Career vs. Job


A person usually holds several jobs in their career. It is usually easier to change jobs in the same field of work that define ones career. However, switching careers is more difficult and may require the person to start at the bottom of the ladder in the new career.

Comparison chart

Edit this comparison chart



What is it? A career is the pursuit of a lifelong ambition or the general course of progression towards lifelong goals. Job is an activity through which an individual can earn money. It is a regular activity in exchange of payment.
Requirements Usually requires special learning that includes individualized components that develop abilities beyond that which training is capable of. Education or Special training may or may not be required
Risk taking A career may not mean stability of work as it encourages one to take risks. The risks are often internal and therefore planned. A job is “safe”, as stability of work and income is there. However shifting priorities, especially in resource jobs, can abruptly change the demand and require relocation which is an unstable factor. Risks may be completely external.
Time Long term Short term
Income Varies depending on value to society or to some other entity. Non-monetary benefits may be higher. Salary is more common. Varies by demand. More likely to be wage.
Contribution to society May have high value as social change/progress may be possible. May actually have a negative impact when counterproductive social practices are continued in the name of protecting jobs.

Contents: Career vs Job

edit Definitions of job and career

“Job” is defined as

  1. a piece of work, esp. a specific task done as part of the routine of one's occupation or for an agreed price.
  2. a post of employment; full-time or part-time position.
  3. anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility. It usually is considered to pertain to remunerative work (and sometimes also formal education).

A job is defined as anything a person is expected or obliged to do; a piece of work, especially a specific activity done as part of the routine of one's occupation or for an agreed price. Through a job a person can earn to support her basic needs and family or friends. A job can also be viewed as a contract between the employer and the employee. In commercial enterprises, the basic purpose of a job is to create profits for the employer, and the employee contributes labor to the enterprise, in return for payment of wages, or stock options etc.

"Career" is defined as

  1. an occupation or profession, esp. one requiring special training, followed as one's lifework.
  2. a person's progress or general course of action through life or through a phase of life, as in some profession or undertaking

edit Example of career vs. job

In Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead, the main protagonist, Howard Roark seeks a career and his best friend Peter Keating was only looking for a job. That’s why in the end Roark built some of the finest buildings using his skills, experience and imagination. On the other hand, his friend Peter Keating worked only on old architecture. He worked on it only to support his basic needs.

edit History of professional employment

In the earlier era, before modernism, many workers took up a single lifelong position (a place or role) in the workforce, and the concept of an evolving career had little or no meaning. But with the increasing use of technology and the Internet, this mindset has changed. By the late 20th century, choices of different streams of education allowed planning a career from a very early stage in life.

edit Time horizon of a job vs. career

“Career” by definition refers to a string of work performed over the long term , whereas a job is for short term. One may take up a job to fulfill his daily needs but it may not be the course of action he wants for his life. So a job is short term.

edit Multiple Careers and Jobs

Today, having multiple careers is the growing trend. These multiple careers can either be concurrent (where a worker has two simultaneous career options) or sequential (where a worker adopts a new career after having worked for some time in another career). Workers can adopt concurrent multiple careers for a host of reasons including: economic (such as poverty or striving for additional wealth), educational (such as multiple degrees in multiple fields), or personal (such as interest or lack of fulfillment in one career).

Multiple jobs are also an option for many individuals, but for many organizations, this is an illegal practice, for their full time employees. So many individuals today work for one organization for a few years and then again change to another job, which may or may not be in the same industry. This may be due to lack of job satisfaction, increasing salary and for better position.

edit References

Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Career vs Job." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 23 Nov 2014. < >

Related Comparisons Follow Diffen
Make Diffen Smarter.

Log in to edit comparisons or create new comparisons in your area of expertise!

Sign up »
Top 5 Comparisons

Comments: Career vs Job

Comments via Facebook

Anonymous comments (2)

September 23, 2012, 3:44pm

"it is very beautiful to distinguish between job vs. career"

— 65.✗.✗.250

March 21, 2014, 4:03am

More or less a job for material wealth like mostly correlated to money but carrier is an intrinsic passion not necessarily related or connected to money. Carrier probably has deep roots in genetics ,job more or less for earning to survive. If they match then job is enjoyable.
Raghavendra V

— 14.✗.✗.162


Up next

Externship vs. Internship