Calling & Career Office
CCO Mission: The Mission of the Calling and Career Office is to connect students to people and experiences that guide them in discerning a faithful response to God’s call.
Core Values: The fulfillment of our mission is guided by our four core values that are practices we encourage students to engage in discerning a faithful response:
- Imagination—Choose to Think
- Risk—Learn through Failure
- Collaboration—Seek Connection
- Truth—Ground your Convictions
Tables Instead of Ladders
A letter from the Director, Dr. Jeff Aupperle
Why work? Answering this question is the heart of how we serve students in the Calling and Career Office at Taylor University. God’s Word has a lot to say about work, and we don’t have to go very far—it is right at the very beginning of the story in the Book of Genesis. In Genesis 2:15, we read that “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Just a little bit later in the story, we read the part about the forbidden fruit and how sin entered the world, but we’re still in the creation narrative when we discover the first mention of work. This is a really important idea: Work existed before the fall. It is a good idea from a good God.
Work is all too often presented to us with the image of a ladder. We start our careers at the bottom and with each grueling step we keep going up and to the right, and eventually if we work hard enough there will be a bountiful retirement at the end. I think God has a different idea. Work was always intended to be a collaborative endeavor, a means for us to know Him and know one another. One way to think of this is that our work is more like building tables than ladders.
The mission of the Calling and Career Office (CCO) is to connect students to people and experiences that guide them in discerning a faithful response to God’s call. The fulfillment of our mission is guided by our four core values: Imagination, Risk, Collaboration and Truth. These values serve as aspirations in our shared work and reminders of what we seek to accomplish with the students entrusted to our care. The 2019 Taylor University Alumni Survey revealed that the CCO received its highest satisfaction rating in the history of this important assessment. The satisfaction rate has increased 21 percentage points overall since 2012, including a ten percentage point increase in the last three years! As I reflect on the mission and values that lead each annual report, I’m deeply grateful for the positive feedback we are hearing from alumni who benefited from the work of our team.
In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport (2016) describes a shift of mindset that we seek to express in the education of our students. Newport posits, “If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (what can the world offer me?) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (what can I offer the world?). Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before. In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.”
So, instead of building ladders, let’s build tables: not focused on getting ahead of others but on getting to know others. Approaching work as an opportunity to know God and others better, establishing the kind of relationships that will be a part of an eternal kingdom. After all, the value of our work is not in what we make but in what it makes of us.
All the best,
Associate Dean Calling and Career
- PhD, Educational Leadership & Administration, Indiana State University
- MA, Higher Education & Student Development, Taylor University
- BA, Christian Ministries, Bethel University