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A Career or a Job?
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The workplace management, recruiters, and education staff like to make reference to your "career".  As if it were some kind of magical word that leads to fulfilment in daily life.  But is it a career or a job?

Maybe my definition of the words is skewed.  Possibly even wrong.  For most of us we think of advancing our career, when we just want a new or better paying job.

A career is a choice.  It is working for your self.  Yes, you may be an employee for some company in some vast vortex of venemous conglomerates.  But it is a choice.  You get up each morning and go there because you choose to, not because you have to.

A job is just the opposite.  It may appear similar on the surface, but the mental approach is not the same.  You may enjoy your job, you may look forward to spending time with your co-workers.  But the only reason you are there is for that paycheck, because you need it.  If something, anything, better came along that would add another $40 per week to your check, you wouldn't even think twice about moving on.  Why?  Because you need the cash flow.

Most of us, including myself, live from check to check.  There is a delicate balance between what comes in and what goes out.  We look forward to our next review because it is our only opportunity for an increase in that weekly pay - short of going somewhere else.

I work in the IT industry.  I work for a fairly large company that does some very high end stuff that I will not go into here.  In the IT industry it has become common place for people to change jobs every 2-3yrs.  Why?  Well, because it appears to be the only way to increase salary.  In my department we have hired several new staff members, all of which came in at a salary much higher than my own. 

I am considered, according to public statements by management, one of the best engineers in the department.  Yet, I am one of the lowest paid, with new staff coming in at much higher rates.  According to our HR system, my salary hasn't changed since my hire date two years ago.  I know I've been submitted for increases. 

One of my managers showed me one increase submission and told me there had been atleast two others previously.  Yet, our HR system (and my checks) don't reflect any of those changes.  So, this gives me the distinct impression that, although my manager's sought to improve my salary through merit increases, someone above them didn't see it as necessary.

I've not received word as to why they were nix'd.  Appearantly, they were nix'd, as I haven't seen them.

So do I look for a new job?  It does appear to be an industry standard and accepted way of improving one's income.

I've wondered if my "job" is that, a "job".  Or is it a career.  If I won the lottery tomorrow, would I still be here?  Would I start my own company doing something similar?  Or would I do something completely different? 

I've had this mental gymnastics of a debate for many years.  I do enjoy the technology.  I enjoy a sense of creativity - like when I designed this site (a growing pet project).  I enjoy helping people.  I don't enjoy the time sensitive nature of a server being down, or a file being lost, or the angry person that needs help that seems to want to blame me for their mistakes.  I enjoy the people I work with, and when I leave, I hope they will continue in their relationships with me at some level.  I don't enjoy the political crap that always seems to be there.

I think, that my career has become my job.  The pats on the back are nice, but they dont put food on the table.  I am here because I need to be.  If I don't continue, my family goes hungry.  If I need or want more money, I will need to find another way to get it - new job, side-jobs, etc.. 

It is a shame that the mental approach to work makes this shift over time.  We should always enjoy going to work, or we should, probably, be doing something else.

When I started in this "career", my wife mourned in losing me.  I had started working in an area that I had always wanted to be in.  She had in effect lost me.  Now, as I grow weary, she gets me back... Of course, my health isn't like it was due to endless hours of sitting at a desk, but mentally and physically I am paying more attention to her and the home.

Work?  I work a job.  I need to bring the income home.  If I was to come into a large sume of money, I would likely find other things to do and spend more time with my wife and kids.  If it were a true "career", I would continue in the same induastry because of my love for it.

My recruiters sold me a career, but gave me a job... Some adventure this turned out to be...