Job or Career?

At the last SQL Saturday, I got into a discussion with one of the attendees as whether they were looking at SQL Server as a job or as a career.  At first they did not get it, but as I explained further, the light started to come on.  I’m going to try to reproduce the core argument here for the benefit anyone else who might be asking the question, ‘Do I have a job or a career?’

The person I was talking to said that they are the same thing.  Their career is their job and their job is their career.  But I suggested to them that there is a very big difference between a job and a career.  I started with two simple statements.  A job is where you go to work each day and do what the boss tells you to do without question or thought about why you need to do it.  A career is where you wake up each morning eager to make a difference by doing things that need to be done, for the right reasons, and that you enjoy doing because at the end of the day they make you feel like you accomplished something.

Occasionally these two definitions merge and your career is your job, but for most people, I suggested, that is not the case.  Many people go to jobs where they do the same things every day with no variation, no challenge and little sense of how what they do fits into the bigger picture.  They become bored and start watching the clock to see how long it is until they can go home or keep asking, ‘Is it Friday yet’? But what do they do when they do go home?  Sit in front of the TV and veg?  Or do they pursue hobbies or other interests, do they take time to learn new things, do they volunteer their time for some organization or cause?

If you think of your job as just a job, maybe you need to look at what you do outside of your job for the answer.  If you just sit in front of the TV with a bag of chips, maybe you need to ask yourself what else you might enjoy doing and then go out and do it.  If your outside activities are not satisfying you, maybe it is time to stop doing them and try to find other activities.  Once you find an activity that you really like ask yourself if there is a way to make money doing that activity.  Maybe at first it is just a little extra cash, but maybe you can come up with a way to turn it into a business that you really enjoy.  When that happens, it may be time to say ‘Good Bye’ to that old job and ‘Hello’ to that new career.

One final point, find something where you can make a difference.  If your boss doesn’t let that happen, use your free time over the next several months to begin making that transition.  No, you do not need to make a hasty decision, but you cannot wait forever for change to just magically happen.  Life is too short to be stuck in a just a job.  Find a career.

C’ya next time for Conditional Formatting in Excel.


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