On a job vs. a career.

A year ago, I was neck-deep in one of the biggest challenges of my job. I was covering for my boss, the director of corporate communications for the company (global, employs 900) as we were doing a major launch event and webcast (what I termed as ‘big ass launch’ – totally a technical term, look it up!) and this day a year ago, said launch happened. Without a hitch and with one of the best compliments on a job well done that I have ever received (see link above to read all about it!).

Yet, as I lamented about it with my boss today, remarking how we are in the midst of yet another big ass launch (plus another big event we are planning for two weeks after that – gluttons for punishment, I tell ya!), but ‘at least there are two of us’ this time, I told her that the difference this year is that I am not crying every day leading into the launch. I am not stressed to the max. I am not scared. I am focused and ready. And able.

And part of the difference, besides now being in this job for about a year and a half vs. 6 months (and flying solo last year without my boss around!) and feeling more confident, is that I have my ‘net’ back. I have my sounding board and the ability to bounce ideas around, get advice etc., and ultimately, some of the decisions that I struggled most with last year, are decisions I no longer have to make on my own. They fall back into ‘her camp’ and let me focus on my job, the social media, the US-based PR activities etc. Not as much of the ‘over my head’ office politic-y things that were part of my interim role last year. The parts of the job that I hated disliked most are no longer part of my job.

Which leads me to the real point of this post (sorry for the meandering!).

The difference between a job and a career. 

You see, I love my job. I love what I do. I love that I can learn ‘on the job’ and I love that I can try new things and see what sticks. But, almost as importantly, I love that the ‘buck doesn’t stop at me. It stops at my boss. The level of responsibility I have in my job is exactly the right dose I want to have a good work/life balance. To leave work at work and shut down mentally for the night (given I work remotely, I can see how easy it is to just work all night, into their PT timezone, and just be on 24/7). To draw the line.

M asked me the other day ‘if you were offered your boss’s job and a boatload of money, would you take it?’

Honestly, no, I wouldn’t. Not in a heartbeat. My job is what I love to do. I am always learning. And it allows me to do something I like personally anyway – social media – in a business setting. You can’t get much closer to doing what you love, than that. And to get paid well *and* work remotely (most of the time, except when I travel!)? What more is there to ask for, right now? I don’t *need* or *want* the extra responsibility. I am still growing. I am still learning. I am still developing my skills. There is no sense of stagnation. 

To some, that may sound like I am not driven. But I am. Absolutely. But I am also a huge believer in work/life balance and doing something you are passionate about (hello teaching barre n9ne!).  And right now? Having a job vs. (expanding) my career is where it’s at for me. It’s what I choose. Because at the end of the day, balance and happiness account for more than a title and a bigger paycheck. 

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41 thoughts on “On a job vs. a career.

    1. It REALLY does help. Not to shortchange my job at all, because I do love it, I am very fortunate to, after leaving a job that I did not like for the last 3 years of 8.5!

  1. This is EXACTLY how I feel about my job too. And the work/life balance it now affords me that is a TRUE blessing. Especially in that it allows me to pursue my passion on the side. The most well-balanced I’ve ever felt in my life. It feels SO good to be here…and that BOTH of us are here. It’s so awesome.

    1. We are both so fortunate to have landed opportunities that allow us to balance passion, financial stability and a good, solid challenge. Truly.

    1. Kids – hehe, how did I know you might say that 😉
      But yes, for that too, of course. And yeah, money is great, it is, but I think there is a fine line between pushing for more than you *need* and having enough to live and enjoy life a little too. Ya know? Without completely ruining balance!

  2. I completely agree. When I was in my last job, I interviewed for jobs that paid less because I just couldn’t handle my last job anymore, I was miserable. Although I’m happy that I still have a bigger paycheck and I also like my new job. That being said, my job is just a job. I don’t think I will ever be one of those people that gets really into what they do. I enjoy it, for sure, but it’s not my life.

    1. I enjoy my job too, but I definitely don’t let it affect my mood NEARLY as much as my old job. My boss now tends to take it home with her mentally, and I just never want to do that again. It’s not worth it.

  3. My current job is the first one I’ve ever had that could very well be a career. It’s not ideal, but if Sunshine and her girls lived here I would be very happy for a very long time.

    I’m very hopeful that my next job will be something similar in the sense that it’s something I can retire doing.

    Being happy doing what you’re doing is very important…it’s just a little bit better when the money is there, too.

    1. I agree. Being happy doing what you are doing is important, especially given how many hours a day we are at work! Of course money helps, it always does, but I guess my point personally was that I would never want to push for a promotion where the pressure, stress and imbalance outweighs the paycheck. If I can live relatively comfortably paying my bills, with a little extra, I am very happy with that.

  4. There’s nothing I love better than a good challenge, and I’m so proud of you for always conquering yours!! I think it’s fantastic that you’re at a point where you know exactly where you want to be- and dont want to be!

    1. Exactly. I love to be challenged. I love to learn and be pushed. I still am. Every day. But that doesn’t mean I need to go furthr than that right now. I am in a good place.

  5. Jason and I talk about this all the time – neither one of us really have the desire to be the boss. There’s too much BS that goes along with it. As long as I am learning and being challenged and the money is acceptable, I’m fine not being the boss!

  6. Also, I really want to talk to you about your social media strategy for your company. Our inner nerds are going to come out at the conference next week.

  7. I totally hear you on this and often feel the same way. I’ve come to the realization that I don’t want to be the “Boss” Boss – I don’t want that level of responsibility, etc. not because I’m not qualified to do it but because my “job” isn’t necessarily my passion. I’m good at it and I’m challenged and that’s fine with me. I want to have the ability and opportunity to explore the other things that bring my more happiness.

    1. Exactly! The ability and opportunity to explore other things that make you happy too. I completely agree. I really do like my job, so I don’t want to shortchange that, I just like the flexibility of not being the big boss, and feeling like I have more room to grow, in that way, in a sense. If that makes sense.

  8. Having a job vs. a career is how my husband and I made the decision that I should return to school. I had a job that made great money, but I wasn’t happy and didn’t want to do that forever. I am now following my heart and can’t wait to one day have a career.

    1. See, that is just awesome, Robin! You ARE following your dreams, and having the ability to do that is incredible. I am so happy you can do that! I feel like I have the best of both worlds right now, by being able to teach barre n9ne while balancing a job I really like, with stuff I am naturally veering towards too – social media.

  9. This definitely resonates with me. I had a nonstop very, very demanding job for about 8 years and now I’m in the best job ever. I think the pros and cons of weighing work/life are huge. I know my hus is struggling with that right now. I hope everyone can find that happy medium, it makes such a difference for your soul.

    1. It’s hard to find the happy medium, and I am not one to say money doesn’t help, because of course it does, but MORE money just for sake of MORE money never helps the balance thing either. So I’d rather sit in this happy medium space, but be HAPPIER as a result. I hope your husband finds that balance soon too!

  10. I can tell how far you have come in this job. It has opened up worlds for you it seems. One day I hope to have that same thing. I have the furthest thing from a career I love.

    1. Thank you friend! That is such a good way to put it. My job has opened up doors for me, it’s given me confidence to OPEN those doors and go for it. Thanks for pointing that out, I hadn’t even seen it that way! XOXO (and you WILL find it, I promise).

  11. I love that most days I have the ability to leave the office right around 5:00 and go work out. There are so many people in my office and the country really, that don’t have that option. For me, work is something I have to do. I don’t hate it (though I don’t love it either), but it’s not my life. My life is my family, my friends, my dog, and doing the things I love to do. Anything that keeps me from that is something I don’t particularly want a part of. No one ever looks back on their life and wishes they worked MORE!

  12. Girl, I totally feel ya. As much as I don’t love my job, I do love my job – my hours are set, when I leave I can forget it, I have no crazy stress or crazy responsibilities. It’s not ideal, and I’ll get there someday, but while I work to obtain ideal, this is perfect.

    Sounds like you’re right where you want to be! XOXO

  13. I had mixed feelings reading this. To me a job is something you had in HS – it’s not something you had any long-term desire to stay in. I’ve been with my company for 8.5 years total – in the beginning it felt like a job….now in my newest role it feels like a career. I have professional development goals – I strive to be a better me at work. I guess the “jobs” I’ve had always seemed like a means to an end. Newbury Comics in HS, Administrative work in college….temporary, fluid.

    That said I’m thrilled that you love being a b9 instructor as much as I love taking your classes! 🙂

    1. I think your connotation with job vs. career is totally something you can take away from this post or interpret it as, but honestly, for me, I do have a desire to stay put in my job long-term, I just have no desire to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders (aka my boss’ job!). I am content where I am, still challenged day to day etc. Just in a job that gives me the flexibility to do other things too – like b9!

      But yes, at the same time, I love your views on this and how driven you are, in your work, in yourself, in everything. It’s just awesome!

  14. I love my job…. but that is all it is – a job. It doesn’t define who I am and I think the moment it does I becomes more than just a job. I would much rather be defined by being a good friend and a great mum than being good at my job. That said though there is still a definite need of enjoyment in my job. If I am going to committ 8 -9 hours a day to it I need to be enjoying it. And because I do I love my job.

  15. A post to ponder for sure, because I have been thinking about this a lot lately! Am I working just for the paycheck, or am I working because I ENJOY it? I need to mull this over, but your post shed new light. Thanks (again!) for some perspective friend.

    Best of luck on your launch and congrats on a kudos on a job well done this year!

  16. The balance is always ridiculously key. I know a lot of people who don’t want to get involved in things on campus, or say they “don’t have time” for extracurricular activities (like going to a bar, say, or on a day-long hike). That, too me, is complete bogus. Fine, if they want their lives to be their job, great. But I want to learn how to have that balance and never lose it.

    I don’t want to wait til retirement to play, or to be involved in my community.

  17. Interesting. I wonder if this will lead to a career change in the future or turning something part-time into more than that. Hmm… :).

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