According negative impact on well-being. The individual

According to Wrzesniewski et al.
(1997), a calling is defined as an occupation that “an individual (1) feels
drawn to pursue, (2) expects to be intrinsically enjoyable and meaningful, and
(3) sees it as a central part of his or her identity”. Therefore, by undergoing
a calling, one could expect to enjoy greater psychological benefits such as
happiness and energy, together with higher job objectives and performance. Work-related
callings and feelings of passion are importantly correlated. In other words,
both provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment to one’s life. Individuals experiencing
such a revelation are intrinsically motivated to pursue professional activities
for which they have strong emotional inclinations, worth their time and energy
(Vallerand et al., 2003). Drawing from Van Gogh’s biography, the “mad genius”
turned to art as a way to express his deepest meaning of life, after failing to
find significance in ministry. He entered his new career, not like an
individual embracing an ordinary profession, but as one who accepts a spiritual
calling, “I feel a certain indebtedness to the world and … out of
gratitude, want to leave some souvenir in the shape of drawings or pictures –
not made to please a certain taste in art, but to express a sincere feeling.”
(Extract from a letter to his sister Wilhelmina, 1889). Surprisingly, even if
Van Gogh converted himself to painter, responded to his calling and enthused to
produce masterpieces, such facts did not lead to sustain a psychological well-being.
This dilemma will form part of our analysis.


To associate the passion with the calling
notion, Vallerand et al. (2003) have developed a model that focuses on the
dualistic characteristic in passion, the obsessive and harmonious, distinguishing
how the fervent activity is internalized into one’s identity. The obsessive has a negative impact on well-being.
 The individual feels pressured to engage in the activity that he views as
important and enjoyable. The passion for the activity ends up controlling the
person which ultimately leads to strain. This form of passion is
positively correlated with “situational negative affect”, summarized as
feelings of irritability, anger
fear, guilt and additional unpleasant emotions (Watson, Clark, &
Tellegen, 1988).

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Harmonious passion, on the other
hand, arises from “an intrinsic motivational force to engage in the activity willingly and engendering a sense of desire and personal endorsement about
pursuing (it)” (Ryan & Deci, 2000). The model predicts that if
perceived as a harmonious passion,
then one’s work will be associated with a series of psychological benefits,
including increased life, health, and job satisfaction overlapping with engagement, commitment, and personal
interest. In fact, generated by harmonious passion, “situational positive
affect” acts as a mediator variable (Baron & Kenny, 1986), which, by
engendering positive reactions such as enthusiasm, energy, confidence and
alertness (Watson & al., 1988), explains the relationship between harmonious passion and subjective well-being. Being in this
passion would then mean to be in harmony with one’s work and oneself.