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View Poll Results: Did you "hold a job" or "have a career"?
I held one or more jobs. 21 18.42%
I had a career. 87 76.32%
Other (explain, please) 6 5.26%
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Poll:Did you hold "jobs" or have a "career"?
Old 02-06-2016, 05:23 PM   #1
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Poll:Did you hold "jobs" or have a "career"?

The poll question is straightforward - Would you characterize your employment history as a "job" (or a series of jobs) or as a "career"?

I've been following some recent threads and have been intrigued by the discussion of how much of their identity some people have "invested in their w*rk". I find myself wondering if this might be related to how people characterize their work history.

Growing up in a blue collar household I was surrounded by people who had "jobs." Some jobs were good and others were bad, but that's what people had, they had "jobs". My entire employed history was around people who viewed themselves as having "careers", however. I always looked at the situation through my blue-collar lens: I held a series of white collar jobs. I worked so that I could enjoy my life. My life being what happened outside the office. My white collar colleagues, however, tended to look at their employment situation as careers, and this was one of the key definers of who they were as a person.

So, anyway, I'm curious if any of you have thoughts along these lines.
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Old 02-06-2016, 05:41 PM   #2
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Some would say that I had a career... but I worked to get a paycheck.... that to me is a job...

There were some that I liked and some I did not care as much about... some bosses tried to talk about 'intrinsic values' and other crap to not pay a decent wage or make you work 80 hours a week...

I remember one top exec who said that salary was not the main motivating factor for most professionals.... I said 'stop paying people tomorrow and let's see how many people come into work'.... never would do that...
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Old 02-06-2016, 05:48 PM   #3
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Other... by one measure (hourly vs. salary) 15 years of a job, followed by 25 years of a career. But, with similar blue collar roots it was all just a job in my mind. I kind of like my more recent career choice of self-employed FA, even if I only have one client - me.
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Old 02-06-2016, 05:51 PM   #4
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I am an IT guy. Got a degree in Computer Science and math. Always held IT jobs, started as a developer. Then, transitioned to being mostly in the database end. Data Architect, database performance, etc.

I would say it is a career, but it just happened. I followed the money. I would have swept the floors if it paid as much.

I started a definite blue collar business. Mowing lawns, small landscape projects, plowing snow. Did 100% of the work when I started, always nights and weekends.
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Old 02-06-2016, 06:10 PM   #5
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During my school years I had four or five different "full time jobs". In some ways I learned more on those jobs than I did in school. After school, I made a career of IT with 2 different mega corps for a total of almost 40 years. I'm now in my final and most rewarding career (retirement) which I'm trying to become a specialist in doing anything I want.
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Old 02-06-2016, 06:31 PM   #6
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I had a ****load of jobs. Then I decided that if I was going to work at things I didn't like, I should at least get paid for it. So I went back to school at night, got into IT, and for whatever reason I enjoyed it. Made it a career, but never forgot that I was doing it for money. Made it to FI, and RE'ed. Finally succeeded.
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Old 02-06-2016, 06:38 PM   #7
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I don't define myself by my working life. I guess it is called a career by most, I consider it a means to survive and save for retirement. I tell people I am an engineer for work, but my life is so much more. I do like being an engineer and it provides a nice std of living, and ability to save so I can stop working before most of the working folks. Work to live, not live to work.

I say it all the time: quality of life is when I go out the gate, not come in the gate.

Short answer to OP question, I consider my working a succession of jobs.
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Old 02-06-2016, 07:26 PM   #8
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I made a career of having mostly interesting jobs.

Immigrated, learned english pumped gas, painted houses. Once enough English vocabulary was electronics tech, got hijacked/volunteered in the Army, then back to Lamont on research ship of Lamont Geological observatory, oceanography electronics systems.

Did a bit of work for a Nuclear Power Plant in San Onofre California. Then some interesting submarine detecting and identification work for defense contractor.

On to Seismic research tech at Columbia U. Most of it in Alaska. 14 years Army reserve in addition to the previous 3 yrs active duty, at 35 on a bet and a half drunk boozed up dare by a bunch of Physicist Phd bosses went to college, got BS in 5yrs while working full time.

Moving on
Ran electronics systems for a radio paging company. Boring!!! Got curious about trains, got grease monkey job at a Metro Subway. Got promoted, ran repair shops for a Light Rail system, got sick of union bull$hit and political correctness crap, RE @ 59.5 on the dot.

Now a leach on Soocial security and various investments.
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Old 02-06-2016, 07:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by harley View Post
I had a ****load of jobs. Then I decided that if I was going to work at things I didn't like, I should at least get paid for it. So I went back to school at night, got into IT, and for whatever reason I enjoyed it. Made it a career, but never forgot that I was doing it for money. Made it to FI, and RE'ed. Finally succeeded.
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Old 02-06-2016, 07:46 PM   #10
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According to Wikipedia, a career is an individual's journey through learning, work, and other aspects of life. By that definition, I definitely had a career. I decided what I wanted to do in my mid teens, based on my goal of FI. Counting university and on the job training, I was formally learning for 16 years, though I continued to learn after that, and even went back to school mid career. I had a series of jobs and contracts, because that's the way my profession worked, and I migrated between countries twice and moved 11 times, but all the jobs were in pursuit of my FI goal and much effort went into positioning myself for the next opportunity. It was definitely a journey in more ways than one. I'm glad it's over.
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:00 PM   #11
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Other. 1966 - 1996. From 93 as a jobshopper. Various Space Program contractor jobs. I never considered it working for a living. Location was irrelevant and pay was always adequate.

Beat those Ruskies! Romance of space and all that rot. If I were 40 years younger I would accept any old job at Space X or ?

heh heh heh - Left handed, INTJ and sanity really is overrated.
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:10 PM   #12
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By medbh's definition I had a career, I w**ked in Aerospace for 50 years. I was with my last company for 20+ years, and lost count of how many presidents we had.
I am 7 years retired, and never looked back
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Poll:Did you hold "jobs" or have a "career"?
Old 02-06-2016, 08:40 PM   #13
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Poll:Did you hold "jobs" or have a "career"?

More job than career. Certainly, nothing but jobs until the early Eighties. Was a technician-level flunky for thirty-two years, but in process development for semiconductors, not an ee tech, per education. But, at that level, there's really no career "path"...

The engineers had a "tech ladder", and management had the "Ministry of Funny Names": junior-associate-acting-coordinating director...
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:42 PM   #14
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According to Wikipedia, a career is an individual's journey through learning, work, and other aspects of life...
Yes, I had a career. At my 2nd real job at an aerospace megacorp, I advanced to their technical ladder in my mid-30s. Their technical ladder was a branch off for people who did not want to get on the management track.

Later, when I was on my own, I got a call from another aerospace company who invited me in to help with a problem they had. They knew about me through my work, something that I published, and also from people who worked with me.

One time, I got a call from a guy in Norway who tracked me down just from an article I wrote which was very applicable to the problem he had. He tracked me down through another person which I mentioned in my article. But it turned out that he thought he could pick my brain for free, so when he learned what my hourly fee was, I did not hear from him again.

The funny thing was that I became an expert in that very specialized field entirely by accident. The megacorp I worked for had a tough problem that nobody could understand, let alone solve. It was however important enough that they created an IRAD (Internal Research & Development, meaning it was their own money, and not paid by the government) to put aside funding for me to study the problem. It was a thorn on their side, and could jeopardize a bigger project. So, I was paid for 3 years to understand the problem and develop a solution, and eventually got my reputation established. How lucky was that?
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:53 PM   #15
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This is a tough question. I made an effort not to define myself by my job/career. I had college degree technical degree white collar salary positions... which would lean towards the "career" side of thing - but I thought of it more as a job. I looked for balance rather than death march schedules for no extra income. I spent just shy of 2 decades with one employer... an employer who changed names several times due to acquisitions, spinoffs, mergers, etc... Some of those employer names were household names... but I worked for the small little profitable division, vs the sexy branded divisions.

I guess I'd say "job"... Just wish I'd been paid OT for the weekends and late nights (before I started finding reasons to not come in on weekends.)
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:02 PM   #16
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I suppose I have had two professional careers. Both require specialized training, have barriers to entry, have their own specialized knowledge and language, and maintain a sense of exclusive community. I was a nuclear engineer for 8 years. First, for the Navy on nuclear submarines, and then as a civilian at a nuclear power plant. And I have been a lawyer for the last 24 years.
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:11 PM   #17
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According to Wikipedia, a career is an individual's journey through learning, work, and other aspects of life. ...
Interesting definition. In the Concise Oxford Dictionary I find "course or progress through life or history; way of making a livelihood and advancing oneself." I guess for me the difference was always that a career implied that there was an identifiable pathway forward and that to follow a career meant to move along such a pathway. For me, the key words in the Oxford dictionary are "progress" and "advancing". My employment changes were more often "orthogonal" to my previous path rather than "progressive." BA in Physics, 5 years with Big Oil, then MS in History, then teaching High School Science, then contracting with the US Gov't, and ending as a non-profit grant manager. Although I did create a narrative for my last job interview that argued that this was a "career path", it really fit much better with what I tell everyone else, all of these changes just "seemed like a good idea at the time." I never had a vision of working life as a career and, not surprisingly, that's how things worked out. Fortunately, the financials all worked out at the end.

Great stories, all, keep them coming.
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:24 PM   #18
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I chose career as I had a number and variety of jobs within a single profession and each job built on the prior job in some way.
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:32 PM   #19
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I was in the military, ministry, real estate, education and a couple of other things. Skill sets I gained in one area helped me with the next one and I think it made me a more astute and well rounded individual. I believe some people are better at clinging to one career while others are generalist who can function well in several environment.

I'm one that probably spent way too much time outside of what I needed to in order to try to improve the efficiency of my responsibilities. Sometimes, however, you just have to stay until the work is done.
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:49 PM   #20
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Since I was a kid I wanted to fly airplanes. Went exactly as planned and I was paid to do it for 37 years.
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