I read somewhere that the average worker has about 14 jobs in a lifetime. Sometimes, life dictates that you change jobs or do a couple of ‘birakas’ but that doesn’t mean you have to hop aimlessly from place to place.
It is a cliché that building careers, and not finding jobs that help is the meaning of being successful; but is there any difference between the two?
A job is a regular activity performed in exchange for payment and, a position where someone is currently employed. A career, on the other hand, is a chosen pursuit towards a specified profession-- it’s the general course or progression of one’s achievement over time.
This is the typical approach practiced by many people. As soon as education is completed, we look for a ‘job’ and the jobs are evaluated on the basis of the earning potential, promotion possibilities, the opinions of friends and the perceived value of the ‘job’ in the known circles.
Once someone has the ‘job,’ the next most important aspiration is to get promoted for money with the same company or opt for another job.
Very often people hop from one ‘job’ to another with ease, expecting better ‘prospects’ thanks to their experience. If lucky, they will find a place where talent is in short supply and exploit the employer’s willingness to pay a premium for their services.
The job scenario is quickly changing; jobs are not easy to find, not only because they are scarce, but also because wise employers have become choosy with their changing expectations.
In the past, employers were willing to recruit fresh minds, train them for three weeks to nine months, and then give them the big bucks. This is not the case today--ideal recruits must come equipped with skills that are cemented with little or no training.
Once the candidate joins, promotions do not come easy. Employees are instead expected to demonstrate competence and willingness to stretch beyond the ‘defined expectations,’ before they capture the attention of their bosses or peers.
In order to manage this shift in the workplace, better to start planning right after education. Depending on one’s goals in life, start by distinguishing, a career from a job.
A job should be seen as a step towards a career and not as an end in itself. Planning a career means understanding and identifying your potential and strengths, before embarking on a given path.
Just having several strings of qualifications in a resume are not enough. Any trainings and qualifications with reference to a career are accorded more value by the employer.
Bottom line is; your job is what you are doing today. Your career is what you have done over the past years and what you plan to do in the future. So, when you think career, you think long term and when you think long term, you realize that everything you do counts.
Always keep in mind that your today determines your tomorrow. Your job takes care of you today while your career will take care of you tomorrow.
Emmanuel Nyagapfizi is a regular contributor to The New Times