Job Vs. Career

By Jack Williams

What’s the difference between a career and a job?

You often hear the words “career” and “job” used interchangeably, but they are two different things.

A job is something you do to in the short term to earn cash. It’s filling a work role within a business exchange for money.

A career, though, is a long-term pursuit of a lifelong ambition. You may or may not need any particular education or special training to do a job but a career requires some sort of specialized training that develops an individual’s ability to do the work that career entails. In some cases, this training can come in the form of experience.

So, being a photographer would be considered a career, but working in a photo lab (something that will probably become extinct in the next few years) would be considered a job. See the distinction there?

Now, that photo lab employee may decide to work alongside a professional photographer to gain experience and eventually become a photographer him or herself.

You don’t necessarily need to go to university or college to end up with a career—you can work your way up with lots of hard work.

Is there more stability in a job or a career?

This is a tricky question because job stability depends on so many factors. Job or career stability depends on where you live, what line of work you’re in, and how heavily saturated the market is with practitioners of that industry.

If you aren’t interested in pursuing a career and you plan to work a job or some combination of jobs as you go through life (food and beverage server, liquor store clerk, road worker), you will probably have no problem finding a job. How stable the job is will depend on how good an employee you are and how much need there is for your job. (Some jobs are becoming obsolete, so the job outlook in 10 years from now will look different than the job outlook is currently.)

Pursuing a career can be a bit of a gamble, too. You generally invest years into honing your skills and by the time you embark on that career, the outlook might be different than it was when you first decided on your path. However, if you plan ahead and study labor trends, you can better your chances of getting yourself on a good stable career path.

Do you earn more money in a job or a career?

In general, a career allows you to earn more money than a job, but not in all cases. Usually, when you have a career, you earn a salary—a set amount of money in exchange for a certain amount of time. You may bring in a bi-weekly salary of $750 in your career, with the understanding that you will work approximately 80 hours in that time frame.

With a job, you would be given an hourly wage and hours may vary. So, you might earn $12 per hour rather than being given an agreed upon sum every two weeks. Your pay usually varies with a job, so your income will probably change from week to week.

Some people pursue a career for reasons other than salary, too. A priest, for instance, enters the priesthood after receiving a calling. He’s usually not in it for the salary. A missionary pursues his or her career for the greater good.

So, to sum up,, most people in university or college are there in pursuit of a career. Jobs are usually something we do to earn money in the short term (maybe to help pay tuition), but that’s not to say that lots of people enjoy working jobs and saving themselves the cost and stress that often accompanies a post-secondary education.

Everyone has a different path. For some, it ends up in a career and for others, it’s a job.

What do you see for your future? What’s at the end of your path?