189 Career Quotes To Motivate and Inspire You

I love a good quote. Quotes can motivate you, inspire you, and give you a new perspective on things. I’ve made a massive list here of career quotes, which are quotes about career, jobs, and success in general.

Whether you’re looking for inspirational quotes for Monday morning, or looking for new job quotes, these should provide a bit of motivation and insight.

I’ve listed them alphabetically by author, and they are not in any other particular order or grouping. I’ve bolded some of my favourites from this list.

  1. Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career. – Abdul Kalam
  2. The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln
  3. Whatever you are, be a good one. – Abraham Lincoln
  4. A musician must make his music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to ultimately be at peace with himself. – Abraham Maslow
  5. The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake. – Alan Greenspan
  6. A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein
  7. Let’s face facts, this is visual medium, there’s a very high premium put on people who are good-looking. But the minute you rely on that you get yourself in trouble. You certainly don’t make a career out of that anymore as an actor. – Alec Baldwin
  8. When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. – Alexander Graham Bell
  9. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. – Alice Walker
  10. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. – Amelia Earhart
  11. Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart. – Ancient Indian Proverb
  12. I think one of the greatest joys I have now in my career and in my profession is to be playing at an age where I can appreciate it more than I used to… It’s a whole different lens you look through the older you get. – Andre Agassi
  13. People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents. – Andrew Carnegie
  14. I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time. – Anna Freud
  15. There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. – Aristotle
  16. One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. – Arthur Ashe
  17. A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. – Arthur Golden
  18. You never stop earning when you do what you love. – Asha Tyson
  19. Opportunities don’t often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them. – Audrey Hepburn
  20. Community colleges play an important role in helping people transition between careers by providing the retooling they need to take on a new career. – Barack Obama
  21. Think not of yourself as the architect of your career but as the sculptor. Expect to have to do a lot of hard hammering and chiseling and scraping and polishing. – BC Forbes
  22. A man may speak very well in the House of Commons, and fail very completely in the House of Lords. There are two distinct styles requisite: I intend, in the course of my career, if I have time, to give a specimen of both. – Benjamin Disraeli
  23. What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team. – Benjamin F. Fairless
  24. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills
  25. You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances are you’ll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous. – Bob Black
  26. A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do. – Bob Dylan
  27. I’m thankful for all the things that this job has given me and my family. But probably the thing that I am most proud of throughout my career is that, not only myself, but my family and the people around me have just been regular people, which we are. – Brett Favre
  28. Sometimes you get caught up in what’s going on around you. The reality is that you are just a regular person. At some point, the career will be over, the bright lights turn off. That can come back to haunt you if you’re not just a regular guy. – Brett Favre
  29. Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward. – Brian Tracy
  30. If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development. – Brian Tracy
  31. Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true. – Brian Tracy
  32. It’s not the days in your life, but the life in your days that counts. – Brian White
  33. Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. – Buddha
  34. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge
  35. When I started the business, I hardly went home. I became very driven about work and about my career. – Calvin Klein
  36. It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career. – Carlton Fisk
  37. Food, love, career, and mothers, the four major guilt groups. – Cathy Guisewite
  38. When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they take better care of it there. – Cecil Selig
  39. You would give up your career if you lost your voice for good, or if the impresarios stopped calling, or the audiences stopped coming. But as long as those things are there, I don’t plan to stop. There is nothing that makes me feel better than to be with my public. – Celia Cruz
  40. Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way. – Charles Bukowski
  41. The first essential in a boy’s career is to find out what he’s fitted for, what he’s most capable of doing and doing with a relish. – Charles M. Schwab
  42. Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. – Charles Swindoll
  43. I don’t believe that the public knows what it wants; this is the conclusion that I have drawn from my career. – Charlie Chaplin
  44. Opportunities don’t happen, you create them. – Chris Grosser
  45. You look for stars. You look for the makeup of artists who can have long lasting careers and who could be headliners. – Clive Davis
  46. John Travolta said he sometimes lets his friends take control of his airplane even though they don’t know what they’re doing. Then Travolta said he often does the same thing with his career. – Conan O’Brien
  47. Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Confucius
  48. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop – Confucius
  49. You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do. – Confucius
  50. Criticism of others is futile and if you indulge in it often you should be warned that it can be fatal to your career. – Dale Carnegie
  51. Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood… Make big plans; aim high in hope and work. – Daniel Burnham
  52. Don’t ever let economic alone determine your career or how you spend the majority of your time. – Denis Waitley
  53. Old soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier in that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the sight to see that duty. – Douglas MacArthur
  54. The worst days of those who enjoy what they do, are better than the best days of those who don’t. – E. James Rohn
  55. The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career! – Earl Nightingale
  56. Work to become, not to acquire. – Elbert Hubbard
  57. Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt
  58. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. – Eleanor Roosevelt
  59. You are as amazing as you let yourself be. Let me repeat that. You are as amazing as you let yourself be. – Elizabeth Alraune
  60. A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both. – Francoise Rene Auguste Chateaubriand
  61. The best revenge is massive success. – Frank Sinatra
  62. People have an idea that one is in control of a career, a lot more than you really are. You can engineer things to an extent. But you are at the mercy of what comes in across the desk. – Gary Oldman
  63. The harder I practice, the luckier I get. – Gary Player
  64. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. – General George Patton
  65. He knows nothing; he thinks he knows everything – that clearly points to a political career. – George Bernard Shaw
  66. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them. – George Bernard Shaw
  67. It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot
  68. The best augury of a man’s success in his profession is that he thinks it the finest in the world. – George Eliot
  69. Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it. – George Lucas
  70. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. – George Santayana
  71. But the problem is that when I go around and speak on campuses, I still don’t get young men standing up and saying, How can I combine career and family? – Gertrude Stein
  72. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. – Gloria Steinem
  73. I’ve yet to be on a campus where most women weren’t worrying about some aspect of combining marriage, children, and a career. I’ve yet to find one where many men were worrying about the same thing. – Gloria Steinem
  74. The word career is a divisive word. It’s a word that divides the normal life from business or professional life. – Grace Paley
  75. A good manager is a man who isn’t worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him. – H. S. M. Burns
  76. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing. – H. Stanley Judd
  77. Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. – Harriet Beecher Stowe
  78. I can not do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do. – Helen Keller
  79. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right – Henry Ford
  80. Risk something or forever sit with your dreams – Herb Brooks
  81. Don’t confuse having a career with having a life. – Hillary Clinton
  82. The darkest day in a man’s career is that wherein he fancies there is some easier way of getting a dollar than by squarely earning it. – Horace Greeley
  83. Any woman who has a career and a family automatically develops something in the way of two personalities, like two sides of a dollar bill, each different in design. Her problem is to keep one from draining the life from the other. – Ivy Baker Priest
  84. I don’t want to be an action star, an action star’s life is so short. I want my life to get longer, I want my career to get longer. – Jackie Chan
  85. A political career brings out the basest qualities in human nature. – James Bryce
  86. If the career you have chosen has some unexpected inconvenience, console yourself by reflecting that no career is without them. – Jane Fonda
  87. Fall seven times, stand up eight. – Japanese proverb
  88. People don’t choose their careers; they are engulfed by them. – John Dos Passos
  89. There are costs and risks to a program of action, but they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction. – John F. Kennedy
  90. Desire! That’s the one secret of every man’s career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents. Desire. – Johnny Carson
  91. I’d just thank the people out there who have been with my up-and-down, weird-road, strange career and supported me and stuck with me all these years. I mean, they’re my boss. That’s what keeps me working. – Johnny Depp
  92. I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything. – Jon Stewart
  93. Every writing career starts as a personal quest for sainthood, for self-betterment. Sooner or later, and as a rule quite soon, a man discovers that his pen accomplishes a lot more than his soul. – Joseph Brodsky
  94. If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. – Joseph Campbell
  95. My life, my career has been like a roller coaster. I’ve either been an enormous success or just a down-and-out failure. – Judy Garland
  96. Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for it. – Katharine Whitehorn
  97. Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your two easrs – Laird Hamilton
  98. When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be – Lao Tzu
  99. If the wind will not serve, take to the oars. – Latin Proverb
  100. The decisions you make about your work life are especially important, since most people spend more of their waking lives working than doing anything else. Your choices will affect, not only yourself and those closest to you, but in some way the whole world. – Laurence G. Boldt
  101. Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. – Les Brown
  102. In the early days all I hoped was to make a living out of what I did best. But, since there’s no real market for masturbation I had to fall back on my bass playing abilities. – Les Claypool
  103. I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it. – Lou Holtz
  104. Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. – M. Scott Peck
  105. You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. – Mae West
  106. I wanted to do two things when I was growing up, about your age. I wanted to play in the NBA, and I wanted to be a businessman after my basketball career was over, and that is what I am doing now. – Magic Johnson
  107. The future depends on what you do today. – Mahatma Gandhi
  108. I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career. Well, it has not been easy. – Marie Curie
  109. The past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future. – Marilyn Ferguson
  110. A career is born in public – talent in privacy. – Marilyn Monroe
  111. A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night. – Marilyn Monroe
  112. Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are. – Marilyn Monroe
  113. Like I said, a 30-year-old hockey player, even when I came to New York when I was 30, I was on the downside of my career, pretty much the end of my career. – Mark Messier
  114. To find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then to work hard at it, is about as near to a formula for success and happiness as the world provides. One of the fortunate aspects of this formula is that, granted the right career has been found, the hard work takes care of itself. Then hard work is not hard work at all. – Mark Sullivan
  115. All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure. – Mark Twain
  116. Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too can become great. – Mark Twain
  117. There is no security in life, only opportunity. – Mark Twain
  118. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  119. Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it. – Marva Collins
  120. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou
  121. One of the cruelest judgments sustained against me is that I have spoken out as a recovered alcoholic to stimulate my acting career. – Mercedes McCambridge
  122. I have a very busy life, and not many people who have a career and four kids go out a lot to the movies. – Meryl Streep
  123. I want a big career, a big man, and a big life. You have to think big – that’s the only way to get it… I just couldn’t stand being anonymous. – Mia Farrow
  124. I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan
  125. And in my own life, in my own small way, I’ve tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That’s why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us – no matter what our age or background or walk of life – each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation. – Michelle Obama
  126. I should think that being my old lady would be all the satisfaction or career any woman needs. – Mick Jagger
  127. If you don’t wake up in the morning excited to pick up where you left your work yesterday, you haven’t found your calling yet. – Mike Wallace
  128. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, only assholes do that. – Murakami
  129. No man can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like. – Napoleon Hill
  130. The strongest oak tree of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun. – Napoleon Hill
  131. There is no passion to be found in playing small—in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living. – Nelson Mandela
  132. I am going to spend my time today just thanking the people that played a role in my career, because I truly do believe that I was blessed by a lot of people that paths crossed mine as I went down the road in my career. – Nolan Ryan
  133. Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. – Norman Vincent Peale
  134. A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  135. I was once agraid of people saying, “Who does she think she is?” Now I have the courage to stand and say, “This is who I am.” – Oprah Winfrey
  136. Analyzing what you haven’t got as well as what you have is a necessary ingredient of a career. – Orison Swett Marden
  137. Your outlook upon life, your estimate of yourself, your estimate of your value are largely colored by your environment. Your whole career will be modified, shaped, molded by your surroundings, by the character of the people with whom you come in contact every day… – Orison Swett Marden
  138. Each of the professions means a prejudice. The necessity for a career forces every one to take sides. We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid. – Oscar Wilde
  139. It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction. – Pablo Picasso
  140. When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. – Patanjali
  141. For many people a job is more than an income – it’s an important part of who we are. So a career transition of any sort is one of the most unsettling experiences you can face in your life. – Paul Clitheroe
  142. Communication–the human connection–is the key to personal and career success. – Paul J. Meyer
  143. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. – Philip Stanhope
  144. Fans made me. The fans gave me a chance, and they made me. Beyond that, my career has been trials and tribulations and ups and downs, so I have to have true fans riding with me. – Puff Daddy
  145. A little integrity is better than any career. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  146. Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  147. Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  148. Each man has his own vocation; his talent is his call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  149. Faithful servants never retire. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God. – Rick Warren
  150. I believe you are your work. Don’t trade the stuff of your life, time, for nothing more than dollars. That’s a rotten bargain. – Rita Mae Brown
  151. Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. – Robert F. Kennedy
  152. By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day. – Robert Frost
  153. The difference between a job and a career is the difference between forty and sixty hours a week. – Robert Frost
  154. Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet. – Robert H. Schuller
  155. Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could possibly have imagined. – Roger Caras
  156. I haven’t strength of mind not to need a career. – Ruth Benedict
  157. If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try. – Seth Godin
  158. If you have time to judge other people, you have way too much time on your hands. Get off your ass and do something meaningful. – Shane Gibson
  159. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on. – Sheryl Sandberg
  160. A good deed here, a good deed there, a good thought here, a good comment there, all added up to my career in one way or another. – Sidney Poitier
  161. To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work. – Sister Mary Lauretta
  162. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. – Stephen Covey
  163. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. – Steve Jobs
  164. I’m playing; I’m here. I’m going to fight until they tell me they don’t want me any more. – Steve Nash
  165. As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug’s game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing. – T. S. Eliot
  166. Trust not what inspires other members of society to choose a career. Trust what inspires you. From this decision alone will come over a third of your satisfaction or misery in your life. – The Lazy Person’s Guide to Success
  167. Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it. – Theodore Roosevelt
  168. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. – Thomas A. Edison
  169. I’m a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it. – Thomas Jefferson
  170. Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small. – Tim Ferriss
  171. If you don’t build your dream. Someone will hire you to help build theirs. – Tony Gaskins
  172. Forget the risk and take the fall, if it’s what you want, then it’s worth the fall. – Unknown
  173. Go where you are celebrated—not tolerated. If they can’t see the real value of you, it’s time for a new start. – Unknown
  174. Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have. – Unknown
  175. If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission – Unknown
  176. Never tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon. – Unknown
  177. Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise. – Unknown
  178. Talents are common, everyone has them – but rare is the courage to follow our talents where they lead. – Unknown
  179. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy – Unknown
  180. You will never feel 100% ready when an opportunity arises. So just do it. – Unknown
  181. If you follow the crowd, you will likely get no further than the crowd. If you walk alone, you’re likely to end up in places no one has ever been before. Being an achiever is not without its difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt. The unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they’ll simply say it was obvious to everyone all along. You have two choices in life. You can dissolve into the main stream, or you can choose to become an achiever and be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no else but you can be. – Unknown
  182. All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney
  183. If you can dream it, you can do it. – Walt Disney
  184. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky
  185. And I don’t believe that I have to stay on one side of the fence or the other. I don’t believe that there is any good career move or bad career move. I believe there are only the things that make me happy. – Whoopi Goldberg
  186. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. – William James
  187. If you’re going through hell, keep going – Winston Churchill
  188. Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill
  189. You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are – Yogi Bhajan


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