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From the coaching couch

Do you want a job or a career?
Blog 285 from the coaching couch

Today we want to put the spotlight on a theme that’s been coming up a lot lately during coaching sessions.

Since COVID-19 hit, we’ve spoken to so many people who are thinking differently about how they want to spend their time, who they want to spend it with and where they want to be able to live. Off the back of this, they’re asking themselves the question: Do I just want a job, or do I want a career?

So, let’s take a step back and define what each option entails.

A job is something we get up each day to go and do. For some people, this is all they want. Work is something they do so they can provide for their family and pay the bills. It doesn’t define them; they have other non-work interests that make up their identity. They’re not too concerned about things like career progression, status or job titles. Work is just a means to an end. They might really love their job, but it’s not part of a strategic bigger picture.

On the other hand, a career is something you map out. It’s about setting goals around where you want to be in two years, five years, 10 years – and working out what learning you have to do to execute your vision. To have a career takes commitment, compromise, planning, networking, time, resources, energy, and mindset. Basically, all the things.

Now, there are consequences and advantages linked to both options. Having a job might mean that you don’t experience the same sort of personal growth if you don’t seek that out in other areas of your life. You may or may not might have access to the increasing income that you’d like. But it does give you more headspace and energy for everything that goes on outside of work. Meanwhile, people who choose to pursue a career might continually learn and grow, while gaining strength and satisfaction from their work, but other parts of their life might suffer as a result.

It’s worth noting here that people who choose to have a job can still be passionate and committed to what they do; it’s just not a necessarily part of how they measure personal success and they’re not particularly strategic about next steps. You can also have a career without being ambitious. Ambition is about driving harder, going fast, thinking big and doing more than people expect you to. Your career might not look like this at all.

Whether you choose to pursue a job or a career, remember this: both are great options. We’re all different and have different priorities. Not everyone wants to move up the ranks. Not everyone is obsessed with learning. Maybe you’re happy to take a step back or sideways, even though you’d never have considered it pre-COVID-19. Maybe you’re just happy to do your job, and, if other people bypass you, you’re not going to be bothered.

This is about deciding how you want to spend your time and what you actually need. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re designing your life the way you want to live it.

– The Coach Place Global

Image by @bdchu614

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