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Is a Job the Same as a Career?

Having a career means you have education, experience, and jobs in one field or career cluster. Not having a career means most of your jobs are in completely different areas. It also can mean you are not advancing in pay or responsibility as you move from job to job.

career professional

What's a Job vs. a Career?

A job can be just going to work to earn a paycheck. A career means that each of your jobs, experiences, and training programs is helping you advance in pay or responsibility. In the end, is your work experience and education leading you somewhere? Or are you just going from job to job with no plan?

The real difference between a job and a career is your attitude.

  • People who want a career are always thinking about their long-term goals. They are thinking about what they can do now to make those goals happen in the future.
  • Beginning job seekers often must work hard for little money. It might take a few years to earn bigger paychecks and have more interesting job duties, but these lower-level jobs can lead to great opportunities.

Think of it this way: If life were a video game, a job would be just one level. Having a career means that you are committed to playing the game to get better over time and advance to higher levels.

How Do You Advance in Your Journey?

Think of your career journey as moving along a path or climbing a ladder. Each step of the ladder could be a job that gives you valuable experiences.

  • At one job, you might learn new skills.
  • At another, you might gain a new interest.

As you climb the ladder, you get closer to your goal.

How Do You Manage Your Career?

The choices you make now will affect your future. All of your activities, volunteer work, and part-time jobs are steps in your career path. Keep these things in mind: