What is a Career Exactly? Here’s My Career Definition.

One day I was thinking – what career should I choose? Should I go for an MBA, or a Masters Degree or just take up the first job that comes my way?

Then I thought, wait a minute – what is a career in the first place?

Why should I take up any career at all? Why does society have this concept of a career?

Let me understand the meaning of career first and why we have it.

Then I can think about which career to choose.

So after thinking and thinking and thinking, here’s what I found out.

What is a Career?

You and me and all of us, we need many things. We need food, we need a house and we need clothes. And a lot of things like transport facilities and greeting cards and cell phones also. 🙂

Money bills
What’s a career? Is it all about earning money?

Now since everybody in the world needs all these things, where do these things come from?

One option is that everybody, creates the things he wants.

Like you grow your own food, build your own car and your own house and live happily.

What's a career?
We’re too busy in our careers to think about what a career is.

But this is very difficult because there are so many things you need.

So our ancestors worked out a better solution. They decided that everybody could somehow contribute to fulfilling the collective needs of everybody doing what he could do best. And then in return he could get whatever he wanted in proportion to how important his contribution to the collective needs was.

The advantage of this would be that since one person was doing one thing that he could do best – overall everybody would get their need fulfilled in the best way.

Say you’ve got only 3 needs – food, cars and a house. So this new system the ancestor guys thought of was –
The basis of a careerThe food guys make food for everybody, the house guys make houses for everybody and the car guys make cars for everybody. Then the food people exchange the excess food they make for cars and houses. The house people exchange the houses they make for food and cars and the car people similarly exchange the cars to fulfill their other needs.

This is exactly what we do today.

But there are a lot of people and a lot many wants.

So if a food guy makes food, he also wants mobile phones, and refrigerators and motorbikes and clothes. So in exchange for the food he gives you – what do you give him? It would be pretty weird to give him what he wanted because you might not even have that item yourself and he might need hundreds of things anyway.

So these wise ancestors created a gift coupon called money.

So that means you eat the food from this food guy and then you say – “Dude, here’s a gift coupon from my side, you can exchange this coupon anywhere and you can get clothes, phones anything you want of value equivalent to the food I’ve eaten.” And the food guy’s happy.

So the food guy gives the coupon to the clothes guy and buys clothes and to the phone guy and buys a phone. And these phone guys and clothes guys can get whatever they want by giving other people the gift coupon.

So the wise ancestors succeeded in creating a system where every person was creating some value for others and getting all his wants met in return.

Career Definition Examples

Here’s what a doctor is doing – he’s treating his patients. Treatment is what the patents want. So in exchange for the treatment, they give the doctor a certain valued gift coupon (money) and say – “Now since you have treated us, take this and you can exchange it anywhere to get what you want.”

My mother’s a professor. Here’s what she is doing. She’s giving the students what they want – knowledge about computers – and they are giving her gift coupons (money) to go and buy whatever she wants – food, clothes, anything.

Someone who’s got a job in a software company is doing what the software company CEO wants and the CEO himself is coordinating making software that other people want. So these other people give the CEO lots of gift coupons and he distributes them among his staff. So they all get to fulfill their wants. 🙂

So everybody’s actually fulfilling some specific want others have and in exchange, they’re getting a gift coupon which they can exchange anywhere for anything they want.

This creating something for others to get what you need is very essentially a career.

So well…

So well, that’s what I thought that day about career. How can this knowing why we all have careers and why society invented a “career” actually help you in your life?

That depends on you. 

Knowing the answer to ‘what is a career’ helped me because then I finally knew why I was choosing a career in the first place instead of choosing it simply because everybody was choosing it.

Then it also became clear to me that essentially what I had to do was create value for some people – and I would obtain my gift coupons. So it was not compulsory for me to get a job – which is most people’s way of creating value – I could choose other ways to create value – and as long as I created ANY value at all, I would get my gift coupons. 🙂

So well, keep thinking…