People are often bewildered between the difference between a job and a career. Some of them use the terms interchangeably and the narrative forces them to look at their current job as their career. Job is an important contributing factor in our career, but it is not all of it. It helps us to earn money to support ourselves and our family, but career is much bigger and gives our life a purpose. If you could imagine career as a very long journey that you undertake, job is just one of the vehicles you will use on the way.
Let’s dive into more depth to know the difference between the two.
What is a Job?
According to the Etymology Dictionary, the word ‘Job’ means, piece of work, something to be done. It is work that you perform to earn a living and support your basic needs. The job could be full-time, part-time, or contractual. There are different kinds of jobs.
- Trade: These are manual jobs. Examples include carpenters, auto mechanics, hairstylists, and bakers. Butchers, plumbers, and tree surgeons are also trades. To become a trades-person, you usually have to do a course and/or complete a period of practical work.
- Profession:For this type of job, you need a university qualification. Examples include lawyers, doctors, dentists, software developers, architects, librarians, engineers, and pharmacists. scientists, physicists, teachers, university professors, or geologists
- Unskilled: You do not need any formal qualifications for them. Examples include fruit pickers, maids, janitors, retail assistants, farm laborers, cleaners, etc.
What is a Career?
A career is a long-term professional journey you may determine based on your passions. It is the path you embark upon to fulfill your professional goals and ambitions. You may require a certain level of education or training or some unique talent to achieve these goals. The objective behind career is not just to make money but also earn respect, reputation, work satisfaction and self-worth.
A career might last for your entire life. You could hold numerous jobs under many employers in your chosen industry that you progress through during your career.
The role of “job” in the Career
An individual does numerous jobs in his lifetime, they may not be interconnected but these summations of jobs mostly form the career. Your job can affect your career in these ways:
- Job makes up your career: A job is a short step forward in your long journey of career. Each job gives a shape to your career. You could spend decades working a job in the same department in one organization. Alternatively, you could work many seemingly unrelated jobs over your lifetime, such as marketing specialist, consultant and guest lecturer in university. They all define your career and the common thread will be your passion in a given field or function.
- Skills learnt in job: Each job comes with its own opportunities. They provide a platform to learn new skills and enhance previous ones. Also, every organization has a different work culture which provides for acquiring a variety of skills, knowledge and experiences. For instance, your job as a retail clerk might have taught you how to handle difficult situations with tact. The receptionist position may have taught you good communication and customer service skills. Other roles might help develop your writing skills, develop your ability to handle rejection or teach you the value of perseverance and hard work.
- Networking opportunities: With every new job comes new people and an opportunity to expand your network. In today’s order, the more contacts you have, more ahead you are in the game. If you maintain a productive and professional relationship with all your colleagues and clients, you will be able to leverage these connections throughout your career.
How to make a career out of a job?
Now that we have understood the difference and connection, let’s see how we pick jobs with a career in mind. These strategies can help.
- Treat each job as a ladder: Always aim to enhance your skills and knowledge. If you know what career path you want to pursue, figure out what expertise and experience you need to get there. Once you are aware of the requirements, seek to develop your qualifications whether through practice in your current job or formal training, online courses and education.
- Get a mentor: At every stage of our life, we need a mentor. Seek out a mentor or two who have experience in your desired career. Ask if they will consider supporting and advising you professionally. While working with a mentor, you may plan specific questions to ask or topics to discuss, like career development.
- Try out everything and you don’t have to drop one for the other: A person’s potential is not limited to just one passion. Try out different jobs with different work attributes and analyze which best suits your long-term goals, i.e., your career. If you are currently working as an IT professional, but have journalism as your career option, you could pick up internship or assignment with online channels and gain some experience. You could also do some relevant courses even when you are working and continue to do so until you land a full-time job in journalism.
Your career makes up most of your life and it will be wise to spend time on choosing it. In many ways, career defines your identity. Once you do, choosing a job aligned with your career is not that tough. Job pays your bills and career creates the value. Time spent to identify your strengths and plan your career will be worth in gold.