AskDefine | Define careerist

Dictionary Definition

careerist n : a professional who follows a career

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A person who pursues the advancement of his career as his sole aim, especially if at the expense of personal integrity.
  2. In the context of "mostly|US": A person who regards being a member of the military as a career, rather than an obligation to serve one's country.


  1. Of or pertaining to such a person or way of life

Related terms


  • 1987 Malham M. Wakin - Military Ethics: Reflections on Principles
    A careerist is a square-filler, a time-server. His talents and imagination have been circumscribed to perform managerial duties.
  • 1997 The Changing Roles of Women in the United States
    You get a lot of elite careerist women in the officer corps who have a certain set of desires usually related to their career.

Extensive Definition

Careerism is the overwhelming desire or urge to advance one's own career or social status, usually at the expense of other personal interests or social growth.
Careerism is not simply the desire to succeed. In the work place, careerist individuals are often seen as conniving workers who will stop at nothing to succeed. At the university, college, or even high school levels, careerism is the desire to pursue a career or field of study simply because it carries the prospect of financial stability; e.g., wanting to become a medical doctor because of the luxurious lifestyle that is often associated with the profession. Sometimes, this act is anecdotally referred to as "paying for/buying a degree" (in contrast to attending an institution of higher education for purposes of personal growth or enlightenment, which is what opponents of careerist philosophy believe those institutions should be used for).
Careerists may or may not have any "natural talent" or interest beyond fiscal gain in their chosen fields; these qualities are usually seen as irrelevant.
careerist in German: Streber (Schüler)
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