How to Know When It's More Than a Summer Job

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Although it's always nice to have a job, employees should never force their summer jobs to be something they're not. Some work simply doesn't translate to a career.

"The difference between a job and a career revolves around passion for what the work entails. Jobs are done to satisfy low-level needs like providing shelter and food and paying bills. Careers or vocations focus on doing work because we love it," says Angelo Kinicki, management professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. "So if you find that you aren't excited to go to work, and it all seems like drudgery, then it's probably time to realize that you need to be doing something else."

People often take jobs just for the sake of having a paycheck, says Tom Gimbel, CEO and President of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing firm.

"Just for the sake of having a job, someone takes a position without doing sufficient research on the company or the role," Gimbel says. "Keep in mind, hopping from position to position in a short period of time is never a good idea, however it is important to identify if a position is the right long-term fit. "

It's not always easy to determine the difference between a long-term prospect and a short-term moneymaker, but experts say there are a few telltale signs that your summer job shouldn't follow you into fall.

1. Ask yourself if this is an opportunity you could see yourself working in two, five or even 10 years from now, says Russ Hovendick, founder of career consultancy Directional Motivation.

"In answering these questions you will be better suited to address the question of whether this is a future career opportunity, or just a job that will provide a source of references on your work habits and put money in your wallet for the short term," Hovendick says.

Sometimes your professionalism and work habits will capture the attention of the employer, resulting in them considering you for full time employment. If this hits your career target, great! But if this is just that "money for the wallet" position, it's best to walk away, Hovendick says.