Aristotle? Marcus Bach? Albert Schweitzer? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: Did the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle secretly work at a job placement agency? Probably not, but a popular family of sayings about career choice has been attributed to him. Here are three examples:
- Where your talents and the world’s needs cross, there lies your calling.
- When the needs of the world and your skills intersect, therein lies your vocation.
- One’s purpose is merely knowing where one’s talents and the needs of the world intersect.
I have been unable to find a solid citation for Aristotle? Would you please examine the origin of this saying?
Quote Investigator: QI has not yet found any substantive evidence connecting these words to Aristotle.
The earliest strong match located by QI appeared in a speech delivered at a high school graduation ceremony in 1954 by Dr. Marcus Bach of the State University of Iowa School of Religion. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
I’m just optimistic enough to believe that God has given you some sort of call. You’ll discover that the place where your talent meets the world’s needs is the job God has in mind for you.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1954 May 25, Carrol Daily Times Herald, Athletic Award Is Presented to Ed Champion, Start Page 1, Quote Page 7, Column 1, Carroll, Iowa. (Newspapers_com) ↩