Jobs or Careers – Which one is better

Jobs or CareersThe new emerging world economy has thrown up new opportunities as well as new challenges for the young working population of today. There is a visible paradigm shift that seems to be taking place between a job oriented approach vis a vis a career oriented approach.

There is a new school of thought developing with regard to how an employment opportunity must be perceived and dealt with. Traditionally, employment was always considered synonymous with “career,” where as “job” was considered to be an inadequate approach to work. Consistency and long-term focus were believed to be the key to career advancement, where as quick job-hopping was treated as a short-sighted strategy with poor results in the long run. “Job loyalty” was believed to pay rich dividends, if one looked at the career balance sheet in the final analysis.

However, in the present world the rules of the game appear to be changing. The competition in business and industry is of an intense degree. Globalization has ensured a level playing field for all. Now it is the survival of the fittest. As a result, the international employers are compelled to opt for outsourcing of cheapest workforce, at the cost of existing employees. Downsizing and layoffs have become the buzzwords during every economic shake-up in a particular industry or across industries.       

As a result, the employees have also changed their tactics, and are increasingly opting for the “short-term gains” approach. The future of a job and the future of the company itself have become highly unpredictable. So where is the logic of job loyalty any longer? “Job Security” has become a relic of the past. And job loyalty cannot exist in real terms without job security. It has to be a two-way street between the employee and the employer.

But having said that, there is still the traditional school of thought that continues to remain in existence even today. There are model corporations such as the Tata group of companies in India that still continue to embrace the old values of providing careers, and not mere jobs, to their employees. There are also certain employees, particularly in the older age groups, who continue to believe that career building strategy has a greater payoff in the long run than a job specific strategy.  

The debate between jobs and careers is challenging one, and there are no easy answers. In a free market economy, everything ultimately becomes a function of demand and supply. Perhaps human resource is also finally becoming a part of this harsh but true economic equation.

 

- Vikas Vij (views expressed in the article are that of the author)

 

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