Job vs. Career

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Growing up I remember being told, “You go to school, to get a job, to earn money.” This thought process stayed with me until my Freshman year of college. It was at this time that the idea of getting a job, just to earn money, didn’t seem at all that appealing. 

I had jobs, multiple ones in fact, just to pay for my education that was in return going to get me, yet again, another job. I was starting to realize I wanted and needed more than just simply, another job.

A job, broken down, is a way to earn money. You may love, hate or feel indifferent about this job, but at the end of the day, your goal, is your paycheck. This means that one month you may be waitressing and the next month you are working at a library. Neither of these jobs are connected, nor are they advancing you. Instead you need to be looking at each job as a way to advance you to your greater goal, a career.  

Career is defined as, an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life with the opportunity for progress. The key word in this definition is progress.

A career can be built in two ways. The first way is by finding a job and a company in an area of work you are passionate about, and then within that company, you begin training and enhancing your skill set to grow and advance from one position to the next. This may include promotions or even adding additional tasks to your current job description as you learn more. Never settle within your current position because there is always more to learn.

Ultimately your career goal would be to reach the highest position you can within that company and then once you have reached your peak point, you find another company that you can do the same process with, growing vertically, not horizontally.

The second way you can build your career is by finding and taking jobs that will enhance your current skill set and help you in areas that you may not be as strong in. For example, you know that your end goal is to be in a Director position managing a sales team. Skills that would help you get to this position would be customer service focused, problem solving oriented and team management driven. 

Working in the food industry is one of the best places to start.  You are required to sell the product you are serving, provide customer service, solve angry customers problems, be rejected, work long hours, and have days where you want to quit. This is not going to be your forever job, but it is going to look good on a future job application and show an employer that you have been trained in skills required to complete the job you are applying for.

A career is not something that happens over night. It may take 10-15 years of hard work and multiple jobs for you to begin creating and building your career, but it is only going to happen as long as you have an end goal in mind and know what you are working towards. As soon as I realized each job I had was going to have an impact on my career, I began to strategically apply to different jobs. Knowing I wanted to work in Sales and Marketing I applied for waitressing jobs, my universities magazine team and the universities call center. I also knew I wanted to have more than one job at a time to show I knew how to manage my time and could multitask. 

If you have not thought about your career, start by writing down all the jobs you have had and what you liked and didn’t like about each of them. Once you have your list, write down your dream job, and then see what is missing between your current work experience and your end goal. As Colin Powell once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

By: Christa Groezinger

 

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