Difference Between Career and Occupation

Career vs Occupation

Career and occupation are two very closely related concepts that are also most confused ones. This is because if one looks up a dictionary, the two words are given as synonyms. Though there are many similarities between the two terms, there are some subtle differences that will be highlighted in this article. We know that the occupation of a person may be farming, but that does not tell us everything about his career, which is the sum total of all his experiences, relationships, events and jobs that he may have undertaken in his life time. Let us take a closer look.

A person’s occupation gets more or less fixed depending upon his educational qualification (at least in western countries). So, if an individual studies science and later peruses engineering at undergraduate level, engineering becomes his occupation as it becomes his identity of sorts, and he remains an engineer for his life unless, he decides enough is enough and switches his occupation to become something other than an engineer. To give an example, I did my BTech way back in 1990 and was confident that engineering would be my occupation for a long time to come. But I could barely work as an engineer in a government firm for 4 years when I got dissatisfied and left the job to become a businessman. I have been handling a retail business of selling apparels for the last 15 years and writing as a freelancer to satisfy my creative urge.

This is why there are clearly demarcated occupations such as doctor, engineer, lawyer, administrator, farmer, carpenter, plumber, electrician, and so on. A person remains in an occupation for only as long as he is able to make money that is sufficient to fulfill his aspirations, and is enough to raise a family. But it is seen that often, money is not enough and a person, when he is totally dissatisfied with his occupation, goes in for a change even though, he may have to face a lot of hardships in the process. There are some who are prepared to study another course thus, investing money and time to be able to change their occupation.

If you are a plumber, either you work as a freelancer or you work as one in a plumbing company. You can have many jobs in your career as a plumber or even give up plumbing in anticipation of higher income in some other occupation.

Career is a word that connotes images of a lifetime of achievements, relationships, events, and everything else that goes in the name of progression in our chosen profession occupation. So, a career comprises all that a person has done or undergone in his professional life so far and what he intends to do in future.

In brief:

Difference Between Career and Occupation

• Career is a broader word than occupation, and it is possible for a person to change his occupation once or many times in a single career

• In case of homogeneous career, the occupation remains the same as the person is satisfied with his earning and mental satisfaction.

• The career of a person may be full of highs and lows, ups and downs, and so on, while occupation refers to the field or profession that he has chosen for a living.