A Career vs. a Job: What’s the Difference?

May 19th, 2010 by Greg Goodson Leave a reply »
  • SumoMe

What is a job?

–noun: a piece of work, esp. a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price: She gave him the job of mowing the lawn.

What is a career?

–noun: an occupation or profession, esp. one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework: He sought a career as a lawyer.

What do you think of when you hear the word “job”? What about “career”? When I think of a ‘job’, the first thing that comes to mind is maybe emptying the dishwasher, or raking the leaves, or shoveling the snow off my driveway. When I think of a ‘career’, I think of a profession, a path that gets you from your college diploma and your off-campus apartment to your Maserati and your house on the golf course.

This is why I cringe when I look at the footer of websites of companies who are hiring, and instead of labeling their available employment slots as ‘careers’, they list them as ‘jobs’. I think you send the wrong message when your site shows ‘jobs’ vs. ‘careers’ (unless you are just hiring for a job, like a seasonal employee at a ski resort for example). If you don’t like either word, then what about using the phrase “employment”?

Anyways, if you are applying for a very specific ‘job’ opening at a company, be sure to ask what the career path is, because job paths don’t really exist. Companies that have ‘job’ listings are looking for a peg to fit a hole, while companies looking for a folks to have a career with them sounds a heck of a lot better. When the day comes and we hire our first employee, I’ll see that ‘jobs’ isn’t listed on our website. I want someone that can be molded, someone who performs a collection of different duties, and someone who is flexible and can learn different subjects, all while keeping their focus on where they want to be in 5 or 10 years. In return, I’ll see that we can offer the ability for the individual to grow.

Ultimately, I feel that it’s the company’s responsibility to give the employee a road map to having a successful career path. It’s the people that make the company revolve. Next time you go to interview for a ‘job’ vs. a ‘career’, play cautiously. Ask very specific questions on how the company helps it’s employees achieve their career goals.

A career is the pursuit of a lifelong ambition or the general course of progression towards lifelong goals.

A job is an activity through which an individual can earn money. It is a regular activity in exchange of payment.

Career = good, job = bad. Just a heads up!


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