University of South Florida researcher Michele Gazic's recent study on careers and personal health is generating buzz.

  • Study finds those who don't follow calling reported higher levels of physical, mental health issues
  • Also finds those who haven't found a calling fared as well as those following a calling
  • Researcher offered coping mechanisms for those who are currently unable to pursue calling

Specifically, her study examines the life, job, and health-related experiences of those who pursue their occupational calling. She also examined the lives of those who haven’t yet discovered their calling.

Gazica’s study was published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior.

“Literature today shows that people with a calling have better outcomes, such as work well-being, as well as physical and mental well-being. There was no study to see what happens when people can’t pursue their calling, so that’s why I thought it was needed, “ explained Gazica.

A total of 378 professors nationwide completed the online survey. Gazica asked them questions about their health and well-being. She looked at those who had a calling and were following it, those who had a calling and didn’t go after it, and those who didn’t have a calling at all.

“We found that, as expected, those who were pursuing their calling did have better work outcomes,” Gazica reported. “They were more engaged, more involved, and less likely to leave their jobs. Those who had no calling to a particular occupation at all fared just as well as those who had an answered calling. So they didn’t have any type of physical or mental health detriments that differed from those with answered callings."

Gazica said those who had a calling but weren’t pursuing it experienced some serious side effects.

“Higher levels of fatigue, back aches, stomach pains. When we’re talking about mental well-being, we’re talking about depression, anxiety, and irritation. So those who had a calling and couldn’t pursue it reported higher levels of those symptoms,” Gazica said.

Gazica understands not everyone can quit their job. She offered coping mechanisms.

“You might be able to pursue your calling outside of work, leisure activities, volunteer work, as well as what we call job crafting, which is bringing parts of your calling into your current job.”

Gazica hopes people will pay attention to this study and develop the courage to stop settling and instead, go after their dreams.

Next, Gazica plans to examine how people develop a calling over time.