The 3 Types Of Work Everyone Should Know

Group of employees at work

There are only three types of work. There's a job, a career, and a calling. I have been a career coach for 20 years and I can tell you that after working with thousands of people what you do for work falls into one of these three categories.

What To Know About The 3 Types Of Work


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♬ original sound - J.T. O'Donnell

As a professional, you either have:

  1. A job which just pays the bills and really doesn't bring you a lot of satisfaction other than the fact that it's taking care of you financially
  2. A career where not only does it pay the bills, but you feel like you're leveraging some of your strengths, so it makes you feel a little satisfied
  3. A calling which is when you're absolutely leveraging your strengths, feel like it's what you were meant to do, and you're getting paid for it

The Problem

Professional man works from home


Now, the problem with this is that over the years, society has convinced all of us that the only thing we should be striving for is the calling—that we should be in love with our work. Everything we do should feel effortless and we should get a big paycheck for it. And that's not how it works.

Your life is forever changing. There are times in your life where a job is the only thing you need. It's the only thing you can handle. It pays the bills, and that's good enough. Every job is temporary. Then, there's the career. There's a time in your life where you feel like you're doing satisfying work and you're getting the paycheck. Then sometimes people reach the calling; they find exactly what they want to do in life. But the thing about the calling is that you need to be willing to sacrifice—you need to be willing to do it even if you couldn't get a paycheck. Most people don't have the strength or the resources to go after the calling.

Stop Looking For A Calling And Do This Instead...

Professional women smile as they work


As a career coach, I want to manage people's expectations and I want them to be as happy as they possibly can be in the situation they're in. But to do that, everyone needs to understand that it's not one-size-fits-all.

Stop searching for the perfect calling in the big paycheck. Learn to assess where you are today. Understand what's currently going on in your life. Let's make a conscious decision about what type of work—a job, a career, and (maybe) a calling—you need right now. And then let's work to improve that step by step.

They didn't teach us this in school. And, candidly, employers don't want you to know this because they want you to be forever stuck in a job, don't they? But there are good employers out there. Good employers want you to feel fulfilled and satisfied. They can take you to the career level and maybe even the calling level. But they don't just grow on trees and they don't just fall in front of you. There's no magic fairy godmother to give you that calling or career. You have to figure out who you are, what your strengths are, and then we start to work with that and, like a puzzle, we piece it together—a beautiful, unique puzzle that is all you. So, stop looking for a calling and simply focus on growing your career. If you "work it daily," you'll get to where you want to be in your professional life. I promise.

Want Help Finding Your Next Job, Career, Or Calling? 

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