I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘career’ versus ‘job’ versus ‘occupation.’ Some people use them interchangeably, others the three terms have distinct meanings.
Career= an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.
Job= a paid position of regular employment; a task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.
Occupation= a job or profession.
The thing that sticks out for me is in the definition of career “significant period of a person’s life with opportunities for progress.” But if there is no progress, does it cease to be a career and then just become a job?
OK, maybe that’s a bit too existential of a question, but I’m pondering this a lot lately as I think about what I want next in life and essentially, a career. I have worked in the museum field for over a decade when you count in undergrad internships and graduate school work. I am in student loan debt for years because I pursued an education that would earn me a degree to get more credibility and standing in that world. I know that no education is lost, no matter the discipline, but part of me still holds onto the fact that I spent a lot of time, stress, and money ( and still spending money!) on earning a degree in a field I believed so much in so I must want to still do it. Or that just might be my stubborn nature coming out.
And yet, I question next steps.
Some of it might be restlessness at being at the same institution for over 7 years now. When I was able to do some consulting work at another museum last spring, it was an invigorating two days with colleagues spent in nerdy museum and history talk. That was fun to me! But when I think about next steps in the museum world and look at the opportunities around, nothing excites me. I’ve been on a handful of interviews over the 7 years as things arose in the world around me, and only a couple were ever interesting enough that I was disappointed when things didn’t work out.
I think part of the problem I have too is that I am a curious person with so many interests that I feel I could do well in a number of different positions– but has my decade worth of work in one specific, small field excluded me from other work down the line? The diverse types of writing I’ve been doing for some freelance work is helping a bit to unleash some creativity and find other outlets for my interests, but it’s also leaving me with deep desires to write more and do more with life.
I’m always amazed at people who have diverse career paths and how they went from one thing to the other. I know being open to possibilities and opportunities as they arise is important, as is patience and awareness of oneself, some things I know I need to work on with myself. All of this aligns with my word for 2016– embrace. I’m trying to embrace this bit of a question mark part of life that my early 30s are turning out to be, but the go-getter, action-oriented part of myself is struggling to sit with that. I know that feeling uncomfortable and unsure is a big part of change happening in small ways everyday, and I try to put my faith and trust in that. I pray everyday to be open to opportunities and be aware of myself in the ways that matter.