For the majority of us, we need a job to pay the bills and allow us the luxury of a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food on the table.
But I have to ask, are you spending your time and energy fulfilling the requirements and demands of a job or are you building a career?
A job has a role description and a paycheck. If you’re lucky, it’ll also come with benefits such as insurance, a 401k, paid time off, decent coworkers and a boss that doesn’t drive you batty.
A career is the long game. A career is something you build with deliberation and over time. Many times it’s built on late nights, blood, sweat, and tears. You don’t clock in and, many times, you don’t clock out. You roll up your sleeves and you dive in to build a series of experiences, achievements, and milestones that stack upon and amplify one another so whenever you pause to take a look back at what you’ve done, you find yourself filled with a sense of pride and purpose.
Everyone can build a career, you don’t have to start a company or be a starving artist to bring this to fruition. It’s more so a strategy that is intentional, deliberate, and understands there are specific moves, short term losses for long term gains, and a commitment to make this a reality.
Here are four characteristics of a career that you often won’t find in a job:
There’s never an end, not really. When you build a career it’s based on a series of questions that probably include, “what about,” “what if,” and “how could we.” A career with meaning/purpose is built upon something you genuinely love doing, and often, alongside people who also love doing it. Don’t get me wrong, I get burnt out. I need a break, but oftentimes those breaks lead to new ideas of things to build, partnerships to initiate, and challenges to tackle. Which brings me back to my career, one of my favorite works in progress.
When you have a career, you’re more likely to go above and beyond and you’re more likely to like doing it. You’re not waiting for the end of the day to punch out, you’re looking ahead to the future to see how you can propel yourself or your company forward. You give extra effort because you’re engaged, committed, and believe in what you can do. If you’re surrounded by the right people, motivation is contagious and it fuels inspiration and growth.
You can’t teach passion and if you’re lucky, you’ll be passionate about something someone is willing to pay for. When passion drives your career, it’s a surefire win. Living your life with passion is such a gift, but it’s an internal grace that allows us to operate in this way. You have to be able to be comfortable within yourself to allow this to shine through and willing to stand up for the things that make your heart sing.
A career is more than just a paycheck. It’s a lifelong journey that fuels your curiosity, exemplifies your passion, builds your experience, and creates your legacy. It’s not temporary. When a job is more of a means to an end (like getting a paycheck and calling it a day), a career is what happens every step of your journey that brings you to reaching your ultimate goals. Someone recently said to be “it’s like a rollercoaster, the highs are really high and the lows are really low, so I’m just going to put my hands up and enjoy the ride.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I’m just going to share their words.
I should also make sure to mention that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a job that pays the bills. Hell, good for you for paying the bills. The only food for thought I encourage you to nibble on is that we spend a lot of hours in lives working (roughly 90,000 and over 40 years) and time is the one thing we never get more of. No amount of money can buy you more time.