I Quit!: Jobs vs. Careers

Navigating the workforce can be daunting. How you maneuver can make the difference between feeling fulfilled or it can make you think, “Why/How did I get here?”

One thing that can sort out those feelings is realizing whether you have a job or a career. When designing an ideal life, many discover that although the terms job and career are used interchangeably, they are not one and the same. Thinking that they can be catalysts to making ill-fated life decisions.

Consider the differences between working a job and having a career.

A job is simply that: a job. You perform predetermined tasks, duties (more like chores, depending on who you ask). It is a means to an end. In this experience, the job is simply a means to an end to either make or save more money, to increase income in order to qualify for a purchase or obtain credit.

At a job:

  • You view it as a short-term goal. It’s a stepping stone, if that. The first chance you get, you’re out of there.
  • Outside of finances, you are not fully invested.
  • You only give the bare minimum, as you feel not much more is needed. If there is, you’re reluctant to give it.
  • Little to no advancement opportunities.

A career is a series of jobs, experiences, and opportunities working in tandem to create a part of your life design that you have more input and control over. The concentration is not necessarily on money as a career is part of what a person feels purposed to do.

In a career:

  • You work to gain experiences and build momentum within your field of expertise. A series of jobs, opportunities, and experiences amount to a career if you plan accordingly.
  • There is usually a long-term goal and an end game involved. For example, if you are studying to become an attorney, you may work in a law firm as a secretary or file clerk to have the experience of working in a legal office until you are qualified to move toward becoming an attorney.
  • You are more invested and therefore more motivated with moving up within your profession.
  • As you progress, better, life-sustaining pay (with benefits and perks) are likely imminent.
  • You invest more sweat equity into the position.

Sounds simple, right? Not quite. Just when you think that you have this “job versus career” business figured out, there are one big caveat that you need to consider:

  • Jobs can sometimes lead to careers. A career once achieved can start to feel more like a job when life priorities and perspectives change. Only you will know when you need to shift. Usually these experiences can lead to the desire to try entrepreneurship or a career change altogether.


Whatever you decide, be sure not to just litter you life with jobs but rather take the time to establish a career path. Join me on my next podcast as I discuss how I navigated through this very thing.

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