difference between careers and jobs

Difference between a Job and a Career

Long gone were the days where the majority of people leave school, get a job, and stay with that employer for the rest of their working lives. Of course, this does still happen, but it is far more common nowadays for people to hold multiple jobs throughout the duration of their career, or indeed careers (plural).

The interesting thing is that you can be sacked from your job but never from your career. No one can take your career away from you. However, your attitude on your job determines how far you will go in your career. It is very important to learn certain work skills to prepare you for your future ahead. But before we delve into the difference between a job and a career, let’s discuss what a job and a career is.

Definition of Job

A job is defined as a task or duty performed by a person for getting a salary or wages. There is a fixed time for doing a job. Rights, duties, functions, responsibilities and powers are associated with each job. With regards to jobs, it is usually found in employee-employer set-ups in organizations.

Undoubtedly, a job is one of the best and convenient sources of income to earn a livelihood. That is why, most of the young people get jobs, right after completing their education to earn a steady income, gain some experience, become independent and settled as soon as possible. Normally, people hold a job for a certain period. Once the purpose for which they joined the job is accomplished or when they get some better opportunity for life, the job holders will leave the job.

Definition of Career

A career is defined as the occupation endeavoured by a person, for an important period of his or her life. It usually involves engaging in a series of jobs over a person’s life span. It is also the long-term goal of an individual’s life. A career is not confined to a job only, but it is a course of life, in which a person employs his knowledge, skills, education, and competencies.

Having a career is not just about making money to earn bread and butter or put a roof over one’s head. It is something bigger. It’s what a person loves to do, it is what keeps a person going even when things are tough, it is connected to a person’s purpose, it is what a person is interested in, it is what a person is passionate about, it is what keeps a person working without getting distracted, it is something for which a person can take any kind of risk, it is what a person wants to see himself as, in the future.

When it comes to the career path, people pay more attention towards the job satisfaction rather than money. They will learn new things, research about their career as much as they can, make relations with clients or other parties and create prospects. The career of a person depends on the person’s history and plans.

So, now that we have touched on what a job and a career is, let’s take a look at the differences between a job and career. They include:

  • A job is a trip, but career is a journey.
  • In a job you invest your time and skills to earn money, but when it is about career, you invest your time in following your dreams.
  • A job is when you work for a fixed time. On the other hand, a career is flexible, a career makes you sleep late at night and wake up early just to learn and explore more and more.
  • A job is a means for securing the needs of life, but a career is an end in itself, i.e. what a person endeavours until the person retires.
  • People hold a job, for a short term while a career is seen as a long-term goal of an individual.
  • A job requires education and skills. On the other hand, a career needs specialisation in a specific field.


Although it might be clear, that a job is very different from a career, there can be some jobs in a person’s career. It is safe to also say that there is only one career in a person’s life that incorporates all the jobs. More so, a career not only gives you money but also opportunities to do what you love as well as get satisfaction. One basic difference between job and career is that job is what you are doing at present, but career is what you have done so far and what you are going to do next.

In conclusion, a job can be taken away but a career cannot. A job is fixed and cannot change – that’s why jobs can become obsolete. A career is adaptable and can take many twists and turns to fit in with personal, societal and technological changes. A career encompasses our whole lives. When one career avenue is closed to us we need to take stock of the skills and experience we have built up in other areas of our whole career. Meditate on this quote,

Man gives you a job but God gives you a career…

Some Credits:




Have your read my earlier article on Rejection: How to cope with it? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Share them with me in the comment section below.

By Emmaline Datey:
Speaker | Trainer | Mentor | Coach | Writer | Consultant in areas of Leadership – HR – Business – Motivation
Emmaline Datey is a leadership development specialist, life coach, and a people & culture strategist. She works in the fastest growing media company, EIB Network as Group HR &Admin Manager holding a certificate in HRM from Valley View University as well as a Professional Certificate in HR from Human Resource Certification Institute, USA.

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