Job Hunting vs. Career Building

I think this would be a great time to talk about the differences between looking for a job and building a career.  More often than not, we say we are job hunting when we might actually mean building our careers.  We often under-use the term career building.  When people ask “what are you up to?” nine times out of ten, they are curious to know how successful you are.  People don’t typically ask “what are you working towards?”. That would be a much more meaningful way to ask you about how you’re building your career.   The fact that people misconstrue these two phrases allows them to also confuse the terms job hunting and career building. 

I consider job hunting the short term solution.  Job seekers are looking for something to do immediately.  To look for a job, means that for whatever reason you need a change in pace now.  If you are unemployed or your boss is driving you absolutely crazy, those are factors or “pushers” as I’ll call them, that push you to get a job.  I am in no way saying that pushers are bad motivators.  Hey, I need money to pay for those student loans I accumulated, and a good paying job just like the rest of us. However, pushers in our lives are very important to overcome in order to make us happy.  If your boss makes you miserable, then he/she is one of your pushers to get you into a new position.  Pushers can be identified as many things but typically they will be things that you do not have control over.  Your boss, pay, or job duties can all be seen as pushers.

You can probably guess that career building is what I would consider to be the long term solution.  Career building has a lot to do with building up your experiences to achieve your end career goal or goals.  You’ll want to go after things that will help you reach your goals and try hard to create the path to your future.  These things that keep us driven I consider to be “pullers”.  Pullers are typically things that we can control and work towards to achieve.  If getting a Master’s degree is something you need for a job (*raises hand slowly*), then going for that degree is a puller.  Getting an education is an obvious puller, but jobs can  be pullers too.  Working in the education field is a puller for me.  I do not work in higher education, but it is still a place that has pulled me into working towards my dream.  If I began working as a custodian on a college campus, that could also be a puller job. Working up the chain in an industry is a well known technique for career building.  The key thing to remember with pullers, is that they are what you make of them. Volunteering or creating a blog can also be pullers.  Think outside of the box for some good pullers.

While there is a difference to be established between pushers and pullers the same experience can be shifted from one to the other.  Do not let these shifts get you confused to what you want or need to do in life.  I always say work towards building a career for yourself.  If you are wondering what kind of pullers are out there for you take a look at this link.  Wallethub did a great job of putting together some entry level positions that might show you what positions will pull or push you. They’re ranking system might not match yours, but they did us a favor by listing out over 100 entry level jobs.  If your trying to change or start your career entry level jobs are great pullers.  

What someone sees as a puller might be a pusher for you.  This is where job hunting and career building can get confusing.  Job hunting is not career building.  Pushers and pullers are the factors that contribute to whether you hunt or build. I suggest working your best towards the pullers and removing the pushers from your life.  Sometimes,  that simply means changing your thoughts on your current situation.  I thought my job in education was a pusher job.  It was just going to fill the time I needed to get my next degree.  Turns out, this field is a great puller to get into higher education.  You might not have to change your environment to learn that you have many pullers helping you along the way.

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