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Difference between Avocation or Vocation

avocation or vocation

The terms “avocation” and “vocation” are pivotal in discussions about career, life choices, and personal fulfillment, yet they often lead to confusion due to their nuanced differences. Understanding these terms not only clarifies one’s career and hobby choices but also helps in aligning one’s passions with professional endeavors. “Vocation” refers to a person’s main occupation or profession, especially regarded as particularly worthy and requiring great dedication. In contrast, “avocation” is an activity that someone pursues outside their main occupation, typically for enjoyment or fulfillment rather than financial reward.

Quick Facts Table

DefinitionA hobby or minor occupation undertaken for enjoymentA person’s main occupation or profession
OriginLatin “avocatio” meaning a calling awayLatin “vocatio” meaning a calling
PurposePersonal fulfillment and enjoymentProfessional commitment and livelihood
Financial AspectNot primarily for financial gainSource of income
ExamplesPainting, gardening, bloggingTeaching, medicine, engineering

Difference Between “Avocation” and “Vocation”

Definition of Avocation

Avocation" refers to an activity that one engages in outside of their primary job. It is often pursued out of interest or passion and does not necessarily provide a primary source of income. Avocations are typically seen as hobbies or leisure activities that provide personal satisfaction and an escape from the daily routine of work.

Definition of Vocation

Vocation," on the other hand, is a term that denotes a person's main occupation—the work they do to earn a living. It often implies a sense of calling or suitability for one's job, suggesting that the person is particularly drawn to or skilled at their profession. Vocations require a significant level of commitment and dedication and are usually associated with professional training or education.

Origin of Avocation

The term “avocation” comes from the Latin “avocatio,” which means a calling away or a diversion. It signifies something that takes one away from their primary work or duty, highlighting the concept of engaging in a leisure activity for enjoyment or relaxation.

Origin of Vocation

Vocation” derives from the Latin “vocatio,” meaning a calling. This term emphasizes the idea of being called to a particular profession or way of life, especially one for which a person is particularly suited or qualified.


  • Avocation: /ˌæv.əˈkeɪ.ʃən/
  • Vocation: /voʊˈkeɪ.ʃən/

Comparing Avocation and Vocation

Understanding the distinction between avocation and vocation is crucial for achieving a balanced and fulfilling life. While a vocation addresses the practical aspects of earning a living and contributing to society, an avocation provides an outlet for personal interests and passions, contributing to overall well-being and happiness.

NaturePersonal interest or hobbyMain occupation or professional career
MotivationEnjoyment, passion, relaxationFinancial stability, professional fulfillment
CommitmentFlexible, based on personal interestLong-term, often with a sense of duty
OutcomePersonal fulfillment, skill developmentFinancial earnings, societal contribution

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Avocation in Sentences

  1. Gardening began as an avocation but quickly became her sanctuary from the stresses of work.
    • Highlights gardening as a hobby that provides relaxation and enjoyment.
  2. Despite his successful career in law, his true avocation was painting, where he found his creative outlet.
    • Illustrates painting as a hobby pursued for personal satisfaction outside of professional work.
  3. She encouraged her students to find an avocation, emphasizing the importance of work-life balance.
    • Suggests that hobbies are vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle alongside work.

Use of Vocation in Sentences

  1. Teaching is more than a job for her; it’s a vocation that she’s passionately committed to.
    • Indicates teaching as a chosen profession, pursued with dedication and passion.
  2. After years of searching, he finally found his vocation in environmental science, aligning his career with his values.
    • Describes the process of finding one’s ideal profession that matches personal beliefs and passions.
  3. Her vocation as a nurse was driven by a deep desire to help others, showcasing her commitment to her profession.
    • Emphasizes nursing as a career chosen out of a sense of calling and desire to make a difference.


While both avocation and vocation are essential components of a fulfilling life, they serve different purposes. A vocation is the work one does for a living, often driven by a sense of calling, while an avocation is a hobby or activity pursued for enjoyment outside of one’s main occupation. Balancing the two can lead to a rich and satisfying life, blending professional fulfillment with personal happiness and growth.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Can an avocation become a vocation?
    • Yes, it’s possible for a hobby or passion to turn into a main occupation if it starts providing a significant source of income or becomes a primary focus in life.
  • Should one prioritize their vocation over their avocation?
    • While financial stability is important, maintaining a balance between work and hobbies is crucial for overall well-being. Prioritization depends on individual circumstances and life goals.
  • How do I find my vocation?
    • Finding one’s vocation often involves self-reflection, exploring various interests, and considering what activities give a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
  • Is it necessary to have an avocation?
    • While not necessary, having an avocation can greatly enhance life quality by providing an outlet for stress, a source of joy, and a means of personal expression outside of work.
passion project


What is the difference between avocation and vocation?

Avocation refers to a hobby or activity pursued in addition to one’s regular work, driven by passion or interest. Vocation, on the other hand, refers to one’s principal occupation or calling in life.

How does avocation contribute to work-life balance and personal development?

Avocation allows individuals to explore their interests and find fulfillment outside of their primary occupation. It provides a creative outlet, reduces stress, and promotes personal growth by acquiring new skills, knowledge, and experiences.

Can avocations lead to additional income?

Yes, people often turn their avocations into side businesses or sources of additional income.

How can one effectively pursue an avocation?

To pursue an avocation effectively, individuals need to manage their time and establish boundaries between work and personal life.

What does vocation represent in one’s career?

Vocation represents one’s principal occupation or career. It goes beyond just a job or occupation and represents a calling in life.

How should one strike a balance between passion and practicality when choosing a vocation?

It is important to strike a balance between passion and practicality when choosing a vocation. This entails considering one’s skills, interests, and values while also weighing the practical aspects of the chosen career path.

Can vocations evolve over time?

Yes, vocations can evolve over time as individuals gain experience and discover new areas of interest within their field.

How can career guidance and professional development programs help in exploring different vocations?

Career guidance and professional development programs provide individuals with the opportunity to explore different vocations, make informed career decisions, and acquire the necessary skills to excel in their chosen field.

How does finding a vocation that aligns with one’s passion impact job satisfaction?

Finding a vocation that aligns with one’s passion often leads to greater job satisfaction and overall fulfillment in life.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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