We make a distinction between the two, do we not? One merely “lands” a job, whereas we “pursue” a career, implying the arbitrary nature of the first and the delectable interest shown in the second. Yet, the bifurcation of the two is never so stark as night and day, but can often be clouded in the grey of differences: Obviously, a “job” can be a career, and careers can take on many jobs in the upward advancement of one.
Thus, one can begin as a clerk, move into management, and ultimately become the President of a company; and while each job is distinguishable from the other, the entirety of the whole constitutes a “career” that one pursued. Yet, we make the distinction especially when we are in “dead-end” jobs — those employment situations which disallow for advancement either in pay or in responsibilities (although, in some dead-end jobs, the responsibilities continue to expand without any increase in pay, which defines why it is a “dead-end” job because, in the end, you will end up dead by working too hard without a living wage). And, while jobs in their totality and/or continuum of advancements may lead to a career, can a career become merely a job?
That question is rarely, if ever, asked, because careers are generally thought to be an elevated form of the lesser stature of “a job”, and as the higher standard cannot be subsumed or subjugated to the lower, it is normally not a valid consideration. Yet, we talk in those terms, don’t we? We hear statements like, “My career has stalled” or “His career has hit a glass ceiling”, or even, “Her career is going nowhere”.
Medical conditions, of course, can be a key element in the interference of a “career”, and in some sense, of transforming a career into a mere job.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her positional duties, it may be time to recognize that one’s “career” has become a “job” precisely because of the medical condition.
The medical condition is the factor and element which has “stalled” one’s career, and it is time to then prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Employee Disability Lawyer