Every Friday at the Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club meeting, we end our Friday morning breakfast meetings by reciting the four-way test.  I love this tradition because the words echo in my head as I start my work day.  We all know how challenging work can be.  We are bombarded with bad news about the economy.  Most companies and their employees are doing more with less.  We are bound to encounter situations that test our ethics, whatever career we have chosen. I’m not talking Enron-level breaches of integrity that make headlines, but those daily situations that arise when one is tempted to cross the line.  Reciting the 4-way test is like being inoculated on a weekly basis against rationalizing or doing what’s expedient.  It is a reminder of the values that all Rotarians hold dear and that we can do our part to “encourage and foster” Rotary ideals in our workplaces, too.  We can bring the Rotary “secret sauce” to help our co-workers keep things in perspective and to maintain our own high ethical standards.

During October, Rotary celebrates Vocational Service Month.  This is the month when the spotlight shines on vocational activities and projects.  Consider why vocational service is a critical aspect of every well-rounded Rotarian.  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.  Rotarians recognize the worthiness of all useful occupations, not just those that are pursued by Rotarians.  Rotarians value the contribution of our members’ vocational talents in solving the problems of society and meeting the needs of the community.

So, how can you make a difference during Vocational Service Month?  Here are some suggested activities to undertake during Vocational Service Month:

1)      Introduce a “mini-classifications talk” series in which each member gives a five-minute talk on his or her vocation. Schedule one speaker for the beginning of each meeting until everyone has made a presentation. The purpose of these talks is to promote vocational awareness among Rotarians and help them recognize the worthiness of all useful occupations.  


2)      Present a vocational award to someone in the community who has exemplified outstanding professional achievement while maintaining very high ethical standards. Promote the presentation within the community and consider making it an annual October event.


3)      Invite experts to give a presentation on the vocational needs of the community and develop a project in response to those needs. Possible projects could focus on developing character, providing career information to youth, mentoring small businesses, or organizing workshops that provide employees with new skills.

These are just three ideas for celebrating Vocational Service Month.  I know there are more and I’d love to hear how District 6040 clubs are celebrating vocational service. You can contact me at tmcgill@bizjournals.com

Therese McGill is the Vocational Service Chairperson at Kansas City Plaza Rotary. Therese has been a member of Plaza Rotary since 2008.  She is a senior account executive with the Kansas City Business Journal.