Do you have a job or a career?

Young woman sat at laptop by a window
Young woman sat at laptop by a window

One of the most powerful things I have ever read was an email that landed in my inbox a few years ago, written by a financial guru named Mark Ford. The email looked at the differences between a 'job' and a 'career'.

Job vs career

Ford explained that most people have jobs. They go to work each morning, perform their duties, come home exhausted and look forward to weekends and holidays. Many don't particularly enjoy their jobs, but they work to make ends meet. 40 years pass and then they retire. Life has been half miserable. Doesn't sound great, does it?

Yet Ford's advice was that that life doesn't have to be this way. By ditching your job early on, and replacing it with a career, you could save yourself a lot of misery. Here's a look at the differences between the two:

You work a job to make money. In contrast, you work a career to build something that you value and that others can appreciate or use. With a job, you're always thinking about the time you won't be working. With a career, you're always be thinking about the career, even when you're not working, because it's important to you. Working a job feels like a waste of time. Working a career is a rewarding experience because it's something you care about.

The ultimate test for determining whether you have a job or a career is to ask yourself whether you would do it for free, if you could afford to?

Build your own career

Ford's email hit me over the head like a tonne of bricks. It was a wake-up call. I printed it out, took it home, and re-read it multiple times. And shortly after, I made some big life changes. I left a job that was going nowhere, and began building my own career. And I haven't looked back.

Now, I realise that many people don't have the flexibility to simply quit their jobs. Kids, mortgage payments, and expenses add complications and can keep people locked in their jobs, waiting for their next pay cheque to arrive.

However, there is a financial strategy that could put you on the path to more financial flexibility and potentially help you ditch your job, and spend your time doing something more rewarding. It's called financial independence.

Financial independence

The goal of financial independence is to build up enough wealth to live off, so that you no longer need to work actively to generate an income. By building up a portfolio of assets that generate passive income, you could potentially quit your job and do something you care about. You could say goodbye to the early commute and the 9-to-5, and instead, spend your time building something of value.

If you'd like to know more about financial independence and how it could help you ditch your job and build a rewarding career, take a look at the free report below. Life's too short to spend it working a job you don't enjoy.

Want To Retire Early?

Do you want to retire early and give up the rat race to enjoy the rest of your life? Of course you do, and to help you accomplish this goal, the Motley Fool has put together this free report titled "The Foolish Guide To Financial Independence", which is packed full of wealth-creating tips as well as ideas for your money.

The report is entirely free and available for download today, so if you're interested in exiting the rat race and achieving financial independence, click here to download the report. What have you got to lose?