In an effort to help individuals excel professionally and personally, Paul Sohn, director of the calling and career initiative at Biola University’s Crowell School of Business, designed a retreat to help those who feel stuck and conflicted about their calling and profession, especially during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Online Calling Retreat features 25 world-renowned leaders including two Biola professors, Jake Aguas, professor of management and Dr. Arianna Molloy, professor of communication studies.
Here, Paul elaborates on how he began caring for those in this disposition and how his calling to equip others has developed.
When did you discover that your own personal calling is to inspire others to find their calling in life?
Thomas Merton said, “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” I experienced that moment in my twenties when I got into my dream job working for a Fortune 50 company. Everything looked good on the surface, but deep inside I felt miserable. I officially hit my "quarter-life crisis." I realized I wasn't alone. In fact, this question of calling and purpose was a real struggle with many people in my generation. That's when God led me on a journey to wrestle with my own sense of calling and guide others to discover their own.
As the Director of the Calling and Career Initiative at Biola, how do you help students at Biola understand their calling from a biblical and professional perspective?
At the Crowell School of Business, I am spearheading an effort to create an integrated roadmap of the student's calling and career journey. I work with both faculty, staff and students to design strategic interventions, including workshops, new course content, new business clubs, and mentoring programs. Our vision is to raise up the next generation of marketplace leaders who live out their kingdom calling.
What were your initial thoughts about the pandemic and its effects on career development?
At the outset, I thought this wouldn't be an issue. We could simply "get through" for the next few weeks if not, a few months. But I realized this could be turning into an economic and cultural blizzard. The pandemic has fundamentally disrupted our status quo. More people have been unemployed and started to recognize the brevity of life, raising questions like "What is my calling and purpose? "How do I live a meaningful life?" This has profound implications on career development. I believe we need to provide people with not only tools and skills to find their careers, but most importantly help them to see their career as their calling. If you know your why, you can persist through the what and how.
What kind of content can users expect to receive during the Online Calling Retreat?
The Online Calling Retreat is a virtual retreat that provides practical and biblical insights from 20 plus world-renowned speakers and thought-leaders on how to discover and live out your calling in the workplace. Consider the Online Calling Retreat as a unique combination of the NETFLIX of calling and career content and DIY retreat style where you can get on-demand access to the library of videos.
If you could leave a piece of advice for students or adults searching for their calling what would it be?
First, I would say, your calling isn't from you. Calling is from the Caller. Second, calling isn't for you. Calling is primarily about serving God's kingdom. Third, your calling isn't your job. In fact, your calling precedes and outlives your job. It's a much bigger concept than just a job.
Written by Joy Blea, media relations intern. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, assistant director of strategic communications and media relations, at email@example.com.