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The word career refers to the course of successive situations which go to make up some activity. One can have a sporting career or a musical career, but most frequently "career" in the 21st century references a working existence: the series of jobs or positions by which one earns one's bread.

In the relatively static societies before modernism, many workers would often inherit or take up a single position (a place) in the workforce[?], and the concept an unfolding career had little to recommend it. More recently a plethora of choices and more widespread education have allowed it to become fashionable to plan (or design) a career: in this respect the careers of the career counsellor and of the career advisor have grown up.

For a pre-modernist career structure, compare cursus honorum.

See also: career development, career management[?]


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