Are you looking for a career or a job? This is a key question you may have been asked by a careers advisor, or by friends and family when you have been trying to figure out the next step in your employment. It sure is an important question to ask yourself because the answer will have a huge impact on your future. The problem is, you might not fully understand the difference between the two, and so find yourself struggling to know which is right for you at this time.
People often use the words career and job as though they mean the same thing, when in fact they really are completely different. With a job you work to earn money, it really is that simple. A company has a need for a person to fulfil a job role, then a person fills it and gets money every week or month for filling that role. A career on the other hand is much more of a long game. A career is something you are passionate about, something deep, a lifelong ambition. A career is more likely to require training courses, special education, or extensive experience. So a career might come from you working your way up through lots of different jobs, or completing lots of professional online courses or classroom work and training to become qualified enough to be in your chosen job role. To understand a little better, let’s look at the key differences between the two:
Definition – Career – ‘An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress:he seemed destined for a career as an engineer like his father’ – (source) So a career is more of a long term goal, or pursuit where a person has the opportunity to further their progress.
Job – ‘A paid position of regular employment:the scheme could create 200 jobs, a part-time job’ – (source) So a job is stable, but less of a progressive position.
Requirements – With a career you would usually need to have done some training courses, professional online courses, have specific education, qualifications or relevant experience. With a job, you may need no training at all, or if you do it is not particularly specialised.
Stability – A career is considered to be less stable than a job because a person may need or want to take risks, however those risks are commonly measured and well planned in advance. For example: you may wish to apply your specialist experience to a different industry, and so will plan tol make this change over a certain time period. You may choose to complete a certain job based on your experience, with the ability for it to advance or set back your career, but with the potential ‘wins’ to be great, therefore making it worth the risk.
With a job however, any risks will come from those providing the position – redundancies and a lack of need for employees is the key risk. Otherwise it is a stable position in that it provides a continual income.
Societal Impact – This is where career and job completely contrast and is usually the key difference leading many people to choose a career over a job. With a job you may find you get satisfaction in completing tasks, and the organisation may be making an impact in society but your part in that is minor. With a career there is often great opportunity to make a significant difference with social change, with industry progress, healthcare, science – the sky is the limit.
Which Is The Better Practical Choice?
This is very hard to answer because a lot of different things affect how you might look at this question. Your location, the industry you work in, the amount of people with your job and your individual passion and talents all come into play when assessing the stability and practicality of a job.
Realistically you will find it easy to get a job, especially if it is entry level. The level of stability you can expect should really be dependent on you turning up on time and doing a good job, however, the economy, the stability of the company you work for and the relevance of the job you do (some jobs are becoming obsolete) all affect how stable you are in your chosen position. Careers are also risky but you are much more in control of your destiny, especially if you remain up to date with training and market trends, ensuring your skills are never obsolete.
So overall, the most practical option would be a career because it provides you with the most control over your own destiny.
Is A Job Or Career Going To Earn Me More Money?
Careers are less likely to earn you more money at first, but will usually earn you more money eventually. With a job you will earn the same amount of money continually which is commonly lower than those in a specialised career, and any advances in salary or wage will be slow and limited. Of the most part, people don’t tend to pursue a career for the money. Some do, of course, but the main drivers for most people pursuing a career are happiness and making a difference in society.
So in some instances, you might get a pay off with a great wage and societal difference – like if you are a surgeon or a teacher. In some instances you might get a low wage but a fantastic happiness pay-off like if you are working as a voluntary teacher in a 3rd world country and only getting paid in food and accommodation. So really nothing is black and white, there are certainly grey areas, but of the most part, a career appears to provide the most opportunity to pay back better in money, happiness and in making a difference.
Which Is Right For You?
We all have a different path to follow in life. For some people, their co-workers, employers and regular customers make their job truly satisfying, and they stay there for life. For others, their career brings them consistent rewards and the ability to progress, which in term makes them happy. The question is, where do you want your path to lead? What is most important to you in terms of your employment? What are your ambitions in life? Which is right for you, career or job?