I read something yesterday that struck me as phenomenally profound. Listen up, ladies (and gents), and truly think about this statement. “Your job is not your career.” Now repeat it. Really repeat it. “Your job is not your career.” For me, what that statement says is this: “Your career exists entirely separately from your job.” And for me, it was a wake-up call. Here am I, four months unemployed, and suddenly realizing that I may be without a job at the moment, but my career is alive and kicking, truly attempting to get me to see that it is still there, still valuable, still a product of the hard work I’ve put in to build it.
We begin to build our careers from adolescence. From the moment we are able to answer the questions about what we want to be when we grow up, we begin to formulate our careers. For me, my career begin to form as a server in various restaurants in high school and college when I fell in love with the restaurant business and the success of multiple small businesses. It was formed in college working for my school’s fine arts programming department, where I fell in love with event production and the logistics of everything from theater productions to jazz concerts. It was in my Washington DC internship where I fell in love with another aspect of events, fundraising. And with every day, every experience, every new thought and goal, my career developed. And while much of it developed along with the phenomenal jobs I’ve had, much of it also developed separately.
So today, I’m remembering this statement strongly. My career exists today, and I’m going to start paying attention to it and stop neglecting it because it currently doesn’t have a job. So remember this in your journeys. Maybe you have a job you hate and feel down about your career. Stop co-mingling the two. Maybe you’re unemployed and looking for a position. Your career still exists. Or maybe you’re in a job you love and focused on the work. Lift your head and think about your career for at least a few minutes every day. What’s next for you? What’s the next step, not in your job, but in your career?