October, 2010

Defining work terms – know the difference
Sometimes people use words like "career", "occupation" or "job" to talk about the same thing. However, each of these terms means something different:

  • Career is a sequence of occupations and other life roles that express a person's commitment to work and reflects a pattern of self-development.  Each person has one lifelong career that may include many occupations and jobs.

  • Occupation is a grouping of jobs with common tasks that require similar skills.

  • Job is a paid position with specific duties, tasks and responsibilities in a particular place of work.


  • Smita's friend Sita spent her entire career in the health care industry.  When she first started out she chose nursing as her occupation and got a job as an emergency room attendant at the local hospital.

  • Kumar spent his entire career in the petroleum industry.  When he first started out he chose refining as his occupation and got a job as a shift engineer in the gasoline distillation section at CPCL, Chennai.