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Job vs. career; pay attention to the difference

What is the difference between a job and a career?

What is the difference between a job and a career? A paycheck, an earning, a way to make a living well we all need that security. Nevertheless what we do in order to earn a living is it also rewarding? What we do everyday does it offer a sense of achievement? We cannot underestimate “an honest day’s work”. However we often underestimate our ambition. The brutality of reality often takes away from our ambition and forces us to accept mediocrity as the chosen path. We sacrifice our vision for survival, we trade dreams for the illusion of security and comfort. It is a steep price.

We sacrifice so much to make a living, we give up a tremendous amount of our lives to remain at a job for paychecks. As years pass we feel trapped. But does it have to be that way? Is it possible to pursuit your dream while making a living until they become one and same? There are many who are working jobs which align with their desired career path.

Let’s explore

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Often we are choosing a job over a career path? Are we limiting our options by holding onto jobs only for paychecks? Yes, absolutely. We need to pay bills, pay rent, put food on the table. No way around it. It’s part of life. But day in day out limiting ourselves to an option that has no promise of advancements is a mistake. Now no way am I suggesting give up your job, the bills would pay themselves. But definitely don’t give up on that search of finding an ambitious path.

I am speaking from personal experience, for years I worked for a company where I traded years of my life for paychecks. I was so comfortable being comfortable that I didn’t really try hard enough to find a career path that would give me a sense of greater purpose. Every now and then I submitted resumes for a better position and got turned down. Most of the times I got turned down because I only had experience in one company, one line of work.

My experience was consistent but not versatile. My skill set was limited because I did the same thing for years. There was an advantage, I had job security. But I made the ultimate mistake of accepting security over challenging myself. Looking back I am grateful for being able to pay my bills, having a roof over my head. But I regret that years I spent at a job, that’s all that came out of my time, comfort and security. Took me a while before I learned this lesson, “nothing great comes from the comfort zone”.

Growth and challenges

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Like everything in this world growth is crucial. And growth comes from adversity and challenges not comfort zones. Progress takes time and effort Many of us thought going to school getting a good education would help us find a good career. How many of you found it to be accurate? Don’t get me wrong, no way do I feel education is not incredibly important. But education doesn’t often train us for a career prospect. We learn, we expand our knowledge and thinking by going to school. However we do not develop any marketable skill set from education in some if not most cases. A bachelors degree in computer science doesn’t give us all the skill set to be a successful Chief Information Officer. The degree certainly provides us knowledge about information technology which is critical to the C I O role, but the role itself depending on the industry could demand a lot more. Skill set help develop problem solving, contribute analytics. Combining skill set with knowledge is the key to ensuring success.

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Academic larning is important so is developing a skillset that helps building the fundamentals for an ambitious career path. Most successful individuals see things the rest do not, we often call it a vision. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos they all saw something the rest of the world didn’t. Their visions didn’t come from book learning it came from a very profound ambition. One issue I have even now most of our education approaches are so stunningly one dimensional. We learn from professors yet in organizational context we learn from trainers. Years spent in school help us build our knowledge however once graduated we are uncertain how to interpret that knowledge in the real world. This disconnect isn’t helping anyone. The aforementioned greats found ways to utilize their talents into success by applying their intuition and perseverance. They were comfortable being against the odds. Their success came despite doubts and road blocks. Their destiny was set by their confidence and will. A career that allows us to thrive gives us the choice to ponder on our abilities and work on overcoming challenges.

Don’t limit yourself

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Challenge your limits do not limit yourself, I am sure many of us heard it over and over. If a Harvard dropout could build a social media platform that changed the world, if an electrical engineer ends up building the largest online retailer in the world what do you think your potential could be? Sometimes being realistic about what to want our of life robs us from being the the best version of ourselves. We are surrounded by doubters disguised as realists, so we need to be the visionary for our own sake. Yes reality is paying bills, making a living matter and critical but life doesn’t have to end in mediocrity. We could at least make an effort everyday.

Conclusion:

Don’t trade short term for a long term goal. Don’t sway from your ambition. A job might be the means to to en end however a career is a path to achieving a life long goal. Don’t deprive yourself an opportunity to leave a mark on this world, your community or just a hanf full of people. Never stop chasing that goal even when odds are stacked against you. It’s never too late.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

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