What is career?: Definition, Career Goal, 3 Path

What is career: A career is a job, profession or occupation a person does for a long period of life for livelihood, success, satisfaction, and more. In this article, we have discussed “what is career to me and others” and meaning of career, its definition, synonyms of career, career planning, career goal, 3 essential career paths, etc. Career as a Synonym for occupation, profession, job, politics, social work, journalism, and many occupation and professions. 

We have also discussed about different career related terms in this article to clarify the concept of career, for examples— Work, job, career, profession, occupation, The Blind Men and the Elephant, planning a career, how to choose the right career, self-assessment,  IAS, politics, acting, photography, sports, lateral career moves, career decisions, career progress, etc.

Table of Contents


What is career?: How it changes your life

Understanding the concept of a career and its transformative impact on life is essential in navigating one’s professional journey. A career encompasses the pursuit of long-term goals, aspirations, and professional development. It not only shapes one’s financial stability but also influences personal growth, self-identity, and fulfillment. Exploring the significance of a career can shed light on the profound changes it brings to individuals’ lives, shaping their paths and destinies.

If you understand “what is career” properly then you can evaluate what is importance of career and how it changes your life and future. Let’s discuss first “what is career to me”.

What is career to me and others?

“Career is a means that makes a person successful and satisfied in life by doing what he/she wishes to do and achieving goals for reaching a destination set before.” __ Dr. Md. Usmangani Ansari

In my opinion, as humans are a subjective bunch influenced by their own emotions, perceptions, or opinions, and they interpret things in their way individually and so the career is a subjective term that every individual defines and interprets it in his/her own way like six blind men describe the same elephant by touching her different parts in their way of imagination (“The Blind Men and the Elephant”, by American poet John Godfrey Saxe). Therefore I realize that a career is completely subjective in meaning and definition; there cannot be a standard unit of its measurement as success cannot be measured by a unit of measurement. I think you have understood “what is career” to one person to another. Let’s know “what is meaning of career”.

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What is meaning of career?

You will understand the “what is career” in better way with help of meaning of career. As for most people, career means the part of professional or occupational life that is concerned with employment or job or business, etc.  From an occupational standpoint, career means the sum total of the various works you may work during your lifetime. But a career in a broader sense means the sum total of decisions that direct an individual’s educational, social, economic, political, and spiritual endeavors and reflect his/her unique personality characteristics, basic life values, and work preferences.

What is definition of career?

Let’s know that what is career with help of its definitions given by different dictionaries below.

  • Definition of career in Merriam Webster Dictionary — “Career is a field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life.”
  • In Collins Dictionary “A career is the job or profession that someone does for a long period of their life.”                   
  • “Career is an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.” __ Oxford Dictionary
  • “Career is a sequence of positions occupied by a person during the course of a lifetime. A career is all the jobs that are held during one’s working life. This is an objective career.” __ Super & Hall                                                               
  • “Career is the progress and actions taken by a person throughout a lifetime, especially those related to that person’s occupations. A career is often composed of the jobs held, titles earned, and work accomplished over a long period of time, rather than just referring to one position.” __ Business Dictionary  

What is Career?: Synonyms of Career are Occupation, Profession, Job, Politics, Social Work...

We often use the word “career” as a synonym for occupation, trade, profession, or vocation. This definition refers to what a person does to earn a living. There are thousands of careers, some of them require extensive education and training but others for which you need hardly any preparation.

Examples of careers as a synonym of occupation are farming, carpentry, hair cutting, beauty parlor, apiculture, sericulture, building construction, transport business, any business, micro, and medium enterprises, and as a synonym of a profession is engineer, doctor, lawyer, building architect, chartered  accountant (CA), psychologist, and other synonyms of career are teaching, business management, counselling, accountant, government jobs i.e. IAS, IPS, IRS, PCS, social work, politics, writing, acting, photography, sports, etc. Now I think you have fully understood the “what is career” by knowing different synonyms of career here.

What is career?: Difference between Occupation and Profession

Occupation is a broader term that means something a person undertakes to make a living. It can be a profession, business, or employment in government or a company. Profession, on the other hand, is usually a higher-order occupation that requires education, degree/qualification, knowledge, expertise, skills, specialized training, and sometimes license to practice.

The difference between occupation and profession can be understood with a simple example: Designing a building would be called a profession, whereas constructing a building is an occupation. A profession needs extensive training and specialized knowledge. Whereas, an occupation does not need any extensive training. A person with an occupation need not have specialized knowledge (knowledge vs information) of his trade.

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What is Career Planning?

However “planning a career” is the most important first decision of your life which can help in selecting the right education and professional trade of skills and expertise in the beginning. The right “education and professional trade of your choice and interest” will definitely assist you “how to choose the right career” after “self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses”. Thus, the answer of “what is career planning” is to make a careful and well-researched decision “to choose and develop your career”. Career planning can strengthen your confidence and increase the chances of success in achieving the goal set before. It means career planning is the most important decision of an individual to lead a successful and prosperous life.

What is career goal?

What is career goal leads us to decide a profession or an occupation to pursue throughout life to earn livelihood as well as work willingly to get success and satisfaction in life. The career goal can be broken into many parts or targets to reach the destination you have set before. 

For example, suppose you are in class tenth and you like to treat poor patients free of cost or affordable cost throughout life. Then, your first target or goal is to be a doctor. How will you achieve this goal? You will opt physics, chemistry, and biology (PCB) in XIth after passing high school. And after XIIth your next target or goal is to qualify the admission test for the MBBS course. Thereafter doing a master degree  in medicine.   

Next, you may enroll in a hospital management course from a reputable school. Advancing your studies is a good idea to boost your chances of doing good practice in a reputed hospital of the country and then switching over to open your own hospital. Here you can be chairman or CEO of your firm to serve the poor free of cost in the health domain. This is what you had set as your career goal in the beginning of schooling period.

What is Importance of Career?

There are various importance of career in life. A suitable and successful career helps in many ways in life. For example, it inspires you to do what you like to earn a paycheck. It encourages you to take interest in your job or profession or occupation as a result your life will be sustainable and rewarding. It makes you progress and more progress because of your engagement and interest in what you are doing.

What is Career Path?: Upgrade Career Graph

Career path is a way on which you can begin your career journey from the bottom and upgrade in post and position. Career paths also help in career progress and advancement to reach on the top of success. It is the way to satisfy yourself in life by achieving your goals. There are many career paths but the most working and discussed are:

  1. Multiple unrelated jobs
  2. Advancing within one occupation
  3. Advancing in the same industry but not occupation

Let’s discuss what is career path one by one.

Career Path-1: Multiple Unrelated Jobs

Your career might be made up of a bunch of multiple random jobs that are unrelated to one another. For example, you may first work as a cashier in a grocery store, then as a clerk in a school office, and next as a supervisor in building construction. With such disparate job experiences in your work history, there is no way to predict what your next position will be. Because they have very little in common, you may not see significant pay increases from one to the next or significant increases in responsibility.

Career Path-2: Advancing within the Same Occupation

The second path involves advancing in the same occupation, whether you work for the same organization or at different establishments. For example, if you are doing your work as a cashier, you could eventually be moved to a customer service position where you operate a cash register but also handle customer service issues. Eventually, you could be moved to a head cashier position, supervising the other cashiers along with the increment of salary.

Career Path-3: Advancing in the same industry but not occupation

The third path involves moving up the corporate ladder or government organization through a variety of positions in the same industry or secretariat, but not in the same occupation. For example, if your ultimate goal is to become a cabinet secretary you could start as an assistant secretary in sports ministry, then move to deputy secretary in commerce department, then to additional secretary in the higher education department, to joint secretary in the health ministry, to a secretary in the finance ministry, and finally, move to cabinet secretary position in cabinet secretariat. However, the above order of progress of an IAS officer may be different in the Government of India’s order of promotion.

Here you may not see the specific career path which you represent. Because many specific career path situations exist to be discussed in detail. For example, lateral career shift—when an individual transitions between jobs with different, but not necessarily greater responsibilities. When you enter a new profession, as would be the case here, you may have to start at the bottom. Careers, as demonstrated here, take on many different forms. Therefore, you are advised to make careful, extensively researched case studies, and well thought out career decisions when you have an opportunity for a particular job especially, in the lateral entry of another occupation and industry to increase your chance of success on a career path.

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What is Career Counselling and how it Manage Career Path?

Career counseling is a personalized and strategic process designed to assist individuals in managing their career paths effectively. Career counselling involves evaluating one’s skills, interests, and values to align them with suitable career options. Professional career counselors provide guidance on setting realistic goals, exploring potential career paths, and navigating through educational and professional opportunities. This holistic approach empowers individuals to make informed decisions, enhance their job satisfaction, and achieve long-term career success. 

Career counseling also addresses challenges such as career transitions, skill development, and work-life balance, ensuring individuals can adapt to evolving professional landscapes and make choices that align with their aspirations and personal fulfillment.

FAQs Related to What is a career

Q. What do you mean by a career?

Ans. A career can be one job or many jobs or professions or occupations. It can be in one company or many companies. A career can include education, training, and work experience.

Q. What is career example?

Ans. Examples of careers are jobs or professions or occupations such as doctor, lawyer, engineer, writer, editor, teacher, banker, manager, business, politician, etc. for example, Rani chooses medical profession as a career.

Q. What is career in life?

Ans. A career is the different experiences that you have undertaken throughout your life. It includes your career path and takes account of your education, training and paid or unpaid work in the entire life period.

Q. What makes a job a career?

Ans. A job is just something you do for money to bear your expenses whereas a career is a long-term endeavor, something you build towards and work upon every day not only for money but to satisfy yourself.

Q. Why is career important?

Ans. The importance of a career is based on its  benefits. For example, it always inspires you to do what you have to do to make your life come alive and satisfied. It helps in your progress, because you are engaged and interested in your work.

Q. How do you define career?

Ans. A career can be defined as a life journey that includes learning, training, learning new skills and working in one job or the many.  The working can be in one company or many companies during the career path.

Q. What is career vs job?

Ans. A job is the work through which you can earn money or a paycheck. However, a career is the total of your education, jobs, experiences, training which help you to advance in pay, responsibility, career graph and make you successful.


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