UnChainedCareer.com 
a California Employment Lawyer's Blog

Disclaimer This Blog is not legal advice; this entire website and its contents are general information for California employees. For legal advice, consult your lawyer or hire me!  No interaction with this website creates an attorney-client relationship or privilege. Copyright Thomas C. Walker, Esq. © 2015-7. All rights reserved.
Job or Career; Does it Matter? (April 2015)
 
In my experience careers were noted by their linear progression: there is a beginning, middle and end.  You progressed as a naive learner,  accomplished performer, to becoming a senior authority and/or resource.  Jobs on the other hand a have a static quality, you are essentially the same resource to the employer on day 5000 as you were on day 1. 

As I got a little older, wiser perhaps, the distinction fell away for me.  Employers are often so big, the availability of talent so apparently plentiful and corporate needs so ephemeral that the modern career sure seems more commoditized and job-like than career-like. The linear progression is often illusionary, or temporary.  

When these career qualities matter and need to be spoken boldly is in the context of negotiating with an employer; at the beginning, middle and end of a career.  Loyalty, security, experience, duration, talent, meaning, knowledge-work, commitment, ambition...all of these qualities are part of the value package and represent leverage an employee brings to the table in trade for the rights, compensation, benefits and privileges of a particular employment relationship..or a release from one's history.  

However, it's also worth remembering that these qualities are not recognized under our laws as transmuting a career employment relationship into anything more than a mere job.  Unless there is a clear contractual promise between the employer and employer that a career means something more than "at will" employment, the career employee is assumed to have the job security of a minimum wage worker.  This is a rude awakening to many "career" professionals. Crazy bosses, mobbing subordinates, sly politics and favoritism, false evaluations and general dirty pool and improper motives are not workable legal claims for a wrongful termination scenario...without something more.  Don't be fooled otherwise. 

As our California Supreme Court announced in Guz * so clearly:  '[T]he courts have not deemed it to be their function, in the absence of contractual, statutory or public policy considerations, to compel a person to accept or retain another in his employ, nor to compel any person against his will to remain in the employ of another. Indeed, they have consistently held that in such a confidential relationship, the privilege [to terminate] is absolute, and the presence of ill will or improper motive will not destroy it.' (9 Williston on Contracts [(3d ed. 1957)] § 1017, p. 134.)" [emphasis added].

As I got a little older, wiser perhaps, the distinction fell away for me.  Employers are often so big, the availability of talent so apparently plentiful and corporate needs so ephemeral that the modern career sure seems more commoditized and job-like than career-like. The linear progression is often illusionary, or temporary.  

When these career qualities matter and need to be spoken boldly is in the context of negotiating with an employer; at the beginning, middle and end of a career.  Loyalty, security, experience, duration, talent, meaning, knowledge-work, commitment, ambition...all of these qualities are part of the value package and represent leverage an employee brings to the table in trade for the rights, compensation, benefits and privileges of a particular employment relationship..or a release from one's history.  

However, it's also worth remembering that these qualities are not recognized under our laws as transmuting a career employment relationship into anything more than a mere job.  Unless there is a clear contractual promise between the employer and employer that a career means something more than "at will" employment, the career employee is assumed to have the job security of a minimum wage worker.  This is a rude awakening to many "career" professionals. Crazy bosses, mobbing subordinates, sly politics and favoritism, false evaluations and general dirty pool and improper motives are not workable legal claims for a wrongful termination scenario...without something more.  Don't be fooled otherwise. 

  As our California Supreme Court announced in Guz * so clearly:  '[T]he courts have not deemed it to be their function, in the absence of contractual, statutory or public policy considerations, to compel a person to accept or retain another in his employ, nor to compel any person against his will to remain in the employ of another. Indeed, they have consistently held that in such a confidential relationship, the privilege [to terminate] is absolute, and the presence of ill will or improper motive will not destroy it.' (9 Williston on Contracts [(3d ed. 1957)] § 1017, p. 134.)" [emphasis added].

*Guz v. Bechtel National, Inc. (2000) 24 Cal.4th 317 , 100 Cal.Rptr.2d 352; 8 P.3d 1089, FN. 8