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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Work, Job, Profession & Career

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When I jotted these words down, it wasn’t because I knew their distinction, just that I knew we all use these words almost interchangeably.  There must be a good distinction, right?  I think so.  I group the words in a hierarchy.

Work is at the bottom.  Nobody likes it.  It gives us a place to do different odd jobs.  We’re not committed to hours - it may be part time.  We’re not committed to tasks - it may involve a variety of different work.  It’s just work that needs to be done to get us some money.  That hopefully will  transform into a job.  A job is a steady means of income.  We may or may not have a definite job description, but we will certainly have fixed hours.  It’s a short-term means of employment.

A profession is something we’re an expert at.  We either studied it extensively in school or have a ton of experience in.  We’re good at what we do and we are proud of it.  A career is an evolution of professions, whether different or same.  As we become more of an expert, we may decide to do more specializing.  A doctor may evolve his career into being a surgeon.  A lawyer may evolve her career into a corporate tax lawyer.

These are the days that more and more people change careers, the average being three careers in one’s lifetime.  However, it is important to realize that we are only making a career shift by changing or evolving professions.  We don’t make a career shift by changing jobs!  That’s called “floating” or “finding yourself.”  Rarely does it help us become more successful because we don’t stay anywhere long enough to take any huge benefit from our experiences.

When we change professions and transform our career, we are brining a lot with us.  We are bringing a ton of experience from another industry.  Although not relevant, that type of “world” experience really shows itself over a period of time.  Sometimes we may even take a pay-cut when changing careers.  However, we’ll also notice in the long term, that the pay-off matures into a profitable investment, maybe not just financially, but in all sorts of other avenues.

How do we use these distinctions?  Don’t try to jump from the bottom to the top.  If we are “working” on a particular goal, don’t try to make it into a career overnight.  Turn the work into a job, turn the job into a profession, and turn the profession into a career.

And, if we want to change careers, don’t say “I’m working like a dog.”  Say, “My current profession isn’t giving me all the rewards I thought it would.”  Don’t think we have to start from ground zero just because we’re making a career shift.  Lots of careers have tons of things in common.  For example, being a doctor or lawyer both require us to manage an office, be a little bit of an entrepreneur, create a “customer” base and do accounting or hire a secretary.

As we climb the hierarchy, we’ll notice that less and less “work” is being done.  The simplest attribute is when we are doing something we are good at (profession), we have a bigger self-esteem about it and do it more enthusiastically.  Most successful people will tell you that they aren’t doing work; they’re doing what they love.

Let's love the world together...

Danish Ahmed, blind visionary

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