The Sense of Vocation

A Study of Career and Life Development

By Larry Cochran

Subjects: Psychology
Paperback : 9780791402467, 222 pages, July 1990
Hardcover : 9780791402450, 222 pages, July 1990

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Table of contents



1. Repetition and Rhythm

2. The Birth of Yearning: Rhythm of Incompletion

3. Cultivation of Being: Rhythm of Positioning

4. Work of Life: Rhythm of Positing

5. Phases of Life in Work

6. Fulfillment of Being: Rhythm of Comletion

7. The Rhythm of Life




Larry Cochran examines the meaning of a sense of vocation as it is lived over the course of a life. By studying more than twenty autobiographies of people who clearly had a mission in life, the author identifies commonalities and weaves them into a general story or plot. The common story involves a detailed description of four phases of life from childhood through old age. It illustrates how a significant form that unifies desire arises in youth, how individuals transform themselves to adopt a meaningful role in a drama, how a work of life develops, and how a sense of vocation culminates. Thus, the book is important as a descriptive answer to the question of what makes life meaningful. It provides a paradigm case of career at its best.

Larry Cochran is a Professor at University of British Columbia in the Department of Counseling Psychology.


"The author does an excellent job of providing insights and flashes of recognition in the creative and original way in which he uses autobiographical materials to illustrate his points and show patterning across lives. It is also a pioneering attempt to build on new and more open views to the philosophy of science to extend the frontiers of knowledge about the meaning of work in human lives." — Donald H. Blocher, Professor of Counseling Psychology, State University of New York, Albany