Tag Archive for: job

Career or Just a Job

Do you have a career or is it just a job?

Career or Job?  That is the question most people want answered.  Many people stay in a job because it’s a paycheck or it’s easier to stay than figure out how to make a change. But hating Monday mornings because you have to go to work causes stress. If you don’t like your job, you may not be engaged or passionate about what you’re doing. Ultimately, you’re setting yourself up for failure and that’s also stressful.

Let’s start with definitions and a small check list.




a paid position of regular employment.

Let me help you figure out whether you in fact have a career or just a job.

  • You’re staying in your role primarily because it’s a steady paycheck.
  • There is no growth potential for you.
  • You understand the work but are bored out of your mind.
  • You don’t really care about the organization.
  • You don’t even like the work you’re doing.

To answer the question “Do you have a career or is it just a job?”, if these statements hit home you can be fairly certain that you have a job not a career!

But the real question is how do you feel about doing what you do now, for the rest of your working life?   Whoa, pretty heavy.

Let’s go to the next definition.




noun: career

an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life with opportunities for progress in knowledge, responsibility and fulfillment.

A career is a vocation, profession, or calling.  It’s something you WANT to do.

I’m going to take a leap here and assume you do want a career; a role you can feel passionate about.  An occupation that interests and excites you.  You want growth, success, and something that makes you happy.

How would it feel if you could figure out why you don’t like your job, or effect a small change which could bring back a passion for what you do every day? What if you had a career instead of just a job?

Your first task is to figure out your strengths, what it is that that you have to offer an employer.  Then you rank them according to a happiness factor… If you are outstanding at math or number crunching but hate doing it, that’s a happiness factor of 1.  If you love it, I mean really, really enjoy it, that’s a 10.  Maybe you’re outgoing and enjoy working with people but you’re a customer service rep and dislike the stress involved: great skills, wrong job.  In what other capacity can you use that skillset?

Get the picture?

Once you’ve figured out where you excel and what you actually enjoy doing, you can start to research your next career.

So what’s stopping you?  Start your own checklist of strengths and the roles to which they apply to see where it leads.  Then make sure there is growth potential in the field so you can continue with your chosen career path.

Career or Job?  I think we all know the answer we want.

How to Maintain Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction doesn’t just come from employing your skills well, you need to be applying your most enjoyable skills most of the time. Here’s how to identify them:

  • List the jobs or roles you liked the most over your entire work career;
  • Now list what you liked about each role;
  • Now list why you liked the role and/or what was the accomplishment that you enjoyed?

For example:  my favorite role was as an International Operations Director.  I was responsible for all non US IT Operations personnel.

  • What I liked the most: Travel, learning new cultures, team building and interactions with the people.
  • Why: I realized I enjoyed the coaching and mentoring, which is what was needed most in that particular role.
  • The accomplishment: I helped create a stronger, better operating team with greater communications and camaraderie throughout the IT organization.

That’s how I ended up leaving IT and moving into a Coaching career.  What I enjoyed most was working with people and helping them, not necessarily the IT side of bits and bytes.

What does this tell you?

Just because you’re not happy with what you’re doing where you are now doesn’t mean you ditch your current career; it does mean you need to figure out why and, maybe, do it differently.  For example, you’re an attorney working for a large firm and realize you haven’t been happy with what you’re doing for a while.  Maybe it’s where you’re working or you’re feeling lost in the crowd (not able to stand out) or the type of work is uninteresting or unfulfilling.  But if you could be a corporate legal council for a small business that produces something you’re interested in, that may make all the difference in the world.

So think about it.  What would keep you engaged and passionate?

If it’s the right career – wrong organization: What changes do you need to make to feel engaged within your job again?  Should you stay where you are or are the changes needed so great that you have to leave?

If it’s the wrong career: What skills do you have that are transferable to another occupation?  Do you need to go back to school?  How about certifications?  Can you move to another position within the current organization?

Lot’s of questions that only you can answer.  You may need help putting it all together or clearly identifying your strengths, likes, and dislikes.  A Career Coach can be that help, but the answers still come from you!

Change is scary, but being unhappy at work is way worse!

Making a decision one way or another about your career will take a weight off your shoulders you may not even realize you have.  Once you accept your decision and create a clear path forward you’ll be happier, more engaged, and ultimately more successful.

Check out our videos and workshops to see if we have anything to help you move forward into a role meant for you.