The Differences Between a Job, Career, and Vocation

What are the differences between a job, career, and vocation? It seems like a simple question to answer, yet most working adults don’t have a clue.

A job is something short-term that we do for money. We often hear the phrase “dead end job” when people talk about their work. There’s no long-lasting fulfillment or happiness from a job. For those of us who have had jobs, or have one now, we know that we outgrow one job quickly then search for the next job. All the while, we wonder why we aren’t satisfied with our professional lives.

A career is something with long-term goals for which we make money. The funny thing about careers is that they are often discussed in a negative way. People try to separate their career from their personal life. Yet when people ask us about ourselves, our careers are usually a big part of how we explain who we are. This seems silly if you think about it because the vast majority of us don’t like our careers. Careers may provide the monetary means to obtain material possessions, but our careers aren’t fulfilling. We aren’t happy for those eight to twelve hours a day we spend in the office.

A vocation, or calling, is something to which we all should strive. A vocation is similar to a career but we also get deep satisfaction and fulfillment from our vocation. So not only do we earn money to obtain material possessions, but those of us who have found our vocations enjoy those eight to twelve hours we spend in the office Monday through Friday. When people ask, “Who are you?” you can answer that what you do to earn a living truly is part of who you are. A vocation gives us deep satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness. A vocation will have you jumping with excitement.


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