UNITED STATES—I tell people this time and time again; there is a vast difference between a job and a career. Some might argue I’m using that terminology to establish status, but that is not the case in any fashion. When I talk about a job it could be something temporary or unstable, whereas a career might have a bit more stability. Now let me point this out loud and clear this has nothing to do with status, it has to deal with undeniable certainty that you have an employer that you can rely and depend on.

Why am I brining this up? Well, it’s funny how when you are not looking for a job or to start a new career that opportunities tend to explode in your face. I had an opportunity presented to me that was perhaps one of the best that I’ve seen in years. I mean I would be making great pay, consistent hours, 401k plan, health insurance and benefits, paid vacations, personal holidays, holidays off and I would be working for the government. It sounds like the perfect job right? There was one slight caveat: it was not a guaranteed job for life; it was a contract job for only two years. Ugh, it left me spiraling. Do you take an opportunity that you know is consistent for two years and discard a potential job that you have that you know will be around as long as you continue performing your job to the best of your ability? I would argue if I was in my early 20s, why not take the gamble, but I’m not in my 20s, I’m in my 30s and I want stability in employment. I need to know the following things when I am being employed by someone 1) Consistent work hours 2) Consistent days off after putting in my time 3) A reliable paycheck.

Those things matter most to me because as an American I can dictate and expect what to do with the income I earned for the week or bi-weekly or for the month. I know what bills can be paid, which ones can be put off, and what excess funds I have to spend on X, Y and Z. People might think this is crazy, but this is why so many people are ambivalent about commission. It’s good to be able to dictate your paycheck, by time you invest in your work, but at the same time that instability can leave one in a state of anxiety.

You don’t know if you’ll be able to pay your bills. Some weeks are better than others; you might splurge one week in hopes of ‘knowing’ the following week will be just as good if not better than the previous week. That is not always the case. This happens in real estate, car sales, and general sales in most situations. The grind is nonstop because if you’re not on the grind you may not see the check that you want to see. I love the notion of getting paid an hourly because I’m not like most people; if I have a job I’m going to work and when I’m scheduled to work you will not only get my attention 100 percent of the time, but 1000 percent of the time. That is how work should always be. You get paid to perform a job or task so ensure you perform the job or task that is given to you.

However, so many employers have become aloof to the fact that they have staff who do not work, who do not perform, yet each week they are forking out hundreds of dollars to someone who has basically done nothing, while a co-worker of theirs is not only performing their job, but their colleague’s job and then some. This is where I believe a lot of people start to question their place in the workplace. Do I want to keep doing the same thing over and over and have a headache each night or at the end of the week that isn’t worth it, especially for a job that you don’t know is stable?

I mean it’s a reasonable question to ask and it explains why so many people go back to school because they want to establish a career or create their own path in life. I did it by deciding to go back to pursue my Master’s Degree and it has been beneficial to me. Not only have I gained more knowledge, but I’m getting the realization that the opportunities are limitless when you open your eyes to the fact that you don’t have to be stuck in a particular mold. I feel like with a career it gives you the opportunity to jump between opportunities if things are not going the way that you expected. Whereas with a job, that instability puts you in a position where you find yourself sometimes stuck and fearful of making a move or transition because something that you knew was unstable leads you to something even more unstable.

It is most of the time a battle between full-time workers and part-time workers where so many fail to realize that there are actual benefits to both types of employees. Heck, part-time workers actually do more at times than full-time workers. Why? FT workers get a bit of an ego; they have this perception that they have PUT IN THE TIME and no longer have to do the work. It is a bad aura to have and it can send reliable and hard-working employees to look for employment elsewhere when they don’t feel appreciated. Hence that word, appreciation because if you have yourself in an environment where there is too much instability in your place of employment it gives you that much more of a reason to vacate and look for something better, something more enthralling, something stable and dependable.

Written By Kelsey Thomas