Lesson 2: Job Versus Career

Activity: A Job Versus a Career

Key Considerations

Do you think a job is the same thing as a career? The words are often used interchangeably, especially during conversations about work. It is important to understand the difference and similarities between the terms as you begin to prepare for your future as a working adult.

A job is something you apply for and is typically associated with going to work to earn a paycheck. You will most likely be paid a minimum wage for each hour you work and not necessarily qualify for a benefits package which would include sick leave and health insurance. For example, if your first job as a teenager is at the movie theatre taking tickets, you wouldn’t necessarily call it your career but a job you hold to earn spending money.

Jobs are usually performed without much concern for the long-term and typically do not require special training or education. A job can help you start your career and can even turn into your career. One might even work in various jobs to learn the skills needed to pursue their career. For example, if you want to have a career as a teacher you might apply for jobs at daycares or afterschool programs to learn skills and obtain valuable experience by working with children.

A career is often perceived as a long-term commitment. Most careers will begin with an education and are often vocations or professional occupations such as a lawyer, doctor, or teacher. A career takes goal setting and may include all of your jobs, training, and experiences. A career is usually one’s lifework and is completed for a salary.

Your career path will be something you explore and decide upon either before or as you work in your first jobs. As you research, apply for, interview for, and hold your first jobs, you will learn more about your interests, skills, values, and abilities. While holding a job, you have the opportunity to develop new skills and interests that you did not previously have. Think of your work personality as something which will grow and develop over time. Knowing more about what you are good at will help you determine if you would like to continue working or if you would like to pursue a career by obtaining additional training or education at a college or technical school. Most importantly, knowing your strengths and weaknesses as well as your interests and preferences will help you to choose a job or career you will be successful at and enjoy.

Research Activity

  1. What is minimum wage in your state?
  2. What does the term salary mean?