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How to Determine What Jobs Fit Within Your Career


This is Part 2 in our series on jobs vs. careers. Be sure to read Part 1.

In the first part of this series, I illustrated the difference between a job and a career. We talked a lot about the long-term nature of your career versus the short-term nature of most jobs. Now it’s time to apply that.
Think “career”

Throughout the remainder of this series, our mantra will be “think ‘career.’” Why? Quite simply, your goal should be to have the most rewarding career possible. That might mean making lots of money, having time to raise a family, or being famous. No matter what ultimate goal you have for your life, your career is likely the means to get there.

In your working life, you will have many decisions to make. Some do not have obvious long-term implications. However, they all must fit in with your overall career plan. That’s why you should focus on your career, not the individual decisions.
Does a job fit?

Part of the difficulty in guiding your own career is in determining whether or not a particular job fits your career path. This is why you should focus on the career, not the job. If you think about your career goals, it becomes easier to see what jobs to pursue.

For example, it might seem that a job making tacos would not fit into the career of being a lawyer. However, you first have to get through college and law school. If making tacos helps you achieve that, it is likely a decent job to pursue. Once out of law school, it is hard to see how making tacos will further your career.

Another type of job to consider is one outside the typical career path, but where you will gain crucial experience for your career. An example of this might be working in a related job field or in the same industry at a different position.

A friend of mine worked for a large advertising company before law school. Now he is getting a job representing advertisers on the legal side of their business. He is working in the same industry as before law school, but he shifted job positions. His previous advertising experience will be vital to his success as a lawyer.

The lesson to be learned here is simple. Don’t shortchange a job just because it does not seem to fit in with your career at first. Keep your eyes open to future possibilities and applications for your work experience. Great careers can begin in even the most unsuspected places.

Be sure to check back for the next part of this series. Or subscribe to Job Tuition for easier reading.