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What Are the Differences between Jobs and Careers?

Alex Tree
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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The differences between jobs and careers can be nonexistent or well defined, depending on how a person views his or her current occupation. A job is normally viewed as an occupation taken to earn money, but with little to no potential of advancement. Jobs are often seen as methods of getting by because the employee does not plan on keeping a job long-term. Careers are series of jobs; for example, being a teacher’s aid, a primary school teacher, and finally a university professor is a career path in education. Some people view careers as any job with potential for advancement, even if that advancement is not in the same field.

Most jobs come with some opportunity of getting a promotion, but the job might not be perceived as a career for a variety of reasons. It could be because the employee dislikes the field or has no interest in staying once he or she achieves a personal goal. Alternatively, the promotion might be difficult or next to impossible to get because of high competition. In some cases, the job is a dead end until people in higher positions retire, which may be unlikely to happen soon. Of course, some jobs are simply dead ends with rare exceptions; for example, being a mascot for a school’s sports team is usually not a prerequisite for anything but being a mascot elsewhere.

Jobs and careers also differ in how long they are undergone. Many people and dictionaries define a career as a path taken for the majority of a person’s life; for example, 20 years as a teacher may be considered being a career educator. This can refer to the person’s occupations or, in some cases, educational career as student. In addition, some people take careers more seriously than a job; for example, they might put more effort into a career, but complete only the minimum on a job.

On the other hand, jobs and careers are the same in a lot of aspects. A job can easily become a career in most cases, and a career can sometimes become just a job. In short, the differences between jobs and careers depends a lot on what the employee hopes to achieve, his or her opinions on what a career is, and how long he or she plans to stick to one occupation. While a line can usually be drawn between the two, sometimes the differences are not easily defined.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and WiseGeek contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
Discussion Comments
Alex Tree
Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and WiseGeek contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
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