“Career” is a latin word which means a “road”. The Industrial revolution and the subsequent developments catapulted many such words into new life spheres which got created. And one of these was Career – meaning broadly the road of life. More specifically your professional path.
There is always talk about your job when career gets mentioned and many times both get interlinked. Your Career could be a string of jobs you held over a 40 year period. But that need not always be so.
Career is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as an individual’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”. It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work (and sometimes also formal education).
For instance a Mechanical Engineering Graduate could join as a Graduate engineering Trainee in Production in a Large Automobile Manufacturer and his career in Automobile Industry would start. He is a Mechanical Engineer by profession but has taken up a career in Automotive Manufacturing.
After a few years in Manufacturing if he moved into Product Development Role – he would have probably switched careers into one that involves Research and Development. He continues to be an Automobile Professional. Sometimes the profession and career get mixed up and can be used interchangeably.
Now if this same person moves into academics after a 20 year stint in the industry – he would have made a major career shift. The dynamics of a Professional in the industry and of the one in Academia are entirely different. In 20 years he would have taken on a Managerial role . From a Management Professional he becomes an Academician.
By modern day standards he would still be considered as having a relatively steady career. Only one major shift.
We are entering an era where an individual might have shifted 7-8 or maybe more in a career spanning 30-40 years.
Nowadays most engineers after would not be starting a career in engineering. They might be staring a career in software , or Sales, or Finance. And quite a few who go for PG in Management bury their Engineering forever. This is meant not to rue the loss of engineers its just another example of the winding roads which a modern day career takes.