Vocational Service is the essence of Rotary and serves as the foundation from which we serve our communities around the world. Vocational Service calls on us to empower others by using our unique skills and expertise to address community needs and help others acquire or refine skills and advance their professional opportunities.
Originally only one representative from each business or profession (vocation) was invited to join a club. Paul Harris felt that if several members of the same profession were to join, they would either sit together and “talk shop” or compete against each other for other members’ business. The idea of “trade-boosting” was gradually eliminated and by 1912, Rotarians were no longer required to exchange business with one another.
Of Rotary’s five Avenues of Service* – Club, Vocational, Community, New Generations and International – Vocational is difficult to define, so it is sometimes called the “Forgotten Avenue of Service”. One reason is Club, Community, International and Youth Service activities usually involve groups of Rotarians. They enjoy the fellowship of Club Service, the satisfaction of serving the needs of their communities, and the hope that their International Service promotes world peace and understanding. But Vocational Service – the second Avenue of Service -- is generally conducted by individual members.
Vocational Service focuses on:
Adherence to and promotion of the highest ethical standards in all occupations, including fair treatment of employers, employees, associates, competitors, and the public.
The recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, not just those that are pursued by Rotarians.
The contribution of your vocational talents to solving the problems of society and meeting the needs of the community.
Rotary’s Vocational Service Month is a great time to start leveraging vocational service in club projects and activities. The Vocational Service in Action handbook can help you gain a better understanding of vocational service and provide you with ideas to practice it through your service activities, in your personal life, and in your career. Download the handbook and share it with your club members.