Are You Job Oriented or Career Oriented?

What’s the difference?  For the sake of this posting, if someone is “Career Oriented,” they have an idea as to what type of position they want to be in down the road (timeframe can vary) and have an idea as to what they need to learn or accomplish in order to be qualified for that position.  A “Job Oriented” person is someone who focuses more on their satisfaction with the job they are in today AND for the most part will not consider another job unless they become dissatisfied with their current position.

Many people I talk with today feel like when they are “learning” new things it is good for their career.  For the most part, there is never anything negative about learning new things.  That can only be determined down the road when and if you realize that everything you learned 12 months ago provides little value towards the direction you have finally decided to pursue.

I was talking with a candidate who I have known and talked with every few months for the last three years.  She is VERY strong and experienced at what she does (more experienced than about 85% of her peers in the industry).  For the most part, she was reasonably happy with her job and enjoyed the team she worked with and the manager she worked for.  About 6 months ago, her manager left the company, a replacement was brought in, and ever since then her “job” satisfaction has dwindled.

Two weeks ago she called me when things had finally gotten to the point where she couldn’t leave her job soon enough!  Has anyone reading this ever been at this point?

This is the first time in about five years that she has sat down and really decided what she wants to do with her career.  Her biggest issue is that she is just NOW realizing that she has never consciously thought about her career path.  Like many people I talk with, she never felt the need to do this because she always felt happy or content with her job.  But when her manager left (which was a large part of her job satisfaction) she realized she wasn’t thrilled with the work she was doing.

What’s most frustrating for her is that she knows she does not have the optimal experience to pursue the areas that she is most interested in.  But what’s even worse is that if she would have had this conversation with herself 3 years ago, she knows she could be perfectly positioned for the career direction she would like to pursue.

What I find is that most people that I would call “Job Oriented” don’t realize that they are in this category.

They just go about what they are doing until one day………BOOM…….it hits them that they are not where they want to be.

Now, there are certainly times when a career oriented person will fall into a “job oriented” mode.  Location will keep people in the same job and limit their options.  Being close to retirement vesting will keep you around for another 6 months to a year.  Having kids in high school and not wanting to move them close to graduation could also restrict you to an area for a period of time.

I think this topic is timely because there is a lot of opportunity right now in the world of Healthcare IT.  As seen from Gwen’s post last week, the world of Healthcare IT is even getting exposure at a college graduate level.   I see a lot of people jumping to new positions right now under the notion that “it can never be a bad thing to learn something new.”  But, if you are really trying to manage and guide a career, WHAT you learn is more important than just “learning something new.”

About the author


David Kushan

David Kushan is the President of Healthcare IS and has spent the last 18 years of his career working in the Healthcare Information Technology industry assisting over 120 healthcare organizations nationwide. Visit for Dave’s company blog, articles, podcasts and more.


  • This definitely gives me some food for thought – a good read for anyone, at any level of their chosen career. I’m going to forward this on to the interns who’ve just started their summers with us at Billian’s HealthDATA.

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