Bryan DikOn July 31, 2015, we had a riveting Q&A with Bryan Dik, Associate Professor of Psychology, Colorado State University, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of JobZology, frequent speaker on meaning and other vocational topics, and co-author, Make Your Job a Calling.

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About Make Your Job a Calling

Make_Your_Job_A_CallingDo you have friends, family, or clients who’ve “hated” their jobs, or felt completely stressed out by them? That would not be surprising, given that the latest Gallup poll reports 70 % of Americans fall in this category.

Do you or those you work with envy those people who seem to positively love what they do? While those people go off to work with a sense of joy and purpose, heading back to the office on Monday morning for some people can be an exercise in soul-crushing desperation. “If only we could change jobs,” we tell ourselves, “that would make it better.” But we don’t have the right education . . . or we don’t have enough experience . . . or the economy isn’t right . . . or we can’t afford the risk right now. So we keep going back to that same old unsatisfying job. Yet those caught in difficult work relationships or environments, mind-numbing tasks, or uncomfortable cultures may ultimately experience negative effects–on their other relationships, physical and mental health, and overall life satisfaction.

The wonderful truth, though, is that almost any kind of occupation can offer any one of us a sense of calling. Regardless of where we are in our careers, we can all find joy and meaning in the work we do, from the construction zone flagger who keeps his crew safe to the corporate executive who believes that her company’s products will change the world. In their 2012 book Make Your Job a Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change Your Life at Work, authors Bryan J. Dik and Ryan D. Duffy explore this powerful idea and help the reader navigate the many challenges–both internal and external–that may arise along the pathway to a sense of calling at work.

In four sections, the authors define the idea of calling, review cutting-edge research on the subject, provide practical guidelines for discerning a calling at all stages of work and life, and explore what calling will look like as workplace norms continue to evolve. They also take pains to present a realistic view of the subject by unpacking the perils and challenges of pursuing one’s higher purpose, especially in an uncertain economy.

The inspiring lessons presented will resound with anyone in any line of work and will show how the power of calling can beneficially shape individuals, organizations, and society as a whole.


“Full of practical insights and actionable research findings, Make Your Job a Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change Your Life at Work guides readers in all kinds of jobs through a thoughtful and research-based path to transform their relationship with work. Dik and Duffy have powerfully captured the dynamics of meaning in work in ways that underscore the importance of meaningful work in any job .”–Amy Wrzesniewski, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Yale School of Management

Make Your Job a Calling comes at a most opportune time! As the career development field and its varied professionals reinvent their roles and strategies, demands for career service grows exponentially. Redirecting attention to ‘calling’ offers a critical link to helping clients design their lives. As work has changed, so (must) career interventions. Make Your Job a Calling forges new ground, offers needed hope and advances the field significantly.”–Rich Feller Ph.D. Professor, Colorado State University and President, National Career Development Association

“In this time of economic uncertainty and rapidly changing patterns of work, the search for a meaningful vocation is foremost among major life concerns. Make Your Job a Calling offers an excellent guide to historical and psychological wisdom on how work can be made meaningful. Bryan Dik and Ryan Duffy have written a useful and timely book that should interest all workers today.” –William Damon, Professor, Stanford University, and author of The Path to Purpose: How Young People find their Calling in Life

“For anyone wanting to reflect upon the significance of their work, or to find a vocation better matched to their gifts and passions, Dik and Duffy offer a practical guidebook. Their feast of inspiring stories and cogent evidence points the way to transcendent meaning and increased joy in all varieties of paid and unpaid work.”–David G. Myers, Hope College, author, Psychology, 10th Edition

About Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace:

purpose-and-meaningWork is one of the fundamental experiences of human life. Yet very few of us are lucky enough to find truly fulfilling jobs. In recent decades, as businesses have come to understand the crucial link between happiness and productivity, researchers have focused increasingly on factors such as the nature of the work itself, how well it is suited to the worker, and the ways in which employees can derive meaning and purpose from their work.

In this groundbreaking book, editors Bryan Dik, Zinta Byrne, and Michael Steger have brought together experts in counseling and vocational psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, and the fields of executive coaching and management to investigate how meaningful work can be fostered and sustained throughout a wide range of work environments.

Theoretically-grounded yet filled with practical strategies for the workplace, this book is an important resource for academics, executive consultants, career counselors, human resource professionals, and organizational leaders alike.

About jobZology:

jobzologyFounded by Bryan Dik and another Colorado State Psychologist as well as two business entrepreneurs with backgrounds in engineering, management and business development, jobZology is a “people analytics company” designed to help employers match talent to jobs and culture, to find meaningful jobs for individuals, and to better enable educators to “graduate” students into jobs that fit. The company has strong scientific roots in research and development, and has provisionally patented and trademarked their systems and online tools.

Underlying jobZology’s mission and design is the belief that a company’s success, sustainability and growth are tied directly to how people feel about their jobs–and how meaningful and satisfying those jobs are to them. So matching talent with jobs and company culture becomes critical. For employers, jobZology products scientifically predict how job candidates and employees will fit into jobs and fit with company culture, going above and beyond the existing methods that are currently used to match people to job descriptions to provide a predictive score of how they will fit. That score relates to things like satisfaction, commitment, loyalty and engagement and even performance expectations.

The jobZology™ software provides automated solutions for exploring career pathways so that job seekers find truly satisfying positions–with the best fit. Information from the analytics can be used in counseling existing college students towards a meaningful career choices that will motivate them to graduate. JobZology’s automated solutions have been also designed for colleges and educational institutions to engage prospective students and stay in touch with alumni. In addition, the company offers people analytics, engagement surveys, and measures of culture to fit business needs and provides custom services such as industrial organizational coaching and consulting.

About Psychology of Religion and Workplace Spirituality

psychology-of-religionThis book, the first of a groundbreaking series, provides a solid theoretical and empirical grounding from the psychology of religion and spirituality to the emerging field of workplace spirituality. Leading researchers in the psychology of religion have contributed up-to-date reviews within their areas of expertise to help guide the emergence of this exciting new discipline. Each chapter is written with the workplace researcher in mind.

Not only is important literature from the psychology of religion reviewed, but it is also made relevant to the workplace setting. The religious and spiritual aspects of such topics as meaning making, emotional resilience, sense of calling, coping with stress, occupational health and well-being, and leadership, among others are discussed within the context of work life. Surely researchers interested in workplace spirituality will keep this book, as well as others in the series, within arm’s reach for years to come.


BryanJDikBryan Dik, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from Calvin College in 1998 and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with specialized training in Vocational Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2005. His research is primarily in the area of career development, especially perceptions of work as a calling, the role of faith in career decision-making and planning, career counseling interventions, and measurement of vocational interests.

Bryan has published or currently has in press more than 70 professional articles, and has served on the editorial boards of seven research journals, including Journal of Counseling Psychology, Journal of Vocational Behavior, and Journal of Career Assessment. He is the recipient of the 2010 Early Career Professional Award from the Society for Vocational Psychology. He is co-author of Make Your Job a Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation can Change Your Life at Work (2012, Templeton Press) and is co-editor of two other books, Psychology of Religion and Workplace Spirituality (2012, Information Age) and Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace (2013, APA Books). Bryan teaches courses at CSU in the areas of vocational psychology, personality psychology, and the psychology of religion, and also supervises the career assessment and counseling activities of Ph.D. students in Counseling Psychology.

In addition to his academic and counseling work and frequent speaking engagements, Bryan is a co-founder and Chief Science Officer at jobZology, a company based in Fort Collins. He lives in this Colorado university town with his wife Amy and their four young sons.

Bryan and Amy

resources is Bryan’s site for sharing stories of calling, tools, how-to’s, blog posts, news and research

Resource and Discussion Guide for Make Your Job a Calling, Molloy, K. A., & Dik, B. J. (2014), including blogs, assessment tools, surveys, analytics, and measures, for employers, individuals, and educators

Bryan’s Colorado State University CV, with lists of publications, papers, honors and presentations

Bryan’s key articles on calling:

Dik & Duffy (2009) TCP Calling and vocation at work: definitions and prospects for future directions

Dik, Eldridge, Steger & Duffy (2012) Development of questionnaires on calling and vocation

Duffy & Dik (2013) Research on calling: What have we learned and where are we going?

Book Chapter: Dik & Duffy (2015) APA Handbook.pdf Strategies for discerning and living a calling

How to Craft a More Meaningful Career by Bryan Dik, 1/21/15

Video Clips

Fox News in Denver: JobZology site and Bryan on Make Your Job a Calling (2 min)

Intro to JobZology’s origins and purpose (4 min)

Six short videos about the JobZology process for businesses/employers

JobZology: VIP Portal Career Curriculum Path Guidance (6 min)

Calling and Vocation, article in Vocation Village Review, June 2013

Psychology Today blog: VocationVocationVocation, regular contributor with Ryan Duffy, from 2012

Bryan is listed on as a blog contributor from 2012

From workaholism to work-life balance: Change is within reach (but you’ll have to work for it) . Law Practice Magazine, Dik, B. J., & Schaap, M. J. (Nov./Dec., 2014).

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