People who work just to get a paycheck usually think of their occupation as a job.

People who love what they do for a living often consider their occupation a career.

Jobs are what you do to pay for college; careers are what you do after you graduate.

It is easy to dismiss a job as unimportant. Why bother caring about a job that has nothing to do with your career path?

You get paid regardless of how well you perform, so what’s the point in working harder than you have to?

If you’re thinking that after all, a job is just a job, well, think again.

Career development: it’s never “just a job”

Erase the phrase “it’s just a job” from your vocabulary. Putting minimal effort into a job is only doing you a disservice.

Even the smallest job should be treated as if it is a stepping stone to something else…because it very well might be.

Every job offers you an important chance to wow someone, to lead to an amazing recommendation or to expand your network.

Coasting through work is a lot like coasting through college. You might pass, but you won’t gain as much from the experience. Consider every position that you hold as a learning opportunity.

Jobs can teach you how to communicate more effectively and improve your collaboration skills. Your interactions with customers and coworkers at your job will be beneficial when you begin your career.

Besides increasing your skill set, jobs are a fantastic way to build a network. Though your current job might not be in your desired career field, that doesn’t mean you can’t begin assembling contacts.

The people that you meet at work could help connect you to your dream position. Having a large network of people that believe in your abilities will make it a lot easier to take the first steps toward your future career.

Moreover, every supervisor that you impress could lead to a strong letter of recommendation. Having a reference list full of past employers that praise your skills will be valuable when you start your career search.

If you come into an interview with years of mediocre job performances and no positive references, you will create a poor first impression.

Making a good first impression is important, particularly in a difficult job market.

Turning a “job” into a career

No job is a throw away. There is always something to learn or someone to impress. If you cannot find any value in your current job, that doesn’t justify indifferent behavior.

Continue to do your best while searching for a new job. Carelessness in the workplace is disrespectful to your peers and ineffectual to you.

Treat every job like it is a career. You will care more, learn more and be a lot happier. A job should be more than a paycheck.

Each position you hold is a chance to grow, so don’t waste those opportunities. Remember, even the most powerful people in the world had to start somewhere.

Make each job count. After all, your career is counting on it.


Erin Palmer is a writer and editor for Bisk Education. She works with Villanova University’s human resources certification and degree programs. Erin graduated cum laude from the University of Tampa with a degree in Writing. She can be reached on Twitter @Erin_E_Palmer.