Job vs Career: What’s The Difference?
We all know the saying, “Do what you love, and love what you do.” We all get jobs at some point in our lives, and some even make the advancement to careers after gaining experience and more in-depth training. But is there a difference between a career and a job, and what are those differences?
In short, a job is a short-term position you have in one given moment, while a career is a long-term path that sums up all your professional experience.
In this guide, we’ll cover some significant differences between a career and a job and how knowing what to expect from both will be beneficial.
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What Is the Difference Between a Job and a Career?
Working, in general, can be hard and require long hours of physically and mentally demanding tasks that need to be completed. Sometimes the work is enjoyable, and sometimes not. There are some significant differences between a job and a career, even though both require your time and effort.
A job can give you an idea of what direction you want to go for a career and can give you experience, references, and time to work towards your career goals. Suppose the career you have in mind requires a more advanced education, such as becoming a medical professional.
In that case, you can start to save up for that education and accumulate experience by working in jobs that are similar to your chosen career path.
What Is a Job?
A job is a short-term means of making money and oftentimes doesn’t require intense training or education. Most people start looking for jobs as teenagers when they want some extra money to buy things.
The nature of these jobs can be part time or full time, but they are often merely short-term until the person makes a firm decision on the career they want to embark on.
A job isn’t a way to become extremely wealthy but is a stepping stone for you to advance yourself further by getting hands-on experience and learning new skill sets if you don’t have any yet.
For example, working in a restaurant you could build on your cooking or customer service skills. In a nutshell, a job is transitional and isn’t the final destination of where an employee wants to be.
Overall, a job can be seen as a means of providing for your livelihood, paying bills, buying food and clothes, etc. While some jobs do offer a way for you to climb the ladder within that company or offer more advanced training, they are mainly a basic means of income and minimal experience and training.
What is a Career?
A career focuses more on a specific path rather than a broad area like a job. It requires more training or education, and more experience that is focused on one area. For example, working at a fast-food joint doesn’t require specialized education or skill sets, but being a veterinarian requires years of education, training, and experience working with animals.
You can also build a career in a large company like Amazon that promotes employees up the ranks when they qualify through experience and knowledge.
Careers are long-term and can be a slower path, but the rewards are worthwhile financially and personally. A career is something you want to do while still gaining financially and continuing to grow in skills and knowledge.
What Are the Major Key Differences?
There are some significant differences in training and education between a career and a job. A job will give you only enough training to perform the required work.
For example, if you’re a dishwasher at a restaurant, you’ll only be trained on how to run the equipment and how to do basic maintenance. There are no advancement opportunities for that specific job position, nor is there any way to advance your income or any benefits that comes with the position.
In a career, you can advance by doing courses and gaining certificates for advancing your knowledge and in turn, advancing up the ladder for those gains.
By climbing the ladder, you gain advances in opportunities and in paygrade. You also receive more benefits from a career, such as 401k plans, medical insurance, and yearly bonuses from the company.
What To Do First: Career or Job?
While it may not always be possible to start a career right away or begin working on the required education for your chosen path, getting a job first has its pros. You can gain the financial support you need until you can begin or advance your career.
Jobs provide short-term financial stability, can be changed quickly, and can even provide you with the basic fundamentals for your career if it’s related to or within the same industry. Some jobs can directly lead to careers within the company and open doors to other chances.
Why It’s Important to Understand the Difference
Having a career goal in mind is a great way to keep focus and prioritize what skills you want to learn first, and if you find a job that can give you the base training or set of skills. A career will give you life-long job security and can grow as you advance towards your end goal.
Technology is always evolving, and some jobs end up obsolete as machines and technology are invented to make processes faster and more efficient, replacing the human worker factor from the equation.
A career is a safety net and can expand into different areas as demanded or required. This is why it is important to understand what a career is so you can plan forward adequately.
Oftentimes, a job is not enjoyable for long, if at all. It is more a short-term necessity that one tolerates. A career is more focused on what you enjoy. When you understand the difference between both, you will be able to evaluate your current employment and make plans for your future.
There is no doubt that a job is significantly different from a career. Understanding the differences will help you ponder about what career you want for the long haul and what jobs you can take on in the meantime to help you attain the knowledge and experience to embark on your career.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.