Career Definition

Job? Career? Calling? At Careers by Design, we take a holistic view, and talk about making well-informed and inspiring “career and life choices.” In this context, and when we use the word “career” in conversation, in our tools, Career Sketch and Career Statement, or in our publications, we define it as follows…

Your “ career” is


full expression Think life, not job! “Full expression” goes beyond work to include volunteer, learning, activities… all you do.


who you are Your desires, strengths, personal qualities, influences, and assets.

and how you

wantMost people know what they don’t want and spend too much time thinking about that. What do you want?

to be

in the world.Where your deepest wishes meet your daily reality.

And, it keeps on

expandingIf you’ve ever thought your career is contracting, think again. There are no mistakes, only expanding clarity about what you now want emerging from past experience.

as it

naturally goes through cyclesIt’s perfectly natural that who you are and what you want changes. Think cycles, circles, and spirals rather than a study-work-retire line.


stabilityWhatever the duration—6 months or 6 years—stability lets you make a difference by sharing your gifts.


change.Whether self- or externally-generated, many reflect back on periods of change as a blessing in disguise, providing career & life clarification

Hover over keywords to reveal clarifying detail. The definition first published

in the textbook cited below. Download, read the chapter, and let us know what you think!

Franklin,M. (2015). CareerCycles: A Holistic and Narrative Method of Practice. In

B.C.Shepard, P.S.Mani (Eds.), Career Development Practice in Canada: Perspectives, Principles, and Professionalism 441-463. Toronto: CERIC.