What Is the Difference Between a Job and a Career?

The primary difference between a job and a career is that a job is often viewed from a short-term perspective, whereas a career is perceived as a long-term employment role. People work jobs to make money, but careers center on areas of passion or ongoing professional pursuits.

In evaluating the quality of a job, people often focus on their ability to do things that are enjoyable, interesting or safe. A job involves completion of interrelated activities that contribute to the overall goals of a department or company. In contrast, a career position is often viewed as a building block or learning experience in career progression. A person may put up with less pleasant or attractive job roles early in a career to gain the experience necessary for long-term growth.

Education often influences whether someone perceives a position as a job or a career. Someone with limited education and limited ambition for career progression often ends up working in a job. Someone who is education or trained with the expectation of growth in responsibility and pay is involved in a career. Professional occupations, including doctors, lawyers and teachers, are often viewed as careers because people need significant education to develop stability and evolution in work opportunities.