The differences between a job and a career.

United Kingdom
August 16, 2013 10:44am CST
It may seem obvious to most people but recently I have been thinking to myself about what the differences are between a job and a career. If you hear these two words separately, you probably don't consider what is different about them. If I asked you to define the difference, then would your explanation be the same as mine? Here are some opinions of the major differences (not all my personal beliefs): 1. Money. A job is for making money, over anything else. Most people get a job as young as they can to earn money but they often don't have a career until they are much older. I got a job at 16 and although I still work in the same place, it wasn't a career to me, even though it was for others. I think that people get a job because they need the money. Some believe that a career is where you are making more money than you necessarily need. It is a job with a high wage. I don't agree with this personally. I think that you can earn any amount of money in a career. 2. Satisfaction. Despite the fact that in a 'job', you may have some form of satisfaction that isn't closely related to the pay packet that you receive at the end of the month, it isn't the same as career satisfaction. When I first started working, being told I'd done something well, gave me some form of happiness as well as a partial ego boost. In a career however, satisfaction should come from the job itself, knowing that you're making a difference, as well as doing something that you enjoy. I've always liked my job but did it bother me when things went wrong? Not really. 3. Progression. You know that you have a career when you want to and are able to progress. If you are in a job, where there is no means of progression, you may have simply hit the end of your possible career path. Nevertheless, if you haven't metaphorically climbed the ladder in any sense, then perhaps it wasn't a career to start with. It's more like a job that you took at a certain time, not knowing what you would want to do next or whether you would even enjoy it. My three ideas of what creates the differences between careers and jobs, brings me to my ultimate and personal question: do I have a career or a job? 1. In terms of money, my pay isn't good and I know that people get paid more elsewhere for doing less work. It frustrates me but I have to tell myself that it isn't all about the money. This puts me somewhere between job and career- I do it to earn the little money that I get but at the same time, I know I could get paid better somewhere else, yet still stick around. Therefore, it must mean more to me than just a 'job'. 2. I am often satisfied in my work and happy when I can show others what I can do. I can lead the team and I can do it well. However, sometimes, self-satisfaction isn't enough and often, I wish I got a little bit more thanks and congratulations from those above me. When I manage to make someone smile and do my job well, I feel happy but is this about the job/career or is it simply me as a person? 3. I may have been in my current job for well over six years but in my opinion, I have progressed as much as I want to. If I put more work in, I'm sure I could progress further in a few years but I simply don't think I want to. This is the main thing that makes me question myself. If this is a career, why do I not want to progress? Am I aware of how much work I do currently with no thanks and therefore, don't think more responsibility would be worth it? Or do I simply think that I could eventually do something better? Either way, I think this means that I have a job rather than a career but that's just my personal opinion. Do I not have a career or am I simply in the WRONG career? How do other people define their work? I'm sure there are people out there that haven't even considered the difference but it's something that I think more people should think about. To me, the satisfaction is the most important factor but is that enough to make a career?
1 person likes this
1 response
• Denmark
15 Oct 13
I work as a career information specialist and for me a job is what i do currently but my whole life journey is a career. Official definition would be that career is persons lifelong development through education and working life and it is in balance with all of the person's different roles in life. If i come to your question about having a job or a career then it depends on your own point of view. If you only look at your current job then you might just have a job but if you look at your previous jobs, education all the things you have done to come to this point and take in account things that you want to do in the future and where you want to be professionally lets say in 15 years, then you have a career. The situation you describe in your last point is the point where a worker realizes that this position is no longer motivating. Usually it comes from routine and being really good at what you do. Your choices might be to stay on the position and look for challenges that make it interesting, change your position or company or take a brake to reflect. Either way it is your decision and your life so you are in charge of it.