Make the Choice: Job or Career?

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” (Confucius)

Do you have a job or a career? You may be asking yourself, what is the difference? According to the dictionary, a career is defined as ""an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress"" while a job is defined as ""a paid position of regular employment.""

Put another way, a job may be going to work to earn a paycheck while a career is a journey that includes all your different jobs, experiences, and training in the same field or career cluster. Over their lifetime, most Americans have ten different jobs. These jobs may or may not be within the same career. This means that your career is a journey of many steps.

As you consider your current situation and whether you have a job or a career, consider the distinction between the two and whether you WANT a job or a career. There is no right or wrong answer, each individual must consider their own situation and determine what is best for them.

If you want a career and you find yourself in a job, what can you do?

  1. Assess - What are your interests, skills, and values?
  2. Research - Narrow down the search to one or two careers and conduct detailed research to learn as much as you can.
  3. Compare - As you learn about the qualifications you need to make the career move you desire, compare those to your current profile. Identify where there are gaps between the skills/qualifications you have and the skills/qualifications you need.
  4. Plan - Establish a plan to achieve the qualifications you do not have or strengthen those that need improvement.

Keep in mind, some individuals get so focused in looking past their current job, they overlook their day-to-day responsibilities. While planning for your career development, be sure to do your current job really well. While it may not be where you want to be permanently, you can develop important skills and grow your network by doing good work.

For more information, review Do You Have a Job or Career? by David Hunt, Managing Partner at Hyperion Executive Search.

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