Jobs, Careers and Crafts
Every action we take in our daily lives goes towards either our survival, evolution, or fulfillment. Sometimes it’s the opposite of these, which is destruction, devolution, or torment.
For instance, the mass majority of people around us are waking up early going to perform some function or another so they can be paid wages to afford paying for a place to live, food to eat and clothes to wear amongst many other survivals needs. These activities fall under survival. Being able to live.
Some people will step out of that survival cycle at least for a while to get a degree, master a new skill or simply try a different job. These activities fall under evolution — the simply act of self-enhancing one’s own skills, life, or self in general.
Out of the above two crowds, there are those who take the time to rethink life wholistically. They think about their true purpose, their meaning and what they can do for themselves and others. These are the happiness chasers — they want to extract more value out of every minute of their lives. They consciously work towards unlocking more realms of happiness and fulfillment — sometimes realms nobody has ever visited before!
We were all meant to have a purpose in this life. An idle individual is a sad individual. Purposeless, meaningless, and aimless. Years go by and they see everything around them changing and they are still there — they have no impact on their own lives let go others.
Idle individuals innately know that they were meant to do more — they have a responsibility towards themselves and others, but they choose to stay still and forego it all for the sake of imaginary “freedom”.
These individuals are not all wrong. They are mainly seeking something more than survival and evolution — they are seeking more than just paying some bills and learning new skills. They seek happiness. They seek meaning into whatever they do. They seek purpose!
Where does all that fit into our world today?
Amongst the millions of people that you see waking up early everyday you’ll see some that are tired, sad, and depressed. You’ll see some that are determined, focused and intentional. And then if you look close enough, you will see those who are smiling, happy and fulfilled!
What’s the difference?
The difference here is that some of these people have jobs. Some others have careers. And the few have crafts! Let’s talk about those in detail.
A job is something you do to get paid. Nothing more and nothing less. You do it for survival. You have no plan to do it forever, and you do not care if you lose it the next day because “it’s just a job”.
People with jobs will work just hard enough not to get fired. And they don’t care if they did. They are the least likely to put an extra mile, hour or effort into doing anything properly if that effort they put in doesn’t directly translate into a raise, a promotion or an extra time off.
People with jobs don’t mind doing something half-baked if they can get away with it. They’ll show up late and leave early if “the boss” is not around.
People who just do jobs don’t think long-term vision. They don’t think how what they do could benefit the person that will come after them. They don’t think about any but themselves in all cases and how much they can gain from their jobs.
They are also the very same people that will take advantage of everyone around them. Do whatever it takes to get ahead with more pay even if it meant taking credit for someone else’s work or throwing someone under the bus for their own self benefit.
These types will only learn what they’re told to learn. They will only evolve if they see a need to evolve. You’ll see a lot of those who’ve been around for decades doing the same thing the same way with no intention to change or evolve at any point.
These are also the types that will fight anyone (especially new hires) who bring in new ideas. They see “new” as a “threat”. Because new things meaning having to learn a new skillset or a new activity while getting the exact same pay. It doesn’t make sense to them.
It’s true that some of them will just do the job quietly with no trouble. They want nothing to do with anyone. They just want to be told what to do and they’ll just do it without a question. I call them “brains for hire” — they will only think about the things they were told to think about and never dare to cross those who write their paychecks under no circumstances.
They are the sycophants of the industrial world. They’ll say whatever the boss wants them to say even if they didn’t believe it. They’ll do whatever they’re told to do even if they didn’t know how. Brainless cogs running in a machine ready to grind to death so they can be replaced by another, newer, younger, and “smarter” cog!
If you find yourself doing a job — work harder on moving on to the next level, work hard on evolving into a career. But not for long. We will discuss this in a bit.
A career is a little bit better than a job. It’s something you study for or earn a skillset and practice to be good at. Careerists are those who want to grow for their own self-benefit. Usually, careerists are smarter than the cogs.
Careerists do not mind learning to advance their career. They enjoy getting a new title, new promotion every now and then. They like the extra pay, but they also love the clout and power. Careerists will do whatever it takes to advance their career to gain more power.
The least people careerists care about are those with lower titles or less pay. They see no benefit in knowing these people. They see only advantage of knowing those who have higher titles and better careers so they can learn how to advance theirs.
Careerists see people with the same title or level as theirs as a threat. They generate toxic energy toward other careerists who seem to be closer to “the boss”. They see everything as a competition. They see every task as an opportunity for self-promotion. They don’t mind ceasing every opportunity to get closer to those who can advance their careers and then soon they’ll toss them off when they get what they want.
Careerists are smart people — they are intentional and focused. They wake up every morning talk to themselves in the mirror about “beating the world” and “putting a dent in the universe” — they see everything as war and competition. They do not give themselves or others around them a break. They may forget to take care of themselves for the sake of the false god they worship called “success”. They are the ones that you will see brag about their career history, their connections and sometimes paying off their mortgage or sending their kids to some fancy school.
But deep-down careerists are empty. Their whole life has been a rat race and a relentless chase after a mirage called “success”. They do not really contribute much to the evolution of mankind except when it makes sense for their careers. They will spend more time, extra mile and an extra effort to make sure they gain “visibility” from their leadership. But if what they did has no “visibility” then they will never do it. Even if they know it can advance mankind in one way or another.
Careerists are usually extremely selfish. They always think about their self-image. Little do they try to promote the work of someone else unless in the form of virtue signaling. They care so much about taking credit for work whether they have done it or not.
Some environments celebrate that mindset. Encourage and foster it. They give it names such as “docile”, “coachable” and “career-oriented”. But the problem with careerists is that once they step out of that environment into the real world, they feel meaningless, valueless and useless. That’s simply because the career they’ve been worshipping is only relevant within a certain environment — usually corporations where that behavior is welcomed.
But out there in the open, someone who may be regarded as a successful engineer actually can’t do nothing in the real market. They couldn’t sell an idea to a business, they couldn’t sustain a conversation with other engineers in the open-source space or on technical forums. There are no leaders to appease and no “policies” to follow — it’s just the true value someone can actually bring to the world.
When a careerist career ends, it is as if their life has ended from their perspective. They choose to go down a dark path. A self-destruction spiral where they blame themselves for everything even if their career-ending causes were not really their fault. It feels to them like that because all the skills they’ve earned are only relevant inside the environment that fosters that mindset. But it means nothing out in the open.
Careerists are more easily awakened from their deep sleep in that mentality than Jobists. That’s because Jobists have already cancelled their minds, and shutdown the door on hope — they have surrendered to the fact that they are just cogs in a big machine — and their life is just an endless cycle of sleeping, eating and working endlessly until they are no longer needed. Although I have seen instances where a Jobist change the path of their lives after a wake call (such as this article) and they begin to do something meaningful with their lives — usually they think having a career is the way, but these words are written here to show them that it’s not.
What is the path forward then? What is the way? Let us talk about that next.
A craft is something driven by passion. Something you genuinely enjoy whether you get paid for it or not. Craftmanship is a genuine sincere interest driven by meaning and purpose. Craftsmen always practice and improve their craft with or without cause. Unlike the Jobists they don’t care much about what their craft pays. And unlike the Careerists they don’t much care about the theatrics of self-promotion and visibility to their leadership.
These craftspeople are the main cause of every evolutionary step in the history of mankind. They are the ones that go the extra mile, spend the extra hour and do the extra effort to achieve perfection in their craft and truly achieve genuine success in their efforts.
They don’t care much for celebrating some temporary success. And they don’t mind inviting others to help them no matter how small. They recognize everyone for their efforts but themselves. I’ve seen them say things like: “I’m not good enough” or “There’s still a lot to be done” — they are always focused on the final goal and the true meaning. They are not easily satisfied with their accomplishments, but they surely celebrate accomplishments of others.
Careerists may take advantage of them, use them, claim credit for their work, but they care not nonetheless. A craftsman is the quiet person in the corner busy pushing the wheel forward while others are celebrating temporary wins and fictitious success.
Craftsmen are driven by passion, purpose and prosperity. It’s the feeling of happiness and fulfillment is what truly powers their innovations. They don’t mind being undervalued or underestimated — they know their true worth and what they have to do to accomplish their task towards mankind.
Craftspeople are the true hope for humanity — in an industrial society that’s polluted with hypocrisy, lying and self-promotion — they work tirelessly on pushing humanity to the next level, with love and passion, with perseverance and patience and with every bit of energy that could offer.
And craftsmen are our hope for a better tomorrow. They are the visionary vanguards who will be taking us to places in our evolutionary journey we never even thought of. Their purposes are pure and their intentions are quite clear — the more sincere craftspeople we have the more likely our chances are to survive, evolve and be fulfilled.
Craftspeople are the truth in a world full of confusion — they don’t mind those who disappointed them, betrayed them or went against them. They see their path quite clear, unchanged by temporary wins or superficial success.
I’m always on the lookout for sincere craftsmen — to support them, encourage them and most importantly thank and recognize them. We should all be proud of those who selflessly give their very best to advance humanity, help it survive, evolve and achieve true fulfillment.
Find a true craftsperson — or be one yourself.