What’s the Difference Between a Job and a Career?


Fortunately or unfortunately, we all have to think of employment at some point in our lives; and we all want to make sure we make the right decision. Whether you are applying to work for a renowned tech company like InTouch Games or wanting to get your hands dirty with a local mechanics firm with Kwik Fit, the pressing question for a lot of young adults is will the role lead to a flourishing career? Or is the role a stepping stone to fill some time? Some people believe how much you are paid differentiates between the two – but not always. Here are the key differences.

1. Duration

One of the biggest differences between a job and a career is time. A job is usually a role that is occupied for a short time such as seasonal work and summer jobs. Although these jobs may be occupied for many years, or returned to. On the other hand, a career lasts a lifetime. Even if the employee switches company, they remain in the same type of role for the long haul.

2. Hours per Week

If your interviewer has told you the role has lots of potential for promotion and is a career, be wary of this statement if it is not a full-time job. Most, if not all careers involve long full-time hours. If the role is not at least 35-hours per week, you are not applying for a career.

3. Careers are External to Employers

What this means is a career does not rely on a single company or employer. If someone has a career, they have the same career when switching employers. They will remain in the same or highly similar role when they move between companies.

4. Careers are More than Money

People who have careers are usually passionate about their line of work. While the student who serves coffee may not have a keen interest in the origins of Ghanaian coffee beans, the doctor will have an underlying desire to help other people. Moreover, while people in jobs are collecting paycheques, the rest of us in careers are collecting experiences to further our actual careers

5. Application is a Teller

The amount of effort you apply to the role is another fantastic indicator if you are in a job or the start of a career. Due to the passion and interest of the person in a career, they are more likely to go the extra mile in their work. This may include doing overtime and working from home even when not financially reimbursed for their efforts. On the other hand, when money is the only motivator is a job, these employees are more likely to do the bare minimum until it is time to clock off.

6.  Looking Sideways Vs. Looking Up

We would all like to be paid more handsomely. This may be why there has been a rise in people having side gigs to add to their income. When in a job, people look sideways to get more money. They search job sites for other jobs that may offer better working conditions and more money. Compare this to people with careers who will look up to increase their salary. These people look to stay in the same company and move up the ladder.

These are six of the best ways that a job differs from a career. There are other indicators such as job satisfaction, aligning values with the company and the feeling we get on a Monday morning. So, are you in a job or a career?


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