This week in class we talked about a piece in class titled, “Vocation in Work”, written by Dorothy L. Sayers during World War 2. Sayers is writing in the Post-Christian era where one of the main debates is whether a job is still considered a vocation. One way that she interprets this issue is by analyzing an artist’s viewpoint on vocation. An artist “lives to work” in opposition to working for the money, otherwise known as working to live. In other words, she suggests that sometimes there is working for a job, but our calling is rather to do what we enjoy when we are not doing our job. The artist is an example of those who live to work. They are not merely working for the money, they are rather working for the security to live while they make what they truly want. Artists need the money, not in order to live, but rather in order to work more on what they love to do. For those who must “work to live,” Sayers suggests that leisure time is their opportunity to do what they love. This ties into her ideas on leisure and how humanity continues to create more leisure time through time saving devices. She criticizes society for making time, just to spend it in “idleness” or “passive” activities.
Throughout her writing, she discusses her dislike of communism because it makes working for material gain into the ultimate definition of what it means to be human. Genesis 1:27 states, “God made man in his own image — in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Seeing as she loves the idea of the artist living to work, she would rather see people doing what they enjoy instead of what money they will receive for doing certain jobs. Sayers writes, ” To assume… that economics is the sole basis of man’s dealings with nature and with his fellow-men is the very negation of all Christian principle” (Callings, 407).
I found her writing and ideas very intriguing, especially coming from a family where we find leisure very important because we often don’t get very much of it. I also notice that often I only enjoy a certain type of leisure where I am relaxing in my own way that doesn’t consist of just sitting around. I would rather be doing something that helps others or even meaningful time with family and friends. With the language that she used, I kept imagining myself building something useful during my free time, especially when she says that people are created to create, just as God has created us and how that correlates with my life. When I say build stuff, I mean that I enjoy feeling accomplished, that I have done a good job and done something that is useful to others. That is where I totally agree with her ideas that people should feel like their work has meaning. How can people work to the best of their abilities if they do not enjoy what they are doing? The issue that I do have with her ideas about work, is that there should be that balance between work and home. I feel like I get just as much out of spending time with my family as I do when I am accomplishing something important. Family is important, and they influence what my calling in life is just as much as I do myself.