What Makes a Job a Job and Not a Career?

Jobs generally consist of work we do in order to support ourselves and our dependents. Careers are different in that we think of them as lasting for the long-term, possibly for our entire working lives. Sometimes a job will turn into a career if we stay with it. Whatever the situation ends up being, we start by finding employment and hope that it satisfies our need for creative expression, work ethic, personal goals, and that it pays enough for us to live comfortably.

The Nature of Employment

In its strictest definition, employment is an agreement between an employer, or the person who offers the job, and an employee, the person who is hired to perform the relevant tasks. Usually, jobs are taken for financial rewards, although some form of bartering may be agreed upon. The business is usually at a commercial site and can be large or small. Whatever the hired individual agrees to do is intended to help the business become profitable.


There are also positions available in the non-profit sector. Such entities don't have profit as a goal, but in most cases employees are still paid wages and are expected to contribute to the success of the agency or foundation. If it isn't a strictly volunteer agency, it must bring in enough money to meet its expenses. A big advantage in the work environment is that executives won't constantly be worried about pleasing the stockholders. Some possible examples are charity organizations, like the Red Cross, hospitals, educational institutions, the YMCA, among many others.

Employment Agreements

The way that commercial enterprises in the United States are structured; employers and employees can usually terminate their contract at any time. That of course refers to a contract of understanding, meaning that there is no promise on either side saying that the relationship will go on for a certain period of time. If a legally binding contract is in place, then it's more difficult to sever the connection. Those in these jobs are generally in the sports world or a media such as broadcast or motion picture, although there are a number of other instances, usually involving a lot of money.


The economy of the whole country depends in large part on how many people have jobs. If too many people are unemployed, there isn't enough money for buying goods, and the whole process becomes cyclical.

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