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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 ?
A whirlwind had apparently collected its force in our vicinity; for there were frequent and violent alterations in the direction of the wind; and the exceeding density of the clouds (which hung so low as to press upon the turrets of the house) did not prevent our perceiving the lifelike velocity with which they flew careering from all points against each other, without passing away into the distance.
He, in his thought, was careering off in other places, even as the carpenter who as he works whistles and thinks of his friend or his enemy, his home or a saloon.
And what merry times they might have, either taking turns for a gallop, or clambering on the gentle creature, all four children together, and careering round the field with shouts of laughter that would be heard as far off as King Agenor's palace!
A march of nine miles took them over high rolling prairies to the north fork; their eyes being regaled with the welcome sight of herds of buffalo at a distance, some careering the plain, others grazing and reposing in the natural meadows.