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When is a job not a job?


When it is a career?

Words have power so I like to read the meanings to them when formulating my thoughts:

job 1 |jäb|
1 a paid position of regular employment : jobs are created in the private sector, not in Washington | a part-time job.
2 a task or piece of work, esp. one that is paid : she wants to be left alone to get on with the job | you did a good job of explaining.
• a responsibility or duty : it’s our job to find things out.

career |kəˈri(ə)r|
an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.
• the time spent by a person in such an occupation or profession : the end of a distinguished career in the navy.
• the progress through history of an institution or organization : the court has had a checkered career.
• [as adj. ] working permanently in or committed to a particular profession : a career diplomat.

At the start of a career you get a job. This job hopefully leads to another and another. Over the years if you do enough of them and they are similar then you have a career. Be it in animation or some other field. There are many challenges in your way that will help you decide if you are in a career or a job or if you want a career in a given field. Sometimes it can take years to decide. What goals you set for yourself might change over the years and you might find something that you are happy doing that you never thought you would be at the start.

I get asked to speak at colleges a fair amount and one of the more common questions I get is, “what career advice can you give us?” I find this a difficult question to answer since I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer to it. I usually end up tossing some questions back at the person asking.

1. Do you really want to do this for the rest of your life? I ask myself this one everyday.
2. Is this more than just a job? Do you do this when you are not getting paid?
3. Would you do this if you weren’t being paid much? That isn’t to say cheapen yourself but what are you willing to do in the beginning to get experience.
4. Do you love what you are doing? Will you still love it in a year?
5. What are you willing to do to keep doing this work?
6. Can you imagine yourself doing something else?

These aren’t questions that you can answer right away but can help you find the questions that you need to ask to get you in the right direction. I find it is the rare person who ends up being exactly where they expected to be when they started out in a career.

It might be the hedonist in me but I find that, no matter what, if I like what I am doing right now then I am on the right path, wherever that might take me. You might say that is short sighted. I would say why should I be unhappy now for unknown happiness later? This philosophy has not always served me well but ultimately it was my choice and I made it.

I remember my High school guidance councilor giving me advice on what path to choose as my career. I went through this process of filling out pages and pages of aptitude tests to help figure out what I was best suited for. In the end my councilor told me I should get my head out of the clouds and not have too high of an expectation of what I could accomplish. He told me I would be best suited for work as a gravedigger. Luckily I ignored this advice. Feel free to ignore mine.


  1. Jeff Jeff February 25, 2010

    Hey, I know this is an informal approach but I am doing this to gain as much recognition as I can in this industry. I am a character designer/concept artist and illustrator with solid formal training and years of experience. I am still very unknown but I’m picking up speed so if you are interested in finding out who its apparent “spammer” is, please follow the links below to see what I do. And if you work with, for, or own a studio, I am probably the designer that you are looking for.

    Check it out and contact me for work.


    My Portfolio –

    My Blog –

  2. C. C. March 2, 2010

    Oh my Rob!! According to those tests in high school, the job I was the most suited for was gravestone engraver!!! I then went through the whole job listing from this test, and animation art was nowhere to be found in the beginning. O__O This is all crap anyway.

  3. C. C. March 3, 2010

    We would do an awesome team XD Maybe we could start a shop of animated gravestones O__O No one ever did that before I guess.

  4. M. M. March 6, 2010

    Would that be 1 frame per gravestone and you gotta run really fast to see it animate?

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