Job or Career: Mindset Makes a Difference

Written by Karen E. Mosier

Having a job and pursuing a career are pretty much the same thing except for the difference in mindset. How passionate are you about what you do? Do you take into account the whole spectrum of experiences and life education that comes along with your job?   

Here are some key differences between the mindset of having a job vs a career:

1. Prioritize experience: Look for ways to enhance and deepen your skillset. Focus on building relationships with your colleagues, being a mentor and coaching others to reach their potential. This will help you think beyond just getting a pay cheque.  

e.g., My coworker Marilyn gives her all as an Undergrad Education Coordinator – Clerkship. She is available to her medical students to give each resident the best student experience. Marilyn is also great at developing meaningful relationships with others. Most importantly, she is quick to listen and mentor others if they need advice or help with a task. She has also helped me outside regular office hours to set up for the research days. Marilyn embraces opportunities to learn new things by taking relevant classes or try new ways of doing things.    

2. Do the maximum: If you dislike your job you will be inclined to do the bare minimum rather than to give it your all. But if you are passionate about the work that you do, you will be willing to go above and beyond your normal duties. You won’t even mind doing extra work as you are contributing to the team and helping your company succeed.   

e.g., My partner Dean does his job really well, priding himself in providing the best service to his customers. He will spend hours doing the legwork contacting different places until he can find the right part for a farmer. He has also been known, on occasion during the busy harvest season, to drop off a part for a customer if it isn’t too far out of his way. In addition, he trains all the new employees on the parts counter. He understands that by doing his best and being a good team player he is helping his company prosper.        

3. Have a purpose to help you through the tough days: Even if you have a job that you love, there may be some rough days. On these hard days, you can still feel “a sense of purpose” if you remember the “why” your day-to-day activities will feel more meaningful.   

e.g., On stressful days, I remember my personal goal “to help others”. I know helping others brings meaning and purpose to my job. I think of the big picture and how each specific task completed, and each new type of software mastered, will increase my personal skill set. Most importantly, I also remember that I may not be in this occupation the rest of my life and the experience and skills learned in this job are a stepping stone to my next position on my career path.    

Remember that a career doesn’t have to be just a means to an end. If you love what you do, time flies when you are having fun. When you are happy you will be energized and get things done. You will see the meaning and purpose in your job. Remember, a career is a journey. The path that you take will lead you to new growth as you overcome challenges along the way.


  1. Officevibe Content Team. Job vs career: which mindset do you have? April 14, 2016.
  2. Indeed Editorial Team. What is the Difference Between a Job and a Career? May 26, 2021.
  3. Jobsearchbible. What is the Difference Between a Job and a Career?
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