4 Primary Differences Between a Job and a Career

Why Your Job Might Not Be Your Career

by Ebunoluwa Owoniyi

When making critical decisions about your future, you need to know the differences between a job and a career. A keen knowledge of this will go a long way in helping you fulfil your dream. Nowadays, especially in Nigeria, young adults and teenagers from age 16 upwards take up significant job roles in various industries. This is to support themselves due to the economic situation in Nigeria.

Besides, most people who take up these job roles have a career that they are passionate about. The crux is that it doesn’t stop them from also having a side job. This is one of the main reasons everyone in the workspace should understand the differences between a job and a career. Now, how should they go about that?

No worries, just follow up on this piece. It will surely answer all your questions. Some people might wonder—what are the differences between a job and a career since both of them involve working and getting paid? Below is the answer.

However, let’s precede the answer by discovering what a job means.

What is a Job?

A job is a work you perform to earn money to support your basic needs. A job can be part-time, full-time or short term. You can get your pay per hour, or by setting a paycheck instead of a salary with benefits. While working on or before working on the job, you might need to learn certain skills related to the job role. Although not every job requires a special skill, degree or advanced training.

Moreso, companies expect their employees to perform their tasks on the job to get paid. At this point, jobs sound perfectly similar to careers. You might even wonder if there are indeed any differences between a job and a career. However, the fact is, there’s a difference.

A job is said to be short term if the contract between the employee and the worker ends once the project is completed. For instance, employing local cleaning contractors to clean up a newly completed building. Once the job is done, the contract ends.

On the other hand, let’s discuss a career.

Read also: 10 smart tips on how to get jobs from Upwork

What is a Career?

A career is a lifelong professional pathway you choose based on your passion. Here is where the differences between a job and a career become clearer. Your career enables you to fulfil your professional goals. Also, it requires a certain level of education and training to fulfil the set goals and ambitions.

Moreover, payments in a set career can come with enjoyable benefits beyond money, such as stock options, retirement plans, pensions and bonuses. Personal pride satisfaction and self-worth are also part of these benefits.

A chosen career can last you a lifetime. That is, you can hold several job positions under various employers in your chosen field. However, it is important to note that taking various jobs can affect your career. In the case of a job, taking several jobs cannot affect your job nature (not a career) if you are a multi-tasker. This is one of the differences between a job and a career.

5 Unique Attributes of a Job

In the course of life, not everyone loves their job at one point or the other. A study shows that only 50% of people are satisfied with how they spend their day during their job. Also, this indicates that there are some jobs more satisfying than others.

Below are some attributes of a satisfying job:

1. The job must be engaging

An engaging job is a work you do that gives you a sense of flow and belongingness. You should be able to utilize your skill and enjoy the freedom to work when and how you wish.

2. The task on the job should benefit other people

A proverb says it is better to give than to receive. When benefiting others comes in, it gives a sense of satisfaction on the job at hand. Your career doesn’t necessarily need to benefit others. This section affirms that there are indeed a lot of differences between a job and a career.

3. The job should show that you are good at what you do

When you feel good at what you do, it gives a sense of satisfaction. It also allows or gives the space for other ideas to pop up in your mind

4. Flexibility in the way and how you work

Some jobs are low paying and yet extremely choking, leaving no room for flexibility in and around the job. Some include manual labour and an unsafe working environment. Flexibility in a job allows you to create a balance and deal with all the other things. This can help to increase engagement, productivity, happiness, and focus.

You can be flexible with your job but it might not work out with your career at times. This is also one of the differences between a job and a career.

5. Negativity-free

When a job gives the barest minimum negativity, it satisfies you. However, some of the dissatisfactions one could face in a job include:

Long-distance to your place of work.

Non-appraisal/recognition on the job.

Long and unpredictable working hours.

Environmental danger or possible hazards of a job and its working environment.

Read also: Signs that your workplace is super-toxic

Differences Between a Job and a Career

Below are certain differences between a job and a career.

1. Accumulation of jobs over one’s lifetime makes up a career. That is, a career is made up of all the job roles you have taken. Regardless of whether they are in any way related or associated with one another.

2. A career is usually a lifelong such that one could spend several years working in a specific role in a particular department. You can also take up several unrelated jobs during your career pathway. This is one of the best differences between a job and a career.

3. In the course of taking several job roles alongside a career path, exposes one to various networking opportunities. This can be an added advantage to one’s career.

4. Learning is something paramount to every individual’s lifetime. Therefore, a job teaches you several lessons, skills, knowledge, and experience. Some job roles teach you to persevere while some teach tolerance, communication, writing skills, grit and hard work.

Read also: Free resources to learn skills for career development


Even though hard work pays off, taking different job roles can also affect your career in unexpected ways. On the other hand, it can open up different opportunities and benefits for your chosen career part. So, there’s always a good and bad to every job role you take. This is one of the salient differences between a job and a career.

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About Author

Avatar of Ebunoluwa Owoniyi
Ebunoluwa Owoniyi
Ebunoluwa Owoniyi is a student studying microbiology, a prospective graphics and fashion designer, she loves to write to enrich human knowledge.

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