Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Job vs. A Career



For the past months, I have been busy with one-to-one personal career coaching sessions with my clients. It's always interesting to understand people from all walks of life and for me as a Career Coach map out alternatives and provide sound career guidance. Did not really have the time to blog. But I am back now!

Back with refreshing ideas to pen it down - one interesting topic that pops up is

"A Job vs. a Career?"

First and foremost, how do you define career to your own perspective? Do you prefer a simple, mundane (or sometimes exciting) and organized life, working from a typical 9am to 6pm for an organization? Working for years and therefore call it "Career" till you retire?

Think about this:

Maybe I may change my job, undertake the same Profession but still prefer working for a company because it's my career. My resume tells a story about my career. So the cycle continues with new jobs after squeezing each drop of work satisfaction from the old job, meet your potential, work for years and perhaps move on to a new company that offer better advancement opportunities. Till the day I reach the peak, make an achievement and get promoted with the company. Grow hand-in-hand together.

If your answer is yes with getting a fixed income and envisioning your career progression with the companies to the position desired, it may come to a point where you may face internal challenges with yourself, evaluating the next career pathway at some point of time due to the fact that you can't seem to find career happiness....for some strange reasons. Does it happen to you?

Especially when things do not come your way such as stiff environment, overly high expectations, sticky colleagues, bad day at work or other external factors etc.

Issues evolving:

(a) Am I just a paid salaried worker having a job and hence, this is my career?
(b) How far can I reach to be THAT position I want to be?
(c) THAT position gives me prestige, perks and attractive remuneration. Important?
(d) What exactly do I want in my career? What do I like to do in my life?
(e) What is my main interest that keeps me going?
(f) My job is getting boring. I do not see myself improving and climbing up
(g) My personal obstacles that stop me from realizing my career dream
(h) What must I do to make myself happy in my career?

Each day, we face with negative vibes (e.g. peers telling you to stop daydreaming) and some dosage of positive vibes (e.g. peers whom say "you can do it mate!") Of course in some point of time, we have to be realistic. Hey, we are living in Singapore...money matters. We need to be financially intelligent too. So realistically, the thought of pinning your career to a day-to-day, back-to-back job is there. The scary unimaginable feeling of losing a job, thus the income stream.

For myself, I do not deny this. Along the years after traveling regionally, I come to realize that a job is a tool to keep us going and earning the $$$, required for basic needs and slowly moving up to higher needs (Maslow needs), apart from building up my soft skills and personal experiences. A mutually exclusive agreement between you and the company. It depends the level you are in within the organization.

As a result, you may want to consider passive income streams or secondary income. This form part of your career investment portfolio.

Career encompasses much more. Areas that are intangible but help to develop your full spectrum of life and how you view it on a long term basis, apart from just a job. For example - during your corporate life, you may have found some new friends, new contacts whom are your Mentors till today? On the other hand, you may have develop passion for a key area and hence able to pursue it on your leisure time? One step better, your love life with fellow colleagues? (quit the job, get the life!)

Flip the coin round, if one day you have the chance to shape your own career based on your underlying interest and NOT thinking about getting a job, what will you do? Say you given 1 hour freeze and turn the clock back, what will happen? Can you grow that interest to a passion and slowly to a career, a life you always wanted?

Some find the potential overseas. Such as music and the arts, film and television. Some push the boundaries and realize the unexpected in themselves. Such as own business. Some are contented in their current status. Some are conceived by external environment and people around them. Such as friends being Investment Bankers and they will like to take on the role too without understanding their personal career profile.

Whatever reason, we always need to review our career options. You can be happy in a job one day, get kick out another day, feel depressed over a lousy day at work or find a new job. But you can never take away that little, little, little career interest in you. You need that sparkle.

Meanwhile that little, little, little career interest of mine is "Career Coaching"
I hope you can find yours too!

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