Bridging the gap between your Job and your Career; An Economist Perspective

Posted by | January 8, 2021 | Career coaching

Some people think of a job and a career as the same, but they are actually different. Before we try to differentiate between a job and a career, let’s explain each of them independently. A job is a short term endeavours one embarks on in other to meet basic needs. It is something we do in other to meet ends meet. A job does not necessarily need passion as many people take jobs, they have no iota of passion for. They take these job(s) to earn not just a living, but for some, to save for their desire business in the future. A job may require one to learn some certain skills and most of job(s) provider trainings for their employees to acquire these skills, while some other skill are requirements for the job(s).

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These skills and trainings are necessary for the employee to perform the roles assigned effectively and efficiently. Jobs attract Wages if the job pays hourly or weekly, and salaries where the employee receives his/her reward for work at the end of every month. Therefore, jobs are always contractual with an agreement between employers and employees. For example, after scaling through series of test and interviews and finally a candidate is selected.

This candidate will be given an offer letter that reflect his/her terms of employment, the benefits he/she will be entitled to and other things. When the candidate accepts and agree to these terms, he becomes an employee of that organization. In short, when you work just to earn a paycheck that’s a job. No strings attached, you do your job and receive your pay.

Now what is a career?

A career is more of a long-term phenomenon, and focus is always on what we are passionate about or have passion for. These passion helps bring the best in you and approach each work with excitement, because each work provide you with the experience needed to fuel your future. As you are working and taking up jobs you advance in experience and gain more skills that helps you get promotions, higher pay and other non-monetary benefits.

Relationship between a job and a career.

A career is like a profession, some people are passionate about accounting and become an accountant, some have passion for medicine and are medical doctor, pharmacists etc. But some of these people have one time or the other taken a job that completely irrelevant to what they have passion for. I have a friend that once worked as a gym instructor, who is now practicing as a mechanical engineer. A career is the sum total of all the job(s) you have taken, whether these jobs are related or not to your career.

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These jobs help shape the future. Think of an employee who started as a graduate trainee in a bank. He has gotten a job when he started, after some time he was promoted to the entry level, and from there he becomes the branch manager of one of the bank’s branch (it may not be that straight forward though).

All these steps/promotions from graduate trainee to the position of branch manager sum up his/her career in the banking sector. This is related because he is getting promoted in the banking sector. But for others it may not be related but experience in other jobs can help to fuel our career. I know of a lecturer who left the education sector to join the Bank of Industry (BOI). Though it’s not related but he was able to leverage his experience and skills from another job to advance in his career. He may have been in the education sector just to garner experience for his desire career in the banking sector.

An economist perspective

As an economist, a job is like an individual and a career is the aggregate side of human life. Therefore, with that in mind, a job is also important in shaping people’s lives and prepares them for their chosen career. We may also look at a job and a career, one as a means and the other an end. I have seen people who took jobs as a means to an end.

These people have a dream of managing their own businesses and becoming their own bosses, but lack the required funds. These people take up a job in other to save from the paycheck they receive from their pay job(s) in other to achieve their dreams. they choose to work for some predetermined time, usually years, to save enough money for that desired business.

The difference between a job and a career depends on different things like psychology, attitudes, discipline and other work related behaviour. And as the popular saying goes ” what is worth doing is worth doing well”. In essence, whether you find yourself in a job, do it diligently because, in the end, they sum up your career. We should approach all jobs like a career, that’s only when we can do our best and walk the path of growth.


By Ademola ismaila

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