What is the difference between a job and a career? Some may not see any difference between the two. To me, these two words couldn’t be more different. We’ve all heard the phrase “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” When I was younger, I didn’t really get it. All grown ups work every day! As I’ve gotten older and held many different positions in many different fields, I began to understand.
A job pays the bills. It lets you survive. It gives you means to live. A job is something to be grateful for. Even on my worst days, where it seems impossible to get out from under the covers, snuggling with my cat, and sit at a desk for 8 hours, I remind myself that I am incredibly lucky. This job provides me with (almost) everything I need or want. This wonderful apartment I live in with my boyfriend, a car that takes me where I want to go, a cell phone to stay connected to everyone, and money to buy food (which is my favorite, to be honest). I know I am very fortunate to have a job with such a wonderful company, when many people my age are still wishing to have a position like this.Like I said, it gives me ALMOST everything.
So what does this job not give me? It doesn’t give me anything to be passionate about. Although I don’t hate my job, I don’t look forward to it either. It doesn’t drive me to get out of bed (willingly), and it certainly does not feed my creative need. A couple years ago, I worked at a cupcake shop doing what I loved. It paid like crap and the hours were scarce, but I was embracing my passion. I worked two other jobs that I pretty much hated in order to be able to do one thing that I loved for a few hours a day. By the end of that summer, I was exhausted, burnt out and probably a little delusional. Seriously, I think I got about 8 hours of sleep a month. I was basically a zombie. But you know what? I was a happy zombie. When someone would ask me what I did for a living, I was so incredibly proud to be able to tell them I worked at the cupcake shop. Partly because I was putting what I learned in college to good use and, let’s face it, the number of graduates actually using their degree is terrifyingly low.
Eventually, I quit all 3 of my life-sucking jobs to have one full-time job. Mostly because I felt like I hadn’t slept in a year. Fast forward 2 years, and now I’m sitting at my desk on the 12th floor in this big building, for this big company wondering what the hell I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, this job isn’t bad. But it doesn’t give my soul what it needs. It doesn’t allow me to be creative, it doesn’t allow me to help people, or help animals. All of these are things I would look forward to doing if that’s what my career was. To me, a career is something you are passionate about. It drives you. It feeds your soul. It’s going to work and not feeling like you’re working. A career is something you are meant to do, and something you are meant to do for a very, very long time.
No, I am not telling you to storm into your boss’s office and quit your job. Really, don’t do that. You still have bills to pay. But I do encourage you to find your passion. Find your purpose, whatever that is. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong or stupid. Or that it’s not worth it. Life is way too short to spend a majority of your days doing something that leaves you feeling hollow or unfulfilled. A career should be strengthening. It should be enlightening and exciting. It should make you feel whole.