Career Tips

Do You Have a Job or a Career?

June 28, 2022

People used to spend their careers working at one company. They might work their way up over the years, but staying put meant earning a pension. Those days are long gone, with a much more fluid workforce. Individuals not only change companies now but also careers. 

In an environment where career paths are no longer linear, how do you know if you have a job or a career? To answer this, we need to define each. 

A job is generally a position you take to earn money. That is your primary goal, and there is not a lot of thought about where it could lead in the future. You probably started your work life with a job. It might have been babysitting, working at Starbucks, or a lemonade stand if you were an early entrepreneur. Unless you planned to go into childcare, retail/food service, or sales, it was probably just a job. You may be in a job right now, in a role where you have no desire to stay long term, but it’s paying the bills. If you haven’t felt a strong tug to a specific role or industry, working jobs may be fulfilling for the duration of your work life. 

On the flip side, a career is a long-term trajectory. It’s made up of a series of intentional job choices that give you the skills and deep industry knowledge to work your way into a leadership role. While you may begin as an admin, that experience gives you deep insights and experience you can leverage across industries or other departments to reach your end goal. “Leadership” may look like becoming an executive for a corporation, consulting or starting your own business. Careers usually offer better earning potential because you bring more value with your experience and industry knowledge. 

Only you know whether a job or a career is right for you. Neither one is right or wrong. The important thing is that you do something you enjoy and hopefully bring a smile to someone’s face.

Ready to take the next step in your career? Check out these posts on How To Set Actionable Career Goals and How To Centralize and Track Your Role To Get Promoted.