You may have a job, but do you have a career?
Too often these terms are used interchangeably. But are they really the same thing?
A burger flipper at McDonalds has a job. A CFO has a career.
Indeed, a job is a short term cash flow solution. It’s something you do… and then you go home. Whereas a career is a long-term pursuit of an ambition or a passion. It is a progression through a series of goals.
A job is a means to an end – a small piece of the puzzle. A career is a life-long journey with clear focus and direction.
Accounting and Finance professionals can be one of the great under-investors in their career, and have a history of misalignment between their careers and the jobs that they undertake.
How do you know that your current job is right for your career?
In order to answer this question, you will need to know what your long-term objectives are. Where do your interests lie, and what success looks like to you? Once you have identified the end goal, then you can trace a path to that point.
At the beginning of your journey you will probably have to work for a lower pay, and you may not be doing exactly what you want to do. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the wrong job for your career. Each position you occupy should be adding to your arsenal of knowledge and skill, and should start to open up doors of opportunity in the direction you want to go.
Be flexible and look for opportunities wherever you are. In one position you may learn a new skill, whereas in the next you may develop a new interest which expands your horizons.
In your current role, you should endeavour to learn from those who occupy the space that you are shooting for. If there are no opportunities for learning, growth, networking, training or any other prospects to move forward then you may be in the wrong job. If your job is taking you off course and you are being used in areas that are in no way applicable to your career plan, then you’re in the wrong job.
If you’re still not sure, then write down the duties and responsibilities that your job entails and compare them to what you need to make the next step in your career happen.
Once we understand the fundamental differences between a job and a career, we can see that they each demand something different from us.
A job requires high-level performance and commitment. A career will require networking, planning, and clarity of vision.
How do you invest in both your career and your job?
It’s all about balance – finding the middle ground.
You want to be a great employee; to learn, to grow, and to achieve in your given role. You want to do each task assigned to you with gusto and dedication.
But you also want to continue moving forward by meeting and interacting with the right people; by getting involved in activities that may not be directly related to work but will further your career (such as volunteer work); and by being a life-long learner and soaking up as much knowledge as you can.
With life being as busy as it is, many Accounting and Finance professionals need a little help keeping their career aligned.
The Outperformer has ready solutions to keep your performance levels high in your current job – as well as helping to clarify your personal road map of career success. Find out how to learn from others, mentor others, attract like-minded professionals, collaborate to solve problems and invest fully in your career.
Written by Adam Neyenhuys, Co-Founder of The Outperformer