• Emotional Wellness Boot Camp: Career vs. Job vs. Purpose

    The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”     Steve Jobs


    The three words, career, job, and purpose, are interchangeably used in our daily lives. However, what is the thin line that distinguishes these three words from each other and the individual role of these stages in our lives?   

    If we briefly dive into the meanings of these words, a job is something we do to earn money and support our basic needs. It might or might not align with our career goals. A career is a path we choose for ourselves based on our interests and passion. Whereas the purpose is a more personal approach towards what we do. It pertains to why we are doing the job and what motive it serves in our life. 

    It is essential to reflect on what you are aiming for, building a career, finding a purpose, or merely earning money through any job? So we will take a deeper insight to understand these questions and see how these impact our emotional wellbeing and moods. 

    Job vs. Career: An Extensive Comparison

    For some, a job and career might orient, or for some, a job might pave a path for achieving career goals. For some, a job might bring them awareness about their passions and interests. For some, job and career might be two entirely different roads.  

    However, first, let’s learn the significant difference between the two. 

    Job is making money. It can be through full-time or part-time employment. Job has a responsibility to fulfill in order to pay bills and run essential errands. Jobs might require special skills that you need for that particular role. However, jobs may or may not fulfill your career goals. 

    Unlike a job with a particular role, a career is like an amalgamation of roles, responsibilities, skills, experiences, interests, etc. A career is a path you set for yourself to follow. You specialize or acquire particular education levels and skillsets to advance in your career. Hence, a career is a long-term professional journey, and you might change various jobs in the same career. Focusing on your career gives you much more than money; it bestows you with work satisfaction and self-worth.  

    Now that we understand the difference between the two let’s see the role of purpose in the story!

    The Significance of Purpose 

    Knowing what you want from certain things in life can help you become more resilient and focused. Reflecting upon why we are doing things assists us in finding our purpose. To understand how purpose plays a part in jobs and one’s work life, let me walk you through an interesting example. 

    John, Adam, and Noah work in a music company. John is exceptionally interested in a music-related job and hence is very content working with the organization. Although Adam has a particular interest in music, his purpose for taking the job here is to gather funds and start his own band. On the other hand, Noah likes working in this organization. Still, his core aim is to financially support his single parent and continue his higher education. 

    Notice how three people working in the same organization, two of them having similar career goals, share entirely different purposes. Their purpose is wholly or partially supported by their job, and hence they are certain about what they want from their jobs. Having a focus and being fulfilled with your purpose enhances your emotional wellbeing and impacts your mood positively. 

    Well, does this mean that you need to work to find a purpose? No! You absolutely aren’t bound to work to find yourself a purpose. You merely need to find meaning in whatever you do; just don’t sit idle hating your life. Instead, you should just love waking up every day and look forward to your days. 

    In your opinion, should an individual find a purpose or focus on just getting a paycheck?

    I think it is okay if your primary aim is to earn money, but you should not dread going to work at the end of the day. Your work shouldn’t exhaust you emotionally. Therefore, it is vital to find value in your work and be satisfied and content emotionally. 

    The Impact of Your Job on Your Identity and Emotional Wellbeing

    Your job is an intrinsic part of your daily life, which is why it plays a massive role in shaping an individual’s identity, perceptions, and emotional health. 

    How does your job impact your emotional wellbeing and mood? If you find your job emotionally draining and overwhelming, you will feel exhausted and stressed throughout the day. As a result, you won’t enjoy working, and hence you might even end up piling up work. 

    You also might feel like sometimes failing because you don’t feel fulfilled with your job. You might even avoid social gatherings due to work stress and deteriorate your work/life balance. However, this isolation and anxiousness aren’t emotionally healthy. 

    Instead, your job should help you feel successful and confident. It should give you a sense of accomplishment. Jobs like these groom you as a person, you feel grateful for your work, and you bear better results. 

    On the other hand, are jobs a reason why people behave the way they do? Do jobs shape people’s identity and outlook of the world? 

    Let’s understand this through an example. A nurse or doctor will have a much more considerate and soft approach towards human life. They experience and value the preciousness of our lives because they deal with the vulnerabilities of a human’s life. On the other hand, a police officer’s outlook on human life and nature might be comparatively harsher or stricter. They undoubtedly work and value human life, but they are exposed to the dishonorable and corrupt versions of human nature. Consequently, they are trained to be severe and tough. 

    This shows how one’s nature of work shapes their identity as an individual. Your work impacts how you function daily, and it becomes a part of your life. Some jobs require urgency and uncertainty, and some require patience. Some jobs are solely based on teamwork and unity, and some on individual efforts. Some jobs are designed to look into the loopholes and dangers, and some focus on the optimistic and brighter sides of the world. All of these cater to the needs of humans as a society, however, it highly contributes to the individual growth of those performing these jobs. 

    It is essential to understand what role your job plays in your life and how it aids you to become a better version of yourself. 

    When you dig deep, you find that your purpose is usually tied to something you’re really passionate about. Once you find the things that you’re really passionate about and that you’re really good at, it becomes a lot easier to find your purpose.

    If you need help working embracing who you are as a human, as well as a professional  – let’s chat!  I provide online therapy in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, CaliforniaTexas, and Pennsylvania.  I’m proud to offer online therapy for helping professionals, online therapy for busy professionals, and Therapy for Therapists™. I specialize in treating imposter syndrome, burnout, and anxiety using The Daring Way™ and offer online workshops to clients who want to overcome shame. Contact me today and let’s be rockstars together!

    If you want to know more about me you can read about me as a therapist. Or, if you’re curious about my therapy practice then check out my FAQs, or read my mental health blog.


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