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View Poll Results: Did you "hold a job" or "have a career"?
I held one or more jobs. 21 18.58%
I had a career. 86 76.11%
Other (explain, please) 6 5.31%
Voters: 113. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-06-2016, 08:54 PM   #21
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I definitely have a career, but do not define myself by my job anymore (I think I used to but it no longer matters to me). All I now want to do is make it to April 2017 so I can FIRE!

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Old 02-06-2016, 09:06 PM   #22
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Got Engineering degree at 30 (After USAF and GI Bill). Practicing engineer then MBA moved me to senior management path in Megacorp. Had enough of that after a few years and then started my own management consulting business (Sub S Corp). Semi retired after 13 years of that and here I am. Kind of a career, I guess.

......."Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." -- philosopher Mike Tyson.
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:07 PM   #23
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Didn't finish college, so that set me back. Typing 90+wpm helped me get a lot of word processing jobs. Few lasted more than 2 years, most were shorter, temp jobs. Had a boss tell me that he thought I seemed to enjoy working with computers more than I enjoyed doing the actual job I had been hired for, which is why he was firing me. Soon I parlayed a word processing job into desktop PC support. Fired again. Next job I lasted five years, eventually being laid off from an internet tech support position. Then I was laid off from a position leading a call center tech support team.

Eventually I transitioned to desktop support, where I remained, not counting the two years I spent attempting to be the king of real estate flippers. I finally managed almost seven years in I.T. for one employer. Then came my abortive ER attempt.

Somehow through all that I managed to marry someone much more stable than myself. Eighteen years as a court reporter, the last twelve years earning double my salary, and a much better pension payout. So she had a career. Me? Tech support was my thing, but scattered across so many different employers it's hard to think of it as a 'career.'

Now I'm finishing up my pension vesting in my current I.T. position when we'll pull the plug for good. The DW is playing homemaker and it doesn't look like she'll get a job here. I think she subconsciously resents having to leave Mexico. lol
Arguing on the internet is like wrestling pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:28 PM   #24
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I went through 2 years of engineering courses, followed by 18 years of work in the civil engineering/ surveying field, then finished my BA in business and spent the last 22 years as part owner of the firm. Seemed like a job at first, but felt like a career at the end.

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"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years" - Abraham Lincoln
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:52 PM   #25
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Voted career.

I had a short lived career of only 10 years. Most of that was in private transportation engineering consulting, then I moved to the public side for a cool job (and more money) for a few years. That second job was technically transportation engineering, but more like a combo of finance, legal, and project management. I imagine if I had worked another 20-30 years I would have ended up in 4-5 more jobs that would slowly morph from transportation engineering to something completely different by the end (something business/IT/engineering I would guess).

Those two jobs made use of a professional license and were in generally the same field that I studied in undergrad, so I voted career.

Most of the jobs I had before finishing college I would classify as just jobs.

But I've always focused on the paycheck aspect of the jobs I've had instead of wrapping myself in a safety blanket of identifying with my job and living it and breathing it constantly.
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (4, 10, and 11).
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Old 02-06-2016, 11:48 PM   #26
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I worked in a factory as an hourly employee. It was my job. I work on my investing now and it feels like my career, but it's my FI hobby.
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Old 02-07-2016, 03:18 AM   #27
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Started in the Oil business the day after HS in 1977 and worked for 38 years in that industry until getting the package Oct.2015. Worked with amazing people and very fulfilling.
Now at age 56 - loving being with the grandkids.
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Old 02-07-2016, 07:56 AM   #28
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I definitely had a career. One that took a lot of time, dedication and sacrifice.

I started with very specific career goals and reached them fairly swiftly. At that point I looked up the corporate ladder and saw nothing else of interest. It didn't take long after that point for my career to morph into a job. Several years later I was Gone4Good.
Retired early, traveling perpetually.
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:27 AM   #29
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Got into IT by chance. Had 32 fabulous years. It was a career and for the most part I loved every day of it until the last few years. It was also very rewarding and very lucrative. The time passed so quickly. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have been on this path.

Glad to be out doing what I want to do now...mostly travel.
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:42 AM   #30
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I have a Masters degree in Process Engineering. Spent my whole career applying what I learned then and subsequently. 22 different job titles. One career.
For the fun of it...Keith
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:11 AM   #31
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I voted Other.

Like OP, blue collar with no other family going to college. Ended up in law school after worthless college majors and managed to win the academic race--> big law litigator with the expected no family, 7 day weeks. Clearly "career" at that point. But, eventually opted out of partnership consideration and quit to stay home with kids because DW also has all-encompassing job. Happened into a half-time law faculty job that I could balance with home rehabbing, volunteering, and being SAHP/cook etc.

15 years later, after following DW to a new state, resumed commercial litigation with the concomitant 12 hour M-F, and lesser S/Sun hours. Again, looks like a career--but told firm up front I was not interested in partnership because of early retirement plans. Am REing after less than 10 years in 11-17 months (depending when DW's replacement arrives....)

Compared to DW's med career, my path has been "jobs," but most objective observers would probably quibble with that.
OMY * 3 2ish
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:19 AM   #32
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Definitely career. I decided around age 20 what career I wanted, being professional accountant. At the time (early '70's) this was a good way for someone to make a good salary. Up till that point I was basically working in a factory. I went back to school part time, got an undergrad degree, being the first person in our extended family to go to university. My parents actually discouraged me from this. At age 25 got a job at a big accounting firm. Was amazed at the difference between the professionalism at the accounting firm and the envireonment at the factory. I really was impressed. Kept going to school part time and got an MBA. Eventually left accounting firm for big bank and wound up as senior exec.

Wouldn't have been able to do this without "becoming the job" but this was a deal that was worth it from my perspective. Really enjoyed the work and must have been pretty good at it. Eventually it got a little stale and by my mid '50's I was ready to retire. Definitely it was a career.
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:28 AM   #33
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I chose career.

After I graduated college at age 22, I worked at the same company for 23 years, the first 16 full-time and the last 7 part-time. In those 16 FT years, I got promoted 4 times, the third one to a supervisory level for the first time. I also changed divisions once after 4 years which also greatly helped me move upward. After my last promotion, it seemed more like a job than a career at times because I knew that would be my last one. But the raises were still pretty good and in my 7 PT years the company began giving out sizable bonuses.

I ERed 7 years ago and don't miss it at all, especially the dang commute.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:05 PM   #34
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I voted career but I'd have to say jobs for my first decade of w*rk. Besides supporting my young family, I used those first ten years or so to fund my advanced education, earning bachelor and master degrees at night school during that first decade. Now, a career approaching three decades. The degrees opened a few doors that would have otherwise been closed, but most of the career advancement was based on luck; randomly being in the right place at the right time.

Ironically for me, now that FI is in sight (2 1/2 years), I think of my w*rk as a job again; simply a means to an end. That outlook also has something to do with the fact that I'm satisfied with my current position and have no desire to continue my "career development".
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:06 PM   #35
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I had a career but somewhere during the middle I realized I didn't want to move up anymore and I wanted to get out. Then it was a job.
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:25 PM   #36
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I worked for the same Megacorp for 32 years, then the business that I was in was sold off in 2013. I still work in that business now, and will RE in about a year. In the 35 years I had positions in different functions (mfg, marketing, sales, technical support of customers) in two different businesses, in 7 locations, but I consider it a career.
"The mountains are calling, and I must go." John Muir
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:51 PM   #37
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Wanted to be a chemist since I got my first Gilbert Chemistry Set, before I could read. I am guessing 1953 or so.
Retired from my small/midcrop private company in 08 after 31 years, they were bought by an investment group. They brought me back as an independent contractor 2010 that was a job.
Now they retired my butt again, back in December. Too bad, kept me sharp, and enjoyed seeing friends, also did not have to deal with management crap.

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Old 02-07-2016, 04:11 PM   #38
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Aspects of both at times but overall I'd say career. Law enforcement was what I wanted to do and although parts were certainly boring I found the people aspects fascinating, as in why do otherwise apparently intelligent people do such stupid things? I was a patrol officer for 18 years and learned there is a way to start or stop a riot with a few well-chosen words. Well, a small riot anyway, a big one takes some teamwork but it can be done. I didn't start one but I saw another guy do it, just amazing to watch. I learned about criminal investigation, evidence handling, lots of other interesting stuff. (Forget anything you see on CSI - almost all of it is pure fiction.) And a lot of traffic accident investigations, now a specialty unto itself for the more serious ones.

Then I did fraud investigation, theft by scheme, forgery, embezzlement, and the like. (I handled a case where the same house was sold three times in one day. I mean it went to settlement three times!) That morphed into computer crime investigations because I liked working those cases and nobody else wanted them because they didn't know how to handle them. In turn that morphed into computer forensics at a time when there were five people in the state of MD doing that kind of work, including at the federal level. We all knew each other's first names. Aside from being a way-cool job straight out of a science fiction book I read in high school, another inspiration was that a woman in PA died a very horrible protracted death because the police in a small town did not recognize a home computer as a possible source of evidence. Understandable then (~1990) and I didn't want to see that happening where I worked, and at the time it was a very real possibility. We made many trips to various stations to educate the officers about the unit and what we could do for them in their cases.

The legal issues were fascinating too. Often there was no precedent on search & seizure issues because computers were new and no situation like that had ever come up before. It didn't help that early lower court decisions were all over the map on some things so there was no consistency.

So although I worked for the same agency for 29 years I did a lot of different jobs.
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:16 PM   #39
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B.S. in Computer Science, over 30 years in IT, I guess most would call that a career. But it sure felt like a job. The technical work was often interesting/enjoyable. But difficult coworkers and clueless mgmt can ruin everything.
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Old 02-10-2016, 05:06 PM   #40
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All within the same large tech company: started as a better-than-nothing job, then a career, then an obsession, then my life. Climbed from $3/hr technician to EVP and director of the company in just under 30 years.

I was known as "Mr. (company name)".

Loved every single day of it, but the company itself made whatever sacrifices required very worthwhile. (I know...the place was not the norm)

Living well is the best revenge!
Retired @ 52 in 2005
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