Generally people see careers as work done that lasts a significant number of years in a field that you have a strong interest in, and it generally follows some associated education. A job on the other hand is sometimes seen as a shorter term engagement, not necessarily in a field you are dedicated to over a long period of time, and it need not follow that you went to school to learn how to do it.
Working on this kind of premise, suppose you have a career in mind. Having spent two, three or four years in school, (or more), you’ve set out on the path to put that education to use and land a job in the field. So far so good. Your family and friends will see this as a logical and sensible process. So then why on earth would taking a job outside that field seem to be a good idea?
For starters, employment of any kind on a resume communicates to a perspective employer that you have recent work history. Aside from whatever you are specifically doing in that job, what is then inferred and understood is that you have a routine. That routine includes getting up and getting going, being dependable, developing a work ethic where others depend on you. In any job you will be familiar with taking direction, being accountable and probably working with others. These are transferable behaviours in that you take these to any job.
Of course taking a job while waiting to get your career on track also provides you with much-needed income. Jobs do generally pay less than careers, but any income will be an asset as you pay down education debt you incurred, pay the rent, buy the groceries and get around.
A job will also provide you with something your schooling just can’t give you and that is a work reference; assuming that is that you are a good employee. Many employers who have, ‘jobs’ available instead of, ‘careers’ expect a fairly continuous turnover. Very few people for example make a career out of waiting tables. The person that makes your burger isn’t likely to have worked there for 15 years or so, although I’m not saying that isn’t possible.
Another benefit to taking a job outside your career field is one not a lot of people think of at the outset. If on the off-chance the position you take doesn’t work out well, there is a very small probability that word will be spread to people who do the hiring in the field you want to make a career out of. In other words, if you want to break into Information Technology but are pumping gas in the short-term just to pay your living expenses while you job search for the career, if you ever got fired or quit, those that might consider you for that IT job will never know about it unless you tell them.
It could also happen that you take on a job outside your ideal career and find you like it. Maybe not forever, but I do know of a person who went to school and planned a career in Merchandising and Retail Management. They took a job as a cashier in a financial institution and found they liked it so much that they ended up making that job a ten-year position. Once employed, the doors within the organization to other opportunities opened up, and that person applied to and was successful in making first a lateral move and then moved up into a Management position.
A wise person sees the value in all types of employment. Should you take a job that doesn’t work out for example, it’s a good idea to think about what it was that you really didn’t like about it. This way you can move forward and avoid making a similar decision in the future that will bring you unhappiness. So too you should look at a job – any job – and think seriously about what you might find appealing about it.
Now me personally, I can’t see myself wanting to ever be a Personal Support Worker. Working with the elderly and frail by and large isn’t a strength of mine, especially when you add in declining health issues. I know that about myself. However, if I DID visualize myself in that job, I could see the benefits of being a Personal Support Worker because I’d be in the helping profession; and helping others who are vulnerable is something I do take great pleasure in doing.
You see, it’s not a bad thing to admit to yourself and others that there are some jobs you just aren’t cut out for. Does not wanting to work with the frail who are elderly make me a bad person? No. Being a, ‘bad’ person or a, ‘good’ person has nothing to do with it. It’s finding out what you like and don’t like, where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and taking jobs can identify that.
Employers like to hire people with recent work experience. If you are holding out only wishing to work in a career position that fits your field, you could be missing a very valuable job experience that can give you the ammunition you need in an interview to answer those questions that want you to provide answers drawing on real-life, recent job experience.
Something to consider.