Reading recently about definitions of ‘career’. Here is one I prefer:
Career is the evolving role a person undertakes over their life-span where they attempt to use their time productively to provide for themselves or others.
Career includes many dimensions including:
- direction – current/future occupation e.g. accounting, labouring, medicine, home-making
- variability – how often over time the person changes career direction e.g. low-variability careers may stay in the same occupation throughout their entire life
- focus – how intensely focused a person is on career compared to other aspects of life
In essence, everyone has a career as it is a role we play in our life, just as we all have a family role and a citizen role. Sometimes our career role may not be active but you still have a career past, present and future.
Occupations are roles (during our career) where we actively undertake some form of activity that provides financial, social or psychological benefit to ourselves, family or to humanity in general. Therefore, even non-traditional activities such as pro surfing, internet-marketing, blogging or pro computer gaming can be defined as an occupation as they are focussed on earning money or status. Whether all such occupations are seen as acceptable by society is a different discussion! A job is a specific occupational position within a business or organisation.
In my career I have been had occupations of doctor, counsellor and IT professional. As a doctor I had several jobs over the years with different hospitals, clinics and with the Ministry of Health. As an IT professional, I had jobs one job as a tutor and another as a help-desk advisor.