Vision Worker vs Roster Worker: Which One Are You?

Mar 08, 2018 1 Min Read

Have you ever kick-started something with full of energy, passion and excitement, only to find yourself faltering halfway through the journey?

It could be a new job, a new business, or a new project that you are really passionate about. You started off on a strong note, with the right heart, believing for the best, and willing to go the extra mile to reach your goals. At this point, you are a vision worker who is on fire, and nothing seems to be able to stop you in your tracks.

But along the way, something has changed. Things didn’t go as planned. Frustrations begin to kick in. Expectations were mismanaged. People disappointed you. They tell you that it couldn’t be done. Doubts and questions started flooding in. You tried carrying on, but the weight of all the discouragements put together was too much for you to shoulder. Before you know it, you reached a point of burnout and turned into a roster worker.


Vision worker vs roster worker

Most of us, if not all of us, have had the experience of being on both ends of the spectrum, in one way or another. But what exactly are the differences between the two?

Vision worker vs Roster worker

This “vision worker vs roster worker” table comparison is courtesy of Kenneth Chin.

I believe we can all identify with this list just by reading it. Maybe you are halfway there or almost there. Maybe you started off being a vision worker, only to be sidetracked along the way. Regardless of where you are right now in your journey, here are 3Ps on how you can strive to move towards being a vision worker.


1. Passion: Rediscovering your fire

I believe one of the most important things to do when you experience burnout is to take time out to rediscover your passion.

What drives you on? What do you really enjoy doing? If time and money is not a hindrance, what is that one thing that you’ve always wanted to become?

Bill Butler once said, “Passion is the oxygen for the soul.”

Passion is that one thing you think about when you wake up in the morning and before you go to sleep at night. It keeps your spirit alive and drives you on. It does not settle for mediocrity, nor it is afraid of trying something new.

Passion does not give excuses for the lack of experience. It takes risk and sometimes requires you to put your head on the line. It is not reliant on what others think about you, nor it is hindered by the disapproval of others. It sets its target on a vision, and is the propelling factor that launches you into action.

Many people go through the motions of life feeling unfulfilled, simply because they are operating in a place where their passion do not lie. Vision workers are always energetic because they have found the fire that lights them on in their journey.

Have you found yours?


2. Purpose: Know the why behind the what

Passion, however, goes nowhere without purpose. If passion is the driving force behind the vision, then purpose is the direction towards the vision. They both go hand-in-hand together.

American author and pastor Thomas Dexter Jakes once said:

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”

I believe that passion is most powerful when it is intertwined with purpose. Vision workers don’t just do things because they were told to do so; they do things because they really believe in them. They look beyond the duty and get straight to the heart of why they do what they do. Vision workers are so embedded with purpose to a point where the tasks they do don’t feel like a routine, but an outflow of what they believe in.

Likewise, it is important for us to go deeper and get to the purpose of why we do what we do. Many times the very things that used to excite us end up becoming a burden, simply because we have lost sight on the purpose or vision behind it. One of the most effective ways that I personally use to realign myself when I go through burnouts is to rediscover the vision behind the mission, the spirit behind the skill, and the heart behind the art.

This might interest you: Are You Working For A Purpose-Driven Organisation?


3. Perseverance: Finish the race

Having said all that, possessing the right passion and purpose doesn’t ensure that the journey is going to be a bed of roses. Challenges and problems are still an inevitable part of life, and there will be days where we will feel like giving in and throwing in the towel. This is where our purpose and passion are being tested to the core, but I am always reminded by this quote by Friedrich Nietzsche which states:

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

The reason why vision workers are able to persevere through challenging times is because they have a strong purpose and passion to live for. It takes faith to start, but it takes faithfulness to finish. May we all run our race with perseverance, and finish it well.



Justin Ooi is with Leaderonomics as part of the Corporate Service team. He is also a musician-songwriter whose passion is to help young people live to the fullness of their potentials and their callings. Share your thoughts in the comment section or write to us at To journey with Leaderonomics to create a purpose- and values-driven organisation, email to find out how. For more Career Advice articles, click here.

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This article is published by the editors of with the consent of the guest author. 

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