. We present a model of psychological success based on the career as a calling in order to clarify relationships between the subjective and objective career, and we offer propositions related to the model. Further, we offer a case study to illustrate the notion of the career as a calling, as proposed in the model. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.