Defining What A "Career" Means Before Applying For Jobs.

A Fresh Perspective

It is easy to feel defeated when you become newly unemployed or have been for a while. When a person loses their job, grief is a common reaction. Losing a job can be devastating, like other losses faced in life, and it is totally normal to feel helpless or sad. Go ahead, grieve your job loss...

...for a day. And then move on. Every passing day that you sit around feeling sorry for yourself, you miss an opportunity to find a new job and risk falling into depression and becoming lethargic or unmotivated. Period.

Unfortunately, it is not that easy, or else the writing would stop here. It is much easier said than done. This article is to be used for constructing a fresh mindset about your career, to re-frame your thinking about job seeking and unemployment.

Here are five mantras I tell myself:

  • I will not beat myself up over uncontrollable events in my career.

  • I will take responsibility for how I react to events in my career.

  • I will admit failures and identify weaknesses.

  • I will learn from, and commit to improve, any failures or weaknesses I have identified.

  • I will not attach my self-worth to a job title, nor someone else’s definition, expectations, or parameters.

Did you relate to any of those? Say them out loud. It is important because it reminds you that YOU are in control of your career, and no one else. Yes, things outside of your control might happen to you, like being laid off unexpectedly, but ultimately, you are in control of the outcome. Losing the job is not the end. That is not the outcome. How you react is what determines the outcome, which ideally, is a new job.

So, are you ready to go from victim to victory?


1. The act or action of empowering someone or something -- the granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or duties.

2. The state of being empowered to do something -- the power, right, or authority to do something. 

There are thousands of job seeker guides out there. Most of them are written in “How-to” formats and focus on single subjects like writing a resume, interviewing skills, networking, changing careers, finding your purpose, and building your brand.

You cannot work on any of those things unless you are first empowered to act with clear direction. Knowing yourself, creating your story, and defining what the word career means to you, leads to empowerment -- so you can do all those things mentioned above.

What is a Career?

Your career is not your current job. It is not your college major either. And it is not your LinkedIn headline. Your career is -- a collection of experiences gathered over your entire life and summarized into short story form. A career includes all the jobs you have had, going back to your very first, and any college coursework, professional association memberships, volunteer work, and more. Your career is a work of art. A blank canvas to which you constantly add strokes of paint. A marble sculpture you continually shape. A story you write, with plot twists, characters, and settings.

Re-framing my career to be like a work of art has led me to be a more active participant in the trajectory of it. I am the creator of my career. I control the narrative.

I chose art as my career metaphor, but maybe for you it is something else. An ecosystem, a machine, or an architecture. Whatever it is, you are the designer. It is time to start creating your career.

The first step toward empowerment is to re-frame your thinking about what your career is.


Copyright © 2020 by Sarah Mancinho

Social Media: