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Commitment without ideals

It's one of those insulting facts of life that we still expect three professions to have a vocation: the clergy, medics and teachers. Somehow just putting in a 60-hour week to pay the mortgage doesn't measure up, which is why the scarily dedicated teachers played by Robin Williams and Michelle Pfeiffer have achieved iconic status. For PGCE, read sainthood.

Real teachers know real life ain't like that, so good on researchers for discovering that secondary staff who drifted into the job are just as likely to be fully committed and in challenging schools as their starry-eyed colleagues -and seem less prone to burnout and disillusion.

So, drifters, be proud. If some smartarse interviewer asks about your vocation, tell 'em it's just a job, but you're damn good at it. Accountants don't need a vocation to be excellent - so why should you?

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