Vocational Service, the Rotary International Theme for the Month of January is at the heart of Rotary, which was founded on the membership classification system. Business and professional life are the bedrock of Rotary, and Vocational Service is a major force in promoting honour, integrity, and trustworthiness in business.
Originally only one representative from each business or profession 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.
In 1940, Rotary International defined the Object of Vocational Service “to encourage and foster: high ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to serve society.” Today’s Rotarians still pride themselves on being able to use their professional stature and knowledge to make things happen worldwide, wherever there is a need for change.