Russian Students’ Secular Conceptions of Life Calling: A Qualitative Analysis
Background. During the last decade, life calling has become an areas of dynamically developing research in psychology, management, and counseling. However, it has not been empirically investigated in Russia, despite Russia’s rich intellectual and spiritual tradition, and abundant research on related constructs, such as personal meaning.
Objective. The aim of the present study is an initial qualitative exploration of the concept of calling in Russian culture.
Design. We employed qualitative document analysis to examine openended responses from 104 college students regarding their definition of calling, and the actions they undertook to discern and implement that calling.
Results. We found that the students saw a calling as something more than a mere job; were intrinsically motivated to find and dedicate themselves to it; associated a calling with the use of their abilities; and at the same time expected it to make them more energized and successful without considerable effort. While some participants felt called to a specific domain, the majority indicated abstract other or self-oriented callings. Regarding the implementation of their calling, the participants fell into two groups: those who did something specific, such as study and practice, and those who did something vague, such as “everything” or “nothing”.
Conclusion. These results are largely in line with similar findings in other cultures. The results can be used in career guidance in educational institutions, as well as in private counseling. Specific recommendations for practice, as well as directions for future research, are explored.