The Difference Between a Job and a Career


Take a look at your current employment situation. Do you see it as a job or as a career? If you're not sure about which one it is for you, here are the differences: 

A job is usually unrelated to what you'd like to be doing long term. It's meant to put some cash in your pocket. At a typical job, the goal is to get the task done, and receive compensation for that task. While it's always a good idea to do the best work you are able to, a job is usually more about a paycheck more than it is about passion. 

A career is a long term series of employment, where key skills are developed that move you into higher paid and respected opportunities later on. In a career, the goal is not just to get the tasks done, but it's to network, gain experience, and build connections in your field. In your career, you likely are emotionally invested and passionate about the work. This could mean going the extra mile and doing tasks that are beyond your minimum job description in order to reach the next level. 

An Example: Serving Tables


Most people treat serving tables as a job. They go to work for the shifts that are assigned to them, complete their shift, and collect their tips. After the shift is completed, they leave the restaurant and are not emotionally invested in what is going on while they are gone. For those who look at serving tables as a job, that is what they should be doing. They are trading your time and skill for cash. This is not a lifelong passion, but a way to pay the bills while they pursue other options. 

Some people treat it more as a career, though. The restaurant industry presents some opportunities to move up to management, back of house, or even entrepreneurship. They take the work they do seriously and learn as much as they can about the industry while in their role. They are curious about how the logistics work and even offer to take on some responsibilities of becoming a lead server or assistant manager. 

So, what's the point?

You should know going into your next work related move whether or not this employment opportunity is a job or a career. This will help you in planning for the future. If you’re hoping that this employment opportunity will push you on to other things, then it's time to put the effort in and take your work seriously.