Lesson 45: Choosing a Vocation

Young Women Manual 3, (1994), 163–65


Each young woman will learn how to choose a vocation wisely.


  1. 1.

    Provide paper and pencil for each young woman.

  2. 2.

    Optional: Obtain brochures and literature from local vocational planning services. Distribute them to interested young women.

  3. 3.

    Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

It Is Important to Choose a Vocation


Distribute paper and pencils to the young women. Ask them to list the vocations they have considered for themselves. When everyone has finished, ask each one to tell which of the vocations she listed appeals most to her and why.

Teacher presentation

Explain that as women, the class members should have two vocations in mind: first, being a homemaker; and second, doing something that will allow them to earn money to support a family if that should become necessary. Many women also find that before they are married or after the children are reared, there is time to be productive in a vocation.

Explain that it is important to choose a vocation and to choose wisely. The vocation we choose can affect our lives in many ways. It may determine where we live, who our friends are, how long we are in school, how much money we will spend on training, how much we will earn, and how much we are able to help our family members. Whatever vocation we choose, we should be prepared to give quality service.


Elder Howard W. Hunter said: “There are impelling reasons for our sisters to plan toward employment. … We want them to obtain all the education and vocational training possible before marriage. If they become widowed or divorced and need to work, we want them to have dignified and rewarding employment. If a sister does not marry, she has every right to engage in a profession that allows her to magnify her talents and gifts” (“Prepare for Honorable Employment,” Ensign, Nov. 1975, p. 124).


  • How could the vocation you are considering enrich your life, now as you prepare and in the future?

  • How could you use your talents in this vocation?

  • How could it be used to benefit a family?

  • Would this vocation allow you to support yourself?

There Are Guidelines We Can Use in Choosing a Vocation


Read the following statement from Elder Howard W. Hunter that provides some guidelines for choosing a vocation.

“The employment we choose should be honorable and challenging. Ideally, we need to seek that work to which we are suited by interest, by aptitude, and by training. A [person’s] work should do more than provide adequate income; it should provide him with a sense of self-worth and be a pleasure—something he looks forward to each day.

“May I suggest a definition of ‘honorable employment.’ Honorable employment is honest employment. Fair value is given and there is no defrauding, cheating, or deceit. Its product or service is of high quality, and the employer, customer, client, or patient receives more than he or she expected. Honorable employment is moral. It involves nothing that would undermine public good or morality. For example, it does not involve traffic in liquor, illicit narcotics, or gambling. Honorable employment is useful. It provides goods or services which make the world a better place in which to live” (“Prepare for Honorable Employment,” pp. 122–23).

Teacher presentation and discussion

Explain that there are guidelines we can use in choosing a vocation that will be helpful now and in the future. Review the following three guidelines with the class members:

  1. 1.

    Learn about Ourselves

Explain that in choosing a vocation, it is helpful to learn as much as possible about our values, goals, interests, and talents.

Explain that we need to make sure that any vocation we choose will allow us to maintain our values and reach our goals. Job requirements should not cause us to violate God’s laws or our personal values. It is also important to consider the environment of the vocation and the influence it could have on our eternal goals. We should avoid vocations that would require us to compromise our values or turn us from our eternal goals.

  • How would the vocations you have considered affect your values and goals?

Explain that it would be useful for the young women to identify their strongest interests before choosing a vocation. Their interests might include the classes they like in school and the things they do during their leisure time. Some of them might develop an interest from reading a book or observing others in their vocations.


Tell the following stories:

One class of young women spent one day each month at a hospital doing volunteer work. Because of this experience, one young woman developed an interest in nursing as a vocation and is now a nursing supervisor in a large hospital.

Another young woman enjoyed being around animals. She offered to work without pay at a veterinarian’s office near her home. Later she was offered a paying job there and chose veterinary work as her vocation.

A strong interest in sewing turned into a vocation for another young woman. Through the years she developed her sewing skills by making clothes for herself and her children. After her children were grown, she found work as a seamstress making costumes for television productions at a studio near her home. Because of the high quality of her work, she became the director of the costume department a year later.

Teacher presentation

Explain that we should also consider our abilities and talents. Some people have natural talents in various areas. Others acquire talents by study and practice. A person’s abilities can influence whether or not she is successful in her vocation.

Ask the young women to consider the talents and abilities they now have.

  • How would these be used in the vocations you have considered?

  1. 2.

    Learn about Vocations

Explain that in addition to learning about ourselves, we need to learn about various job possibilities.

  • What resources exist in our community for finding out about vocations?

Discuss the resources available, which may include school counselors and teachers, local business organizations, trade or technical schools, and local community members who have experience in vocations.

If any of the young women have had an experience in which these resources have helped them make a decision, encourage them to share it.

  1. 3.

    Prayerfully Make a Decision


Explain that prayer is an important part of the decision-making process. Elder Howard W. Hunter offered this advice to youth who are in the process of choosing a vocation: “Prayer must continue throughout the entire process. As we gather facts, make decisions, gain the appropriate training and experience, and then seek jobs, it is essential that we combine our self-reliant efforts with a humble, prayerful attitude. The decision is ours to make, but the Lord will increase our wisdom if we seek him earnestly” (“Prepare for Honorable Employment,” p. 123).

Scripture discussion

Point out that the Lord expects us to make decisions about our vocation and then confirm them with him.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–9. What does this passage teach about how the Lord will assist us in our decisions about vocations?


Explain that the choice of a vocation is a very important decision for a young person. By using the guidelines presented in this lesson and seeking the guidance of the Lord, the young women can prepare to make this decision in the best way for them.

Lesson Application

Encourage each young woman to review the information given in this lesson and determine what she can do to begin choosing a vocation if she has not already done so.

Suggested Activities

Plan an evening meeting in which the young women report on particular vocations that they might be interested in. The young women might want to interview people, visit places of employment, and read publications about the vocations chosen by the young women.