Should you take a Homographic Approach to your Career Planning?

A Homo what?? Homographs are words that have two distinct meanings. For example: “It’s probably not appropriate if we appropriate their results” or “the august citizen will take office in August” or in the case of career planning, “his career ended after his car was seen to career into the telephone pole.” To verify the homographic (double meaning) nature of “career,” I looked it up in the dictionary and found the following:

“Career: One’s calling in life; a person’s occupation; one’s profession; To move rapidly straight ahead, especially in an uncontrolled way.”

The dictionary also differentiated between one’s occupation and one’s career. Occupation, it said, is “the specific activity with a market value that an individual continually pursues for the purpose of obtaining a steady flow of income”. Career is “the sequence of occupations, jobs, and positions in the life of an individual.”

Research on career patterns published in 2001 followed the occupations and career stability of 170 people over 25 years and found that higher career stability was linked to lower midlife career and job satisfaction.

Putting all this together it seems that if you move rapidly, straight ahead in your career, in an uncontrolled way with a series of occupations you will have higher midlife career satisfaction. But please don’t take the word of an old homographer about this.


Ben Nash is the editor-in-chief of He is the founder and chief developer of the blog, providing tech/design support as well as tips and book reviews. Ben has held many interesting jobs in his professional career, including: barista, landscaper, public policy intern, barista (again), professional horse wrangler, ski lift attendant (aka "liftie"), political science teaching assistant, marketing and sales assistant, and an ecommerce/web d...

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