Job vs. Career – What is a Job?
While the terms “job” and “career” are often used to mean the same thing, they really are conceptually different.
If you work a part-time job in your youth in order to have extra spending money, it isn’t likely you’d refer to it as a career. Why?
The reason is that a job is something you do without much concern for the long-term. You get a job to buy your first car, to have extra spending money, to learn about work, or to pay the bills.
When young people work part-time in retail sales jobs, they aren’t thinking of it as a career.
The same goes for senior citizens who take on jobs after they’ve retired. It is simply work done in exchange for money. Jobs are important for people of all ages.
A job can put food on the family table. Some jobs even earn people high wages.
Job Vs. Career – What is a Career?
So there must be a difference between a job and a career.
Why are jobs that students or senior citizens work not considered careers? The answer lies in the end goal.
Students are striving to become educated in a certain field where they will continue to learn and grow and advance by the work they do.
A finance major may work in retail sales, but she doesn’t intend to build directly upon that experience. A retired person has no reason to build a career, often he or she has already done so, and therefore the work is just for the purposes of money or to stay social and active.
Most careers start with education. Many people work jobs because they don’t have the education needed to enter careers, though jobs can certainly turn into careers, regardless of type of employment. Careers are about building on experience and advancing your job skills and knowledge.
You can apply for a job, but you can’t apply for a career. A job is given to you; a career is made by you.
What’s the Difference Between a Job and Career?
So as you can see, while one can work very hard at a job and even be paid well to work a job, a career takes much more motivation and forward-thinking effort than a job. Due to this people usually care more about a career than they do about a job. They see personal goals as a part of their career and it is often more a part of who they are when they are not working than a typical job. Careers are often vocations, such as teaching. We want the people who are teaching our children to think of it as a career, not just a job. We want them to have an interest in our children and care about the success of our children, rather than just coming in, practicing a required skill, and leaving for the day without feeling the desire to become a better teacher every day.
Do You Want a Job or a Career?
Whether a job or career is the right fit for you will depend on your stage of life. Jobs can help people start careers in many ways – experience, knowledge, learning about what they like and dislike. Eventually though, striving for a career is a very positive step because it means you want more out of the work you do than a paycheck. You want to develop your talents, really enjoy what you do, and care about how you spend your time each day. In addition, your earning potential is much higher in a career than in a job in most cases.
A career takes goal setting and education (through college, work experience, or self-learning). It is best to follow your interests, skills, and talents to find the career that will bring you success. Success includes money, but is also very much about personal happiness.
Lynn Mattoon is a Content Editor & Career Writer for SalesHeads.com , Beyond.com career communities. You can follow her on Twitter at BeyondCareers.