26: Job vs Career

I luckily found my passion with coffee at the age of 22 and clearly defined it as my long-term career since then. It was the time I couldn’t think of any other job than coffee-related (barista, roaster, beans salesperson, customer service for coffee equipment company, etc) and it was no-doubt my career. “Job and career must be the same” – I believe.

And of course, it only exists in an ideal life when you can earn your living by doing your passion without worrying about anything else. After 4 years experiencing different roles in Vietnam coffee industry, my point of view about job and career changed. At the age of 26, I learnt that:

  • There are many ways to pursue my passion. Also, I can do many jobs to cultivate my career.
  • Life is more than just passion: health care, family responsibility, long term plan, and hobbies. Half of them depends on money.
  • Career doesn’t exist unless you have a job.

Those findings about life gave me a more detailed demonstration about JOB and CAREER (in my case only) :


We all need a reason to do something, wake up everyday for example. More than that, we need a purpose to live, to feel happy, to hope and believe. Japanese call it “Ikigai”.

  • If you’re good at what you love, it’s your passion. But if you’re not paid for that, you’ll feel a bit useless.
  • If you love something that the world needs, it’s your mission. Like superman. He never complains.
  • If you’re good at something which paid you, you have a profession. 
  • If you’re paid for doing what the world needs, it’s us. 
  • If you love and are good at something that this world needs and pays you, wow, it’s rare, but truly happy. 



The diagram below doesn’t show EVERYTHING about each of them, but when I measured the price of each decision, this is my conclusion:

job vs career


This is actually what’s on my mind now. Sadly but true.



I have a strong belief that there should be a win-win relationship between JOB and CAREER. This depends on your own criteria for a job and your mindset of how everything makes sense. If you’re an experience-driven person, the gap between JOB and CAREER becomes smaller and it helps you live easier.

relationship job vs career


During 4 years in college, this is the most common term in our classes. I always thought that it only happened in business or economy until it came to my career. Choosing a job which has nothing to do with coffee means that I have to set aside my hobby/ passion to focus on a new thing. That “new thing” includes new knowledge, new schedule, new life style and new mindset. I spent less time for learning about coffee or networking with coffee people, paid less attention to activities in coffee community and saved that energy to get fit in my new workplace. I know it’s not easy and I’m glad that my hard-work paid off. Now that I’m more skillful with my job and working smarter, I recognized that experiences from this job are totally useful for my coffee career in the future.


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