Is There a Difference Between a Job and a Career?

So, you’ve decided that now is the right time to get a new career or pursue that new job. What language do you use to describe your work habits? How do you think and speak about what you get paid for? Do you use ‘my career is’? Or ‘my job is’?

Do you think of yourself as ‘career orientated’ or ‘career minded’? Perhaps, do you see a career is something that comes with having a string of qualifications? Is ‘having a career’ something better than ‘having a job’? Or are they same?

Generally, people assume the two are different. They are, by definition, however can they be separated in reality? One of the biggest differences between having a job and having a career could be that of attitude and thought. Please, before you jump and down and list your qualifications carry on reading… You see there is so much ambiguity, ideas and lies around careers and jobs for example:

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  • A job does not include a career but a career usually involves many jobs
  • A job is a means to an end; a career is more personally fulfilling
  • A job is lower paid than a career role
  • A career is harder to achieve than getting a job
  • A career obviously involves many qualifications, having a career is very specialised

So, can you have a well thought out career that pays well: full of advancement, progression and promotional opportunities. Yet you detest it. No, you loathe it. You cry going in and are depressed after your holidays.

Well, you are working a job. You are working to pay the bills. Your career does not fit your passion and purpose.

On the other hand. Say, you call what you get paid for a job. It may not have taken you years of qualifications to get there; it might not be well paid however it is lucrative in other ways. You love it. Everything about it. The tasks. The people. The day-to-day role. The customers. Even though you may not think about it this way yet, you have a career.

Do you need some definitions? Okay…

Career: A chosen pursuit, occupation or profession. Job: A task, or series of tasks you get paid for.

Please focus on the word CHOSEN. So, whatever you have chosen to do. That’s a career.

The job element is the tasks you undertake within that career. People who have a career, also have a job, otherwise they would not have a career. They get paid for carrying out tasks (jobs) that fit the career choice. People who have jobs are still within a career choice.

A career is a path, full of choices, using your full skills, talents and experiences. The path is not ‘job’ or ‘tasks’ yet it is made up of a lifelong journey that fully utilises your strengths and talents. It encompasses your leisure, family, relationships; it’s made up of all the parts of you. The fact you get paid for this is the job element.

So is there a difference in career versus job? Yes, by definition. The jobs we carry out may be better to sit in alignment with our career journey: the roads we are choosing that sit well with us emotionally will ensure that we are working on tasks that are following our passion and purpose in our career planning, job hunting and career changes.

© 2009 Dawn Barclay – All rights reserved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Dawn is a professional trainer and coach, for the past 16 years she has been assisting others to reach their goals and achieve success professionally and personally.

Dawn is on a crusade to ensure that you (if you want it) have the right to live your best life and achieve your own definition of success.