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Job vs. Work: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 27, 2023
A job is a specific position of employment in an organization or company, while work refers to tasks or activities performed, often for pay or as a duty.

Key Differences

A job refers to a particular position held by an individual in an organization or company, implying a specific role with responsibilities. On the other hand, work encompasses a broader range of activities or tasks that someone does, regardless of whether they are employed in a specific job.
While a person might say they have a job at a bank, they would describe their day-to-day tasks, such as processing transactions or meeting with clients, as their work. The distinction between job and work in this context is the difference between a role and the activities that fill that role.
A job often comes with a title, salary, and defined responsibilities, implying a formal employment agreement. In contrast, work can exist outside formal employment settings; for instance, a stay-at-home parent might not have a "job" in the traditional sense, but they certainly have a lot of work to do.
Someone can be between jobs, indicating they are currently unemployed, but they can still do work, such as freelance assignments, chores at home, or volunteering.
Importantly, while all jobs involve work, not all work is necessarily part of a job. For example, a hobby, like painting or gardening, might be considered work due to the effort involved, but it's not a job unless it's done for pay or as a designated role.

Comparison Chart


A specific position of employment
Tasks or activities performed


Often refers to formal employment
Can be both formal and informal


Usually salaried
Can be paid or unpaid


Often long-term until resignation or termination
Can be short-term or long-term


"She has a job at Google."
"She has some work to finish tonight."

Job and Work Definitions


A job is a paid position of regular employment.
She found a new job in the marketing department.


Work refers to activity involving mental or physical effort done to achieve a purpose.
He has some work to complete before the deadline.


A job implies a formal agreement between an employer and employee.
She received a job offer with excellent benefits.


Work implies the act of producing, making, or doing something.
The construction workers began their work early in the morning.


A job is often associated with a title.
Her job title is Director of Sales.


Work can exist outside of formal employment.
Volunteering at the animal shelter is the most rewarding work she's done.


A job denotes a particular role or responsibility in an organization.
His job is to oversee the financial operations.


Work can be tasks or duties carried out regularly.
She has a lot of work every day, managing two young children.


A job can be full-time, part-time, temporary, or permanent.
He's looking for a part-time job to supplement his income.


Work is a general term describing effort, whether paid or not.
Writing is challenging work, but it's also fulfilling.


A regular activity performed in exchange for payment, especially as one's trade, occupation, or profession
Her job is doing drug research.


Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something
Cleaning the basement was a lot of work.


How is work defined?

Work refers to tasks or activities performed, often for pay or as a duty.

What is a job?

A job is a specific position of employment in an organization or company.

Can work be unpaid?

Yes, work can be both paid and unpaid, such as volunteer work.

Does every job involve work?

Yes, every job involves some form of work or task.

How does "job satisfaction" relate to work?

Job satisfaction refers to how content one is with their job, which often relates to the nature and conditions of their work.

Is a job title important?

A job title indicates a person's role or position within an organization but doesn't always detail the scope of their work.

How do "job" and "work" differ in usage?

"Job" often refers to formal employment, while "work" encompasses a broader range of activities or tasks.

Can a person have multiple jobs?

Yes, a person can hold multiple jobs, often referred to as "moonlighting" or having "multiple gigs."

Does every adult have a job?

No, not every adult has a formal job, but many engage in various forms of work.

Is "job" always associated with a paycheck?

Typically, a job implies compensation, but there are unpaid positions, like internships, which can also be called jobs.

Can hobbies be considered work?

Yes, hobbies like painting or gardening might be seen as work due to the effort involved but aren't typically considered jobs unless done for pay.

Is volunteering a job or work?

Volunteering is considered work as it involves tasks or activities, but it's not a paid job.

Can you be without a job but still have work?

Absolutely, someone might not have formal employment but still do freelance tasks, chores, or volunteer work.

Can one's job be their passion?

Yes, many people find jobs that align with their passions or turn their passions into jobs.

Is schoolwork considered a job?

Schoolwork isn't a job in the traditional sense, but it is certainly work requiring effort and dedication.

Can one's work change within the same job?

Yes, the nature of one's work can evolve or change even if their job title or position remains the same.

Is a job always long-term?

No, a job can be temporary, part-time, or seasonal.

Are house chores considered a job or work?

House chores are considered work due to the effort and tasks involved but aren't a formal job unless someone is employed, like a housekeeper.

Can work be leisurely?

While work often implies effort, some might find certain tasks leisurely or enjoyable, blurring the line between work and leisure.

What's a "job description"?

A job description outlines the responsibilities, duties, and qualifications required for a particular job.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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