Do You Want a Job or a Career?

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We constantly hear people who say they are looking for a job, and rarely do we hear them say they are looking for a career. Many people have fallen on hard times in the current economy, and just want something to get them some income, so any old job will do. There are some though that do not really know what the difference is between a job and a career. For some, a career means you kept a job for a really long time and then retire from it. Let’s look at it more closely to gain a better knowledge of the differences.


A career is what you engage in to reach your lifelong goals. It has a long-term view of things, and is a pursuit towards something you are ambitious about. A job on the other hand is something you do to earn money, tends to be more short term based, and is usually just a service in exchange for a payment arrangement, with little to no ambition for it. Of course, some people have careers that they have kind of fallen into and they do just because they have acquired the skills for it and they get paid well for it, though they lack any love or ambition for the task. A truly successful and fulfilling career usually requires a love and desire for the task, and if that is lacking, it may be time to consider a path change.


A career usually requires you to devote time to acquire the education and skills necessary to perform the task proficiently. A job does not necessarily require the same type of extensive education or training. A job can become a career if you enter it and apply yourself to learning the skills and education to become more proficient. Many ground-floor opportunities do just that, and as long as you take advantage of the situation and apply yourself you have the possibility of taking that job and making it a real career.


A career, due to your longevity at it, can often mean a higher income scale, but it may also provide benefits beyond those that are strictly monetary. To some people, the satisfaction of the task has many benefits too, and so the situation includes larger aspects than just financial compensation. A good example of this is something I see often, and that is when people with specialty skills volunteer to use them to help other less fortunate people, for no financial compensation at all. A job tends to be mostly about the exchange of services for pay, and usually does not have a connection with any other benefits.


In essence, a job is something that you choose to do, are obligated to do and in exchange are compensated with a financial return. A career on the other hand is something that is done with skills and a desire to accomplish the task, with or without financial compensation.


One writer on Diff-en gives this comparison example: “In Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead, the main protagonist, Howard Roark seeks a career and his best friend Peter Keating was only looking for a job. That’s why in the end Roark built some of the finest buildings using his skills, experience and imagination. On the other hand, his friend Peter Keating worked only on old architecture. He worked on it only to support his basic needs.” So, as you are out their looking for that position, if possible seek something that you may wish to turn into a career; something you love to do and can be passionate about achieving success within. “You can apply for a job, but you can’t apply for a career. A job is given to you; a career is made by you,” says the Job Interview Site.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at


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  • Antonio S
    Antonio S
    In theory this article has merits. In practice and actual application it does not. In today's depressed economy MANY well educated professionals are in survival mode and their MAIN concern is that of obtaining stable employment. One has the LUXURY of being philanthropic when the economy is booming HOWEVER when faced with "economic" survival social volunteerism gets placed on the back burner and the taking care of # 1mentality takes over.
  • Kathy F
    Kathy F
    That is a very fine article and is so true. Because I myself is seeking for employment,any company that will hire me where I applied for. I have 80 applications in I've gotten no where with employment.
  •  Michael A. D
    Michael A. D
    The food service industry has a built in 1,000 hrs of time for part time workers and they are not hiring full time workers. This is a ploy to limit the hrs worked which can be adjusted as they see fit to benefit the store and the union. The employee has to get another part time job to make ends meet. I know because I'm in that situation. It's a scam which is allowed to exist because the labor Department allows it.
  • Scott C
    Scott C
    This article is so true. Most people say "job" whereas a career is more of an open-minded outlook!! To expound on!!
  • Jyoti T
    Jyoti T
    The article is very inspiring. It helps jobseekers to know what career exactly means and how much difference it makes in our life.
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