CareerSherpas: Climbing the Mountain

When you’re on the way, it helps to share the load

Tripping the Career Rhapsodic

Could you be ecstatic about your career? Could you really be tripping the Career Rhapsodic?

For many people “career” equates to “job”, but they’re quite different things. A job is what you do now. The way you pay the bills and spend a good portion of your waking hours. A job is a temporary situation. Ultimately it’s an exchange of time for money that may or may not be in line with your goals. Jobs change even when you don’t change employer or group. Your co-workers and boss will change. The work you do will change. Even the location you work in will probably change.

A career is more than a job, representing a calling to do something in a particular fit with your life. Your career is special. No matter how much it has in common with someone else, you will do it differently. Your career is an expression of who you are, no matter how far off your current job feels. Sometimes your career has nothing to do with your job at all!

This is why changing careers is often such a huge proposition. Real career change is recognizing and expressing a shift in how you see yourself. It’s traumatic to make that kind of change, but it opens you to a new and rewarding chapter of your life. Career changing is a much bigger topic that I’ll come back to another time.

Your career may not have anything to do with your job at all! It might be that your volunteer activities or your family life might be your real career with its own goals and aspirations. Recognizing that your career may or may not be a “professional” endeavor is important. If you work nine months of the year to volunteer in disenfranchised and under-privileged communities, which is really your career?

It might be that you work at jobs to support your career.

Your career is something you draw a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from. Getting fully engaged with it might not require you to make any life changes or it might mean drastic change is needed. The clich├ęd adage “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” might need some adjustments when you think about your career.

Framing why you work and reminding yourself where you are going and what your career means to you are crucial to knowing that it is going in the right direction. Getting excited about your career begins with knowing what your career is and where you want it to take you.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

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