Often the terms job, occupation, and career are used interchangeably. People use them in instances where they should not be used. In fact, they have very different meanings.
A job is simply work for pay. You can many jobs in your lifetime that may or may not relate to your occupation or your career. It is therefore a means to live and may or may not be long-term or lead to anything else by way of work. For this reason a job can be seen as one large task or a series of tasks that is typically performed in return for money. Contract work and project work often contain “jobs” that have to be done, usually on a fixed-term basis (even if they are repeated over many months and even years). Individuals tend to talk about their work as “just a job” when it doesn’t give them much long-term career satisfaction.
An occupation is a wide category of jobs with similar characteristics. For example, physicians, engineers, educators, and scientists are all different occupations. Within each occupation, there are different jobs. For instance, an occupation as an Educator can include positions like teacher, high school principal, elementary school counselor, or school librarian. In other words, an occupation is a broad title for what someone does on a continual basis. This means that all of their work tends to fit into a professional category that most people recognize.
A career is a lifetime journey of building and making good use of your skills, knowledge and experiences. It is the total of all events and relationships in your life that may relate to all your work: family, friends, education, jobs, and leisure activities. Careers involve choice, skills, talent, long-range planning, passion and often, higher pay. Each job you take advances you in your career. If Publishing is your career, you might move from editorial assistant, to staff writer, to managing editor, to editor-in-chief. Any of these posts could be considered a job within your career.
So in summary, a job is work for which you receive pay, an occupation is a range of jobs with similar characteristics and finally a career is a lifetime of making good use of your skills, knowledge and experiences.
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