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  1. the sequence(s) ofprofessional or occupational positions in the life course of an individual.
  2. (by analogy with 1) any individual pattern or progression in a nonoccupational life course, e.g., the ‘deviant career’ of the drug user (BECKER, 1953) or the MORAL CAREER of the mental patient (GOFFMAN, 1964).
Occupational careers may either consist of a sequenced progression in terms of a hierarchy of status and income (as typical of many middle-class careers, see PROFESSIONS), or lack any clear structure or progression, as is more usual for manual workers. Gender differences affecting access to careers has been a recent topic of importance in the sociology of labour markets (e.g. Dex, 1985). See LABOUR MARKET, DUAL LABOUR MARKET.



rapid and successful advancement in various fields, including public, scientific, and office work; the attainment of recognition, honor, or material rewards. The word “career” is also used to define a type of occupation or profession, such as a career artist or a career doctor. Careerism is the pursuit of personal success in office, scientific, or other work. It is mercenary in its aims and a detriment to the public interest.

References in classic literature ?
While all this petty anarchy was agitating the little world within the Tonquin, the good ship prosperously pursued her course, doubled Cape Horn on the 25th of December, careered across the bosom of the Pacific, until, on the 11th of February, the snowy peaks of Owyhee were seen brightening above the horizon.
And by this time it is to be supposed there was a blush on Polly's cheek, a tender smile about her mouth and a liquid softness in her glance; while the star kept coruscating on Feathertop's breast, and the little demons careered with more frantic merriment than ever about the circumference of his pipe bowl.
As I thus mused, with half-shut eyes, while the sun sank rapidly to rest, and eddying currents careered round and round the island, bearing upon their bosom large, dazzling, white flakes of the bark of the sycamore-flakes which, in their multiform positions upon the water, a quick imagination might have converted into any thing it pleased, while I thus mused, it appeared to me that the form of one of those very Fays about whom I had been pondering made its way slowly into the darkness from out the light at the western end of the island.