Is having a job more important than having a career?
Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.
- Simon Sinek
The above quote from Simon Sinek beautifully defines the difference between a Job & a career. Working hard for something we do not like can be classified as a job but working hard for something we love can be considered a career. To elaborate a bit more on the topic of the difference between a job and a career; a job according to me is any task that you do to earn a living, you might like to do it or are forced to do it as you have no other option. A career is a job that you want to do not only to earn a living but to develop your mindset and skills around it so that you can progress and become proficient in it.
Job Vs Career
There are different ways to identify and categorize a task as a job or a career. This might help you in understanding why you are not happy with your job and evaluate which path to take that can give you a sense of fulfilment and lead you to succeed.
1. Sense of frustration Vs Sense of achievement
It is not every time that you get to do the job that you enjoy doing. Many constraints in salary, difficulty in finding a job, personal commitments, relocation, family, etc force you to take up a job that is your only option at that moment. So we take it without giving much thought to the fact if you want to develop and grow in that area or not. But slowly a sense of frustration starts to build up with time and you feel stuck up in a dark lonely never-ending tunnel with no light at the other end. That job does not give you a sense of satisfaction but makes you feel lost.
That would not happen if you find a job that matches your interests. You would be eager and full of energy to start your work every Monday morning and look forward to new challenges that the job brings and you will find ways of overcoming them, and in doing so, you learn more and become proficient in your field with time.
2. Short term goal Vs Long term vision
When people talk about their careers, they always think of long-term goals and ways that define what, where, and how they can achieve them. They visualize themselves growing each day in that job. When we move out of college we are full of enthusiasm to grab a job with a reputed company that pays well. At the beginning of our career, you cannot be too selective in choosing a job of your choice. If you have two job offers, one, a high-paying job offer with an MNC in a department not of your interest and another low-paying job offer with a start-up but in the area of your interest, which job would you take? Most of us would go for a high paying job with an established company even if we have to work in an area which is not our interest, thinking that it is just the beginning of our career and we might later on get the opportunity to switch to the job of our own choice. Here you have to choose between a promising job versus an unstable job of your interest.
If you choose a stable job with the MNC, you might start looking for a new job soon and whenever an opportunity comes, you will switch to your dream job where you want to grow and climb up the ladder. Once your long-term career objective is aligned with that of your job, then you will look for stability and growth. At that point, you can consider yourself on the right career path.
3. Gaining Money Vs Gaining experience
If the sole purpose of why you wake up every day and go to work is to earn money and you do not find any other motivation to drive you to do your work, then it's time to rethink if that is what you want to do in life. There needs to be something more than that salary cheque that should drive you to work. If you feel enthusiastic enough to face the challenges, solve the problems, and get the project moving ahead, then it is likely that you see yourself gaining experience and growing the skill sets that help you grow personally and professionally. That is when a job inches you closer to your career goals and you should try to contribute your best to the job and refine your skills, expand your knowledge and climb up the ladder.
4. Shortcuts Vs deep analysis
Another way to identify if the job that you are doing is the one made for you is your approach to doing the tasks at hand. If a new challenge at work gives you stress and you try to find an easy way around to give a quick fix solution then, that job might just be a job for you and you would never develop the skills that are required to make that job turn into a career for you. If you want the job to lead you towards achieving your career goals, then you will take a different approach to deal with work crises. For eg, you might go to every length to understand the problem and come up with a profitable solution even if might demand more efforts and time from your side.
5. Searching for a new job Vs Progressing within that job
Does it happen often that you boot your computer to work but ,unknowingly, you land up on a job site and find yourself looking for the right job instead? Well, if it happens quite frequently, then it is time for you to understand that you are not motivated enough to continue doing that work and want to get rid of the job as soon you find a new one. But searching for a job does not always mean that you are not happy with it. It can be that you look for a job in the same field as yours not because you do not like your work but because you want to grow in that same field but in some other company. There is a difference in the intention and the will between finding a job to run away from your existing one and the one to look for better job opportunities elsewhere with the same career.
Whether you consider your work as a job or as a career depends upon your attitude The job that you do not like can be a dream job for many others and they would be happy to take your role and vice versa. There can also be a scenario that you start with a job that you do not like but eventually, you acquire the skills and become proficient in it that you decide to make it your career. A career is an aggregate of all your tasks, jobs, experiences, and skills that you have acquired by working over the years that prepare you to move towards your ambition in life. Review your career goals periodically and allow yourself to be flexible to change your career path in case the existing one opens a new door towards success. It can be that as you move along, you might discover the untapped potential within you that can lead you to the top of your career ladder.
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