Is it a ‘career’ or a series of jobs?


Working for CareerBuilder, we constantly struggle to understand job seekers. Do people consider themselves career-oriented or are they just looking for the next job? Truth is, even I’m not sure if I’m looking to map out a career or will know the next step once I hit my own personal plateau.

It seems that the days of linear progression and upward climbing are no longer the norm. The career ‘path’ is more like trying to follow a bread crumb made up of ever-changing checkpoints. Sometimes people want a new job because of money. Sometimes they want a new job because they don’t feel creative enough. Sometimes they want a new job for a better title. Sometimes they want a new job for more power or authority. Sometimes they want a new job because their overworked in their current role. Sometimes they want a new job because they need to feed for their family or want to save up for ________ (choose your own adventure: car, wedding, retirement, Invisalign braces, a purebred dog, et al).

From a recent CareerBuilder candidate behavior survey, 74% of participants said that they were actively looking for a new job or were open to new opportunities. That means that nearly everyone holds something ideal to sway them into a career move. But as I think about my own career, it’s always changing – that trigger point that would make me want to switch jobs.

And if like me, nearly everyone else is constantly weighing the pros and cons of every other opportunity against their current position based on ever-changing material or immaterial principles, how can we ever hope to categorize or profile types of job seekers? Maybe it’s just one of those things where we’ll never be sure, but we have a pretty good idea of the buckets of motivations for why people want new jobs.

In my own life, I guess I’ve started to build a career with each position I’ve had building upon the next. In the back of my mind, I think I know what I want my next step to be, but I also have questions about what I’m willing to trade in for such a move.

My ultimate ‘straight & narrow’ career path would be to one day be a VP of marketing in a corporate setting. But that’s not to say I don’t want a little adventure along the way. I thrive in creative environments with a lot of collaboration, so perhaps I’ll need to return to agency life and get my rear-end handed to me. Or maybe I will go grass roots and work for a start up. Or maybe I’ll just keep advancing where I’m at. It’s all uncertain, but all of it is doable and enjoyable from my perspective.

So however you view your own journey, it’s exactly that – yours. No one can go on that journey for you. And I can’t expect anyone to live out mine.


  1. Great post! I’ve been pondering (and blogging about) the whole issue of job vs. career vs. “something more” lately. It’s refreshing to see someone else’s take on it. I’m going to share this with my Facebook followers. Thanks!

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