The benefits of choosing a career far out weigh that of choosing a Job. Although we subconsciously use these terms interchangeable, the two are actually dissimilar. What’s the difference? While some individuals aimlessly search for any job opportunity that comes along, those who have a chosen profession are looking for something specific and that offers long-term rewards. And that puts the latter at a greater advantage over those who lack knowledge, skills, and educational requirements needed to reap steady employment. Anyone can get a job but not everyone is professionally or academically prepared for a career. You wouldn’t just walk into a company and say, “I would like to apply for a career”, of course not. That’s because you would need to academically prepare yourself for a career before you can apply acquired knowledge and skills. A career doesn’t happen overnight but it takes time to build and requires patience, risk-taking, and perseverance. On the contrary, you can request to apply for a job that does not require education, specific knowledge, or skills. This is not to say that having a job is bad or to be looked down upon. Anytime someone shows dedication to his/her job, it’s admirable. The main purpose of this article is to demonstrate a clear distinction between a career and a job.
Some don’t have a clear understanding of what a career is. A career is more than just a job; it’s a rewarding future. This implies that you have credentials that inevitably award you choices that others who are just looking for any job, don’t have. When you select to attend a learning institution to gain knowledge in a specific discipline, you are preparing for a satisfying career. You set goals for yourself and strive to attain those goals. Your degree, once awarded, will validate that you’ve met the requirements to graduate. Accounting, law, teaching, engineering, computer technology, human services, human resources, hospitality, health care, culinary art, and pharmacology are all examples of careers that require a specific degree and knowledge before one can obtain work in that field. Some individuals choose to pursue more than one career to fall back on, and that’s even better, especially in these tough economic times. Also, depending upon the career, some individuals may need to go back to school to enhance a current profession or choose a career that is in demand. And some may need to expand their job search due the competitive job market.
Some benefits of having a career, is job security, (particularly a career that’s in demand), being in a better position to dictate your salary thus having higher earning potential, and greater opportunity for advancements. Individuals with careers can also network and connect with other professionals who share the same career interest to strengthen marketability and to learn of new job opportunities as they arise. Career folks also experience greater job satisfaction because they are doing what they like.
Having a job for the purpose of collecting a paycheck is not the same as having a career. You may not need specific skills and training to be hired for some jobs. Understandably, some have meager jobs because they lack the requirements needed to qualify for a professional position and so they accept whatever. Some students work a full-time job because they don’t know what they want to major in yet. And some students are working part-time jobs to help defray the cost of their college expenses. And yet others work odd jobs to help pay off debt. However, in some cases you can turn a job into a career if you desire. If you have been on your job for a great length of time you are somewhat at an advantage because you have gained knowledge and experience by working there. You have actually developed a skill. But, you would probably have to go back to school to obtain any degree requirements or certifications if you choose to make this a career, especially if you want to advance upward.
A disadvantage of having a job versus a career is that in the event of a layoff, those with fewer skills are usually the first to go and may find it more difficult to find work again than those who have a solid profession. Also, individuals who work a job tend to be less happy because they get bored with the same routine and feel they are stuck. For example, if an individual works in retail but has a passion for cooking they will experience decreased job satisfaction at some point. That individual would do better enrolling in school to pursue a degree in culinary arts. This is not to say they won’t have some difficult times during their career days but at least they will be doing what they enjoy. Another disadvantage is having less earning power and/or minimal wages. And yet another disadvantage is a lesser amount of choices for new job opportunities.
Wrapping it up, having a job is good…but choosing a career is far better. If you are currently working a job without the benefits of having a career, it’s not too late to broaden your perspective. If you feel you are ready for the challenge, go for it! If you are not sure want field you would like to pursue, you can take a career analysis test to help you make an informed decision. Get enrolled in a school that offers degree program(s) and certifications that you are interested in, and one that is affordable for you.