While jobs and careers(Chemical Engineer) both enable us to earn enough money to support ourselves and our families, they do not mean the same thing. It is important to know whether you’re looking for a job or for a career to plan your professional goals. This article will explain the difference between a job and a career, how one can affect the other and how to turn a job into a career.
What is a job?
A job is work you perform to earn money to support your basic needs. It can be full-time or part-time and may be short-term. You might earn an hourly wage or a set paycheck rather than a salary with benefits. You might need to learn certain skills connected with that role, but not all jobs require a specialized degree or advanced training.
Companies expect their employees to perform their individual jobs in exchange for regular payment and to be responsible for the duties laid out for them.
You can also define a job as a short- or long-term contract between an employer and a worker. For instance, a company hires a local contractor to complete an office renovation job. They agree upon payment terms, and the job ends once the project is complete.
What is a career?
A career is a long-term professional journey you may determine based on your passions. It is the path you embark upon to fulfill your professional goals and ambitions. You may require a certain level of education or training to achieve these goals. Individuals pursuing careers often have set salaries with benefits such as stock options, retirement plans, pensions and bonuses. They also gain benefits beyond money, such as personal pride, work satisfaction and self-worth.
A career might last for your entire life. You could hold numerous jobs under many employers in your chosen industry that you progress through during your career.
How does a job affect your career?
You will likely hold many jobs throughout your career, even if you don’t have a set career path in mind when you first join the workforce. It may be helpful to consider every position you fill as a step in your life’s work. Your job can affect your career in these ways:
Jobs make up your career
A career consists of all the jobs you have worked, regardless of whether they are associated with each other. You could spend decades working a job in the same department as one organization. Alternatively, you could work many seemingly unrelated jobs over your lifetime, such as greenskeeper, executive assistant and information technology specialist. They all define your career and can connect you with other opportunities you are passionate about. Think of jobs as the short-term duties that can help you achieve your long-term goals.
You learn from each job
Every job you take teaches you lessons you can apply to future jobs. You will also gain a variety of skills, knowledge and experiences. For instance, maybe your job as a retail clerk taught you how to handle difficult situations with tact. Your receptionist position may have taught you good communication and customer service skills. Other roles might help develop your writing skills, develop your ability to handle rejection or teach you the value of perseverance and hard work.
Jobs provide you with networking opportunities
With each job, you build a network and community of professional contacts. If you maintain a productive and professional relationship with all your colleagues and clients you can provide yourself with the ability to reach out to these connections throughout your career.
Hard work pays off
Your current job could affect your career in unexpected ways. For this reason, try to go beyond doing the bare minimum. A positive outlook, an eagerness to learn and consistently high-quality work can set you apart, create new opportunities and earn you recommendations for future jobs.
How to turn a job into a career
If you aim to have a career, you can work toward meeting that long-term goal. These strategies can help.
Continue learning and developing
Always aim to enhance your skills and knowledge. If you know what career path you want to pursue, figure out what expertise and experience you need to get there. Once you are aware of the requirements, seek to develop your qualifications whether through practice in your current job or formal training, online courses and education. When trying to determine which skills will benefit your career most, look to successful professionals in that industry. Ask yourself what their strengths, talents or accomplishments are. Reach out to individuals with similar careers, and ask for their advice.
Get a mentor
If possible, seek out a mentor or two with an upper-level position or experience in your desired field. Ask if they will consider supporting and advising you professionally. While working with a mentor, you may plan specific questions to ask or topics to discuss, like career development. Consider your mentor’s path and whether a similar one could work for you.
Expand your network
Workshops, conferences, seminars and social events can be great places to meet professionals in your field. You can expand your network to have more resources for sharing experiences, learning, gaining advice and gaining job recommendations.
Apply for an internship
Building experience in your career field, even if it is an internship, can help you advance or break into that sector. If you are currently working as an information technology consultant but desire a career in the publishing industry, for instance, you may seek educational or certification opportunities then look for internships that can help you gain editing or production experience.
Jobs and careers are interconnected, as a lifetime of jobs makes up the career you choose. Most people start at the bottom with an entry-level or low-paying job before progressing through different jobs in their industry to gain the experience needed to meet their long-term goals. The skills and knowledge you develop in each role can contribute to success in your career.