“What job do you want to do?
And I see them all hanging up before me, like clothes on a rack, all the jobs, tinker, tailor, soldier, and you have to pick one and then you have to pretend for the rest of your life that that’s what you are. So they aint no different really from accidents of birth. I didn’t know that phrase then but I learnt it later. It’s a good phrase…”
― Graham Swift, Last Orders
Do I envy others.. that requires analysis and pondering … but what exactly does the word profession mean…how is it different from an occupation? How is it different from an career? Or like me did you think all of them were the same.
Well Merriam Webster defines profession as…
- the act of taking the vows of a religious community,
- an act of openly declaring or publicly claiming a belief faith or opinion
- a vowed religious faith
- a calling
- requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation
- a principle calling vocation or employment
- whole body of persons engaged in a calling.
Now what are we talking about, since the prompt goes on to say that when we do choose our own profession work ceases to be a burden and becomes a blessing instead. And everyone’s ambition is to excel in their chosen profession. Maybe here the word to be used should be occupation or career? Let’s see how that pans out…
Career and profession are usually used as synonyms, though they are characterized by different meanings. A career is used in the sense of occupation, while profession is often used in the sense of a full time job. I find it pretty interesting that the word profession has its adjectival form in the word professional, while career is often only as a noun. It is used in the formation of other words like career building, career advancement etc.
While when we say professional writer, professional singer etc. it mean a full time singer , writer whatever.
Colleges have career guidance cells, and career advancement, but we rarely hear of guidance to choose your profession, probably because profession like Merriam Webster defines is an act of publicly claiming a belief.
A profession as understood loosely, is defined by – body of knowledge,
- ethical guidelines
- professional organization that involves itself in publishing newer knowledge, best practises etc.
professional education would include, accreditation, skill development, certification, licensing, professional development, professional societies , code of ethics etc.
but that is definitely not what we are talking about here, we could be talking about career’s, or occupations, most dictionaries give these are synonyms, again though similar they are pretty subtle in their difference.
Career is the sum total of all the experiences, relationship events, and jobs that a person undertakes during in life time.
A persons occupation gets more or less fixed depending upon his education qualification, so if someone does engineering, it is presumed that he remains an engineer for his lives, as current trends lets assume he decides to pursue an MBA, after which he works in a bank, the usual being investment banking, that would mean, his occupation is no longer engineering but it is now banking. Whether he stays there or moves on, or grows within the structure depends on his intrinsic calling.
A persons remains in an occupation only as long as he is able to make money that is sufficient to fulfil his aspiration and is enough to raise a family. When someone is dissatisfied with his occupation he changes it despite the hardships. There are people who grow within their vocation.
I know of a carpenter, who started off doing minor repairs, then his own shop, eventually a show room and now he has workshops for people who want to learn carpentry. Through distance education and community colleges he has done courses in architecture, archaeology and interior decoration that give him depth in work. I worked with him when we were creating the sets for a play. He studies theatre architecture before he finalized the design. His career charts his journey from an occupation to a profession.
Career is kind of a broader word than occupation, it is possible to change occupation once or many times in a single career, the career remains homogenous if the person is satisfied with this earning and growth. While the career of a person may be full of highs and lows and so on, occupation refers to the field or profession that he chosen for a living.
Career is a word that connotes images of a lifetime of achievements, relationships, events, and everything else that goes in the name of progression in our chosen profession occupation. So, a career comprises all that a person has done or undergone in his professional life so far and what he intends to do in future.
In my space, my profession is healing, my career has grown from humble fill the teeth dentistry to healing, if I were to look at occupational variation in the structure of my career of a dentist, I have been focused on clinical practise, sometimes it has been research, sometimes it has been medical writing, sometimes it has public health education, and now it hypnotherapy. I am absolutely at peace in my profession, career and occupation.
Amen To That.