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It’s your lucky day. For the TLDNR (‘too long, did not read’) among us, the answer to the question posed by the article’s title can be boiled down to this: Jobs are the building blocks of a career.

Interested in exploring this a little deeper? Read on.

Beyond the Words

We all should be comfortable with the definition of the word, “Job.” It’s specific and immediate. It has to do with what you do—or will do—as an employee. It’s the actionable part of what you do in exchange for your salary.

The word “Career” originates from the Latin noun carraria. Literally translated, it means, “a road for vehicles.” So, if you think of a job as a vehicle, your career is the destination it will take.

There’s a third word that you may hear people use in relation to jobs and careers: Vocation. Sometimes you’ll also hear people refer to it as a calling. Vocation comes from the Latin verb vocare, which translated means, “to call.”

If jobs are the building blocks of a career, and your career is the destination, a vocation is the reason for choosing that destination. For most people who decide to pursue a career in the trades, they decide to become a plumber, an electrician, or an HVAC technician because they’ve decided they’ll find personal satisfaction in helping others. They would like to pursue the calling—or vocation—of service.

The Building Blocks

People who don’t have a clear destination usually don’t mind taking all sorts of different jobs. As soon as they decide on a destination, jobs take on a different perspective. Each successive job you have in your career is an opportunity to collect experience and build long-term relationships.

There’s a difference in education levels needed for a job and a career, as well. Let’s say you decide you do want to pursue a career in the trades. You’ll need specific training. One of the advantages of becoming a plumber, an electrician, or an HVAC technician is that these careers involve apprenticeship programs that reward you with a paycheck while you learn and gain valuable on-the-job experience.

Finding a Career Versus a Job

Not all jobs are building blocks for a career. Sometimes, we just need to pay the bills. However, once we decide on a career, the lifetime of jobs you choose should all point you in the direction of your calling.

How do you decide on a career if you’re not sure what you want to do? One of your first options is to look at descriptions of various jobs. Do they sound enjoyable? There are plenty of online resources to help. If you’re interested in learning more about a job in the trades, take this quiz. It’s quick and fun, and it’ll give you access to great next-steps if you want to keep exploring the opportunity.