Human resilience is the ability to ''bounce back'' or reintegrate after difficult life experiences. I argue that, rather than an individual phenomenon that someone either possesses or does not, resilience is developed, sustained, and grown through discourse, interaction, and material considerations. There are several communicative processes involved. These include: (a) crafting normalcy, (b) affirming identity anchors, (c) maintaining and using communication networks, (d) putting alternative logics to work, and (e) downplaying negative feelings while foregrounding positive emotions, such as hopefulness and selfefficacy. Commentary on how the field of communication as a whole and through specific disciplinary areas can contribute to scholarship on and practice in resilience concludes this Address, which serves as an initial exploration into human communication resilience processes.
This study, based on in-depth interviews with 45 practitioners in the emerging field of environmental sustainability, argues for a more nuanced approach to studying the meaningfulness of work. Drawing from the tension-centered approach, we posit that sustainability practitioners derived meaningfulness in tensional ways from circumstances and factors that were both enabling and constraining, stemming from various organizational, professional and political structures. This occurs through ongoing negotiation that spans everyday work processes, the perceived impact of such work, and participants’ career positioning. In addition to examining meaningfulness as a dynamic and contested negotiation, rather than a purely positive outcome, the political implications of such meaning-making are traced. We close by discussing some implications for future research on meaningfulness of work.
How people talk about their work and careers matters. Desiring meaningful work, people increasingly describe work and careers as a calling. Such callings may be secular or sacred. Popular ways of talking about calling often create problematic, rather than positive, career and life outcomes. In this article, we examine five common, historically influenced assumptions underlying contemporary talk about secular and sacred callings: necessity; agency and control; inequality; temporal continuity; and neoliberal economics. We showcase some of the likely downsides of calling as these underlying assumptions interact with people’s everyday lives. We suggest possible solutions for rehabilitating calling to help people find some of the career and quality-of-life benefits that calling promises. In sum, this essay contributes to a more nuanced understanding of calling and agency in contemporary careers while also offering a framework and direction for developing research and practice on calling.
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