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The Calling

Is it ever too late to answer it?

by Florinda Pendley Vasquez  |  1436 views  |  3 comments  |        Rate this now! 

This was in a recent e-mail from a longtime friend of mine:

I have read some of your blogs. I need to catch up. I even left comments so you would know I had been there...

You truly missed your calling. You are a very good writer. Funny, thought provoking, and visual.

I appreciated the complimentary feedback, and I know her well enough to know that she wouldn't have said it if it wasn't really what she thought. And I know it's just one of those things people say when they discover an unexpected interest or talent, but I keep thinking about that "missed your calling" comment.

Maybe I didn't hear the calling before. Maybe I ignored it. Maybe I just didn't feel like I could answer it. But if it's getting through now, do I really have to "miss" it, or is there still time to answer?

I'm not sure I always had this particular calling - when I was younger, I gravitated more toward drawing than writing. I loved reading and played around with writing stories, but felt more inclined toward art. However, neither seemed to be "practical" in the sense that it could provide a decent living, and I was oriented toward practicality. I was quite sure I'd go to college, and believed that my education there needed to prepare me directly for a career. My decision to major in accounting was largely driven by the belief that it was an area in which I'd always be able to find a job. And while that's turned out to be true, and I'm good at my work, I've spent twenty years building a career that I just don't love.

I took a technical-writing class as a college elective, and was pleasantly surprised to find I was pretty good at it - and I liked it. As I advanced in my accounting career, writing opportunities sometimes came my way - policies-and-procedures documentation, budget narratives and analysis reports, training instructions; I enjoyed that as well, and I got good feedback on what I produced. I also was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn't bad at editing other people's writing, either; I've been the unofficial staff ghostwriter at a couple of my jobs. But writing is not a primary part of my job, and in accounting, it's unlikely it ever will be.

I've kept journals on and off over the years, but my blog is my first sustained writing effort. I've been able to explore a variety of subjects, and have found that I'm capable of writing a pretty decent essay. At first, I assumed I was writing just for myself, but as I've begun to participate more in the blogger community, readers have slowly found their way there, and I like that very much.

About the Author

Florinda is a wife, mother, stepmother, blogger, and accountant employed by a Southern California nonprofit agency.

Read more by Florinda Pendley Vasquez

3 comments so far...

  • In second grade my father gave me his massive Smith-Corona typewriter and it was instant love. The same when I got on my first Mac in 1986. It still amazes me that I can type with my fingers and words come out of the machine. I wrote obsessively as a child. I carried around notebooks like Harriet the Spy. In middle school I wrotes medieval adventure stories with my classmates as characters-- the pages were read as they were produced and passed around and the story followed like a serial. My teachers told me I should be a journalist, my mother said I would be a famous novelist...nobody noticed that what I was really into was the research and the actual mechanics of writing. It wasn't until I started creating websites and writing content for them that I realized that I love to write technical articles, how-to pieces, non-fiction. My biggest calling in life is not writing, however much I love it; it is as lay psychologist. Since I was very small people have felt comfortable telling me their problems. I thought I might go into counseling psychology (like my dad), but after talking to many people in the field who were completely burned out on helping people, I decided not to go into it formally, but to practice something I call "guerilla love", that is, active listening and support to whomever I meet who seems to need it, on the spot. This way, as it wouldn't be a job, I couldn't get burned out on what I felt was my most important calling. My writing and career as an editor have led me to a place ( the editing office of a graduate institute) where I can indulge my passion for words and my abality to create a space in which people feel compfortable being themselves.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KatieK on 24th October 2007

  • funny that you say everyone else here inspires you - i found THIS piece very inspiring!! i am also of the 'practical' thought and chose the 'safe' career while looking whistfully at friends who made the brave leap into something else. i like your idea of answering your calling AND keeping your day job! i think that is the type of risk i can handle! thank you!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kate on 22nd October 2007

  • Florinda,
    I just want to tell you how glad I am that you've shared this and how much I agree with your friend - I think you are a wonderful writer. I really relate to what you say - I love to write (I don't know how great I am at it, but I love it. I think I love it so much because English is my second language and it was so hard for me to learn it - hard work brought good results and I cherish that.) I am the main breadwinner in the family so as much as I might want to just be a writer, I know I can't. But I've tried to not let that go - I've written a book, I write a lot for the site, and some fiction for myself when I can steal some time. I find it fulfilling and I hope that you will continue to make time for your passion - here at Work It, Mom! I can say that we are beyond thrilled that you've found it!:)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 21st October 2007

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