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No, a Job and a Career are not the Same Thing

Here at VIDM, we interact with a lot of starry-eyed students with big dreams about their life after college. A consistent confusion that we’ve noticed in their mind, is that they think jobs and careers are the same.

 Jobs vs CareerThey’re not. A full-time job is not necessarily a good career option, while a part-time job is almost never so.

A Job is something you’re doing to earn money. It could be something you enjoy or hold on to, or it could be something you want to quit as soon as possible. For most full-time jobs, it’s mostly the latter.

A career is a series of connected jobs. A good career option will always involve building up and using skills learnt in previous jobs to achieve some sort of progression. The progression could be progress up on the hierarchy; it could be more money, more freedom, more exciting work or a combination of these things. Usually, it is a combination, but it’s almost never a combination of everything.

Your career might lie in fashion designing, but your current job could be that of a tailor.

In western countries, people often have jobs without having a career and doing only a combination of full-time and part-time jobs and manage to lead a comfortable life, both because of the society and the economy. In India, however, the trend is clearly the opposite- everybody strives for a career. Everybody wishes for a stable set of employments that steadily progress and thereby increase the standard of living.

That, however, is slowly changing. The generation of Indians brought up after the relative prosperity of 1991 are slowly asking for more from their careers than just stability and money. There were always sets of people who would do jobs to pay their bills while following their badly paid passions, which they would refer to as their careers and this number has increased dramatically over the past decade or so.

Because these people don’t typically invest enough energy and time into building up their skills, they don’t progress quickly enough in their jobs to have a successful career. But the flipside is that they do what they love.

So what’s the right thing to do? There can never be any standard answer for this. It comes down to the individual, and it also majorly depends upon time and circumstances. It’s common for students to go down one career path only to change later because they changed or they realized that they didn’t actually like what they thought they like.

The only think piece of advice we can give us- be open to the fact things may change, and make contingencies for that.

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