95+ Career Quotes to Inspire a Professional Life [2020]

A career is a fulfilling part of life. It provides everyone the opportunity to advance themselves, expose themselves to new opportunities, potential learnings, and become a person who can provide value to others. Our careers provide us more than monetary gain (or money). A career is a core part of what makes us motivated in life.

Career Quotes

The best career quotes to inspire a professional career and success. Help a friend by picking a motivational quote or inspirational quote from the list below and send it to them in a text message. Or use it in a thank-you card. An inspiring quote can go a long way when inspiring someone to pursue their career goals and life's pursuits.

1. “Learn how to block out time for you that is just thinking/reflection time. Don't let the busy eat you alive before you notice it's happening. Your reflection time is incredibly valuable!” — Emily Best

2. “I set my career up for longevity and I’m gonna have longevity.” — Juice WRLD

3. “I learned the difference between a moment and a career is evolution. Evolution. You will slow down. You will get old. Your body will fail you. So, you evolve, you change your game, you do what you need to do with the time you got. If not, you go extinct. Evolve or go extinct. Are you ready to go extinct? I learned the difference between a moment and a career is evolution. Evolution. You will slow down. You will get old. Your body will fail you. So, you evolve, you change your game, you do what you need to do with the time you got. If not, you go extinct. Evolve or go extinct. Are you ready to go extinct?” — Xavier Laflamme

4. “Everyone should be sacked at least once in their career because perfection doesn’t exist. It’s important to have setbacks because that is the reality of life.” — Anna Wintour

5. “A lot of people think you look back and you say, 'Wow, what a successful career. It’s just amazing. It’s fantastic.' But I remember the flops, too. Those flops don’t go away.” — Steve Martin

6. “Money can’t buy happiness? I hate that saying. Money helps a lot of people. To pretend that it doesn’t is just woo-woo bullshit. We live in a capitalist society. Money improves people’s circumstances. It just does.” — Jessica Knoll

7. “'I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.” — Stan Lee

8. “The stereotype of the 'struggling artist' doesn’t have to be you (unless you dig that grungy aesthetic).” — Sam Newman

9. “If someone feels like you are their main competition, it means you are good at what you do. They think you are a threat to their success because you could steal their thunder. Take it as a compliment instead of an insult.” — Holly Riordan

10. “Reminder: A creative career is a lot like surfing. Most of it is about paddling like hell, trying not to drown, and waiting for just the right moment to stand. The surfing, although exhilarating, is the rarest, briefest part.” — Delilah Dawson

career quotes

11. “Your career isn't over until you stop writing. If your book flops, if they drop your contract, if they don't buy your next book-- it's not over. Pick a pseudonym, switch genres, self-publish, hybridize. It's not over until you are.” — Delilah Dawson

12. “Are you living your truth? Are you doing what brings you peace and joy? If not, are you really living?” — Iyanla Vanzant

13. “My goal is not to wake up at forty with the bitter realization that I've wasted my life in a job I hate, because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens.” — Daria Morgendorffer

14. “Think carefully, everything after this moment will not only determine your career but life. You can spend it in a corporate office drafting contracts and hitting on chubby paralegals before finally putting a gun in your mouth or you can join my firm and become someone you actually like. So decide: do you want the job or not?” — Annalise Keating

15. “Best career advice that I can give: Don't ever attach yourself to a person, a place, a company, an organization or a project.” — Erica Williams Simon

16. “At twenty-three, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job. This is the beginning and the end of the things you have in common with Oprah.” — Riane Konc

17. “The safest plan, and the one most sure of success for the young man starting in life, is to select the vocation which is most congenial to his tastes.” — P.T. Barnam

18. “When you arrive at the place where you are too concerned with your career that is exactly the moment you must return to your art.” — Jami Attenberg

19. “It is as hard to do small things as it is to do large ones. Do the most you can imagine. Doing the half version will only mean you’ll feel frustrated and keep scratching at the same projects.” — Maria Headley

20. “Deep down, we all know you can’t stand on the top point of a pinnacle on your tiptoes, and not at some point lose your balance, or get tired, or say, 'OK, somebody else take over, I have to go to the bathroom.' There are great things I’ve accomplished in my career and I’d be happy to accomplish more, of course, to impress my children and my husband.” — Julia Roberts

21. “You know, my whole life and career has been championing the rights of women, gay folk, and disenfranchised folk. This administration is a fucking nightmare for us.” — Kathy Griffin

22. “We need to reality-check our expectations. Just because we don't sit down and channel the great American novel in one week doesn't mean we won't be good writers. And we need to remember that behind every 'naturally gifted' person is normally a huge amount of work, dedication and commitment.” — Brene Brown

23. “If you go in the ocean, you have to respect the ocean. You know that you can drown.” — Donald Glover

24. “I always wanted to be a writer when I was younger, but I didn't think it was ever possible, and so I didn't take it seriously or actually even really think about it. This happens, I think, in a lot of fields, including fashion and media and TV, things that seem exciting and far away when you're young.” — Choire Sicha

25. “Success is nothing more than a few disciplines, practiced every single day.” — Mel Robbins

26. “Don’t tell my why you can’t do it. Tell me how you’re going to make it happen despite all the obstacles.” — Mel Robbins

27. “Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It's a shield.” — Brene Brown

28. “His question is not: How many games do you want to win? It’s how good do you want to be?” — Ryan Holiday

29. “Just because it feels good, does not necessarily mean it is good, or right, for you.” — Joel Daniels

career quotes

30. “True success is figuring out your life and career so you never have to be around jerks.” — John Waters

31. “I’ve chosen to financially empower myself so that I never have to be ducking predators and chasing trophies.” — Ellen Pompeo

32. “Do what you love! Do it with passion! If you are never rewarded with money or recognition, you are making a valuable contribution to yourself.” — Iyanla Vanzant

33. “Despite what your left-leaning liberal arts education instilled in you, reading, writing, and creating is a luxury, not a right. Entitlement is thinking otherwise.” — Molly Guy

34. “Most of my career was negative. I accomplished what I set out to do, but I lost my discipline and my career. I got involved in going out. I got by on talent. That was my fatal mistake.” — Pete Maravich

35. “There are two ways to build a career or a business. We can go through life hunting and pecking, looking for opportunities or customers, hoping that something connects. Or we can go through life with intention, knowing what our piece looks like, knowing our WHY, and going straight to the places we fit.” — Simon Sinek

36. “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” — Sigmund Freud

37. “Can you imagine if someone called us a few years ago and said, ‘All right, you're going to have this much money when you're this age. What are you gonna do with it?’ You would say all sorts of fantastical things, right? No one would say, Oh, I would figure out how to make more money and keep working all the time.” — Aziz Ansari

career quotes

38. “The great thing about being in your 20's is that you have absolutely nothing to lose. The worst that can happen is a rejection letter, which you can stash and use as motivation to keep working hard.” — Kali Borovic

39. “Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to a solution.” — David Schwartz

40. “Nothing great was ever achieved without a personal sacrifice. You have to pay the price to realize your goals.” — Lailah Gifty Akita

41. “Remember, a true opportunity never knocks. I have found that I have to go looking for an opportunity – and if I don’t find it, I have to create it.” — Sumner Redstone

42. “If it were easy, everybody would do it. Hard is what makes it great.” — Tom Hanks

43. “The honest truth is that another person’s path to success is not ever going to fulfill you, and it’s probably the honest reason why your best efforts never quite seem to be good enough.” — Brianna Wiest

44. “Everyone I know who is successful loves what they do. The question is: are they successful because they love what they do, or do they love what they do because they are successful? I don’t know. I suspect it’s a combination of both.” — Mike Bloomberg

45. “To reach a certain level of success in any field that you're in, you have to have an ego that's gonna say 'I wanna be the best.' This is what's gonna drive me when it becomes hell or high water. You'll say 'this needs to get done. I need to be successful.'” — Kobe Bryant

46. “Sometimes, you’re going to have to wait years for your effort to pay off — and that whole time, you’re going to have to keep faith in yourself. You’re going to have to hold onto the hope that you can do this, that you’re going to reach your destination eventually.” — Holly Riordan

47. “Most of the time - 99 percent of the time - you just don't know how and why the threads are looped together, and that's okay. Do a good thing and something bad happens. Do a bad thing and something good happens. Do nothing and everything explodes. And very, very rarely - by some miracle of chance and coincidence, butterflies beating their wings just so and all the threads hanging together for a minute - you get the chance to do the right thing.” ― Lauren Oliver

career quotes

48. "Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did." — Newt Gingrich

49. "Overnight success just doesn't happen. You've got to put your time in. You're up and down - all of a sudden, it just clicks" — Anthony Calvillo

50. “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." — Calvin Coolidge

51. "Failure is easy to handle because once you fail, the options are very simple... like, 'Try something different,' or, 'Maybe if you do the same thing, do it in a different way." — Prithviraj Sukumaran

52. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." – Vince Lombardi

53. “We all have different dreams and different worlds we want to dominate. Your favorite food is someone else's phobia. Your dream job is someone else's worst nightmare. Your perfect world is unique to you.” — Jolene Stockman

Career Change Quotes

54. "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward." — Amelia Earhart

55. "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

Career Success and Motivational Quotes

56. "I never dreamed about success. I worked for it." – Estee Lauder

57. "If you are afraid of failure, you don’t deserve to be successful. – Charles Barkley

career quotes

58. "Stop trying to be less of who you are. Let this time in your life cut you open and drain all of the things that are holding you back." – Jennifer Elisabeth

59. "Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. – Maya Angelou

60. "Success is the sum of small efforts - repeated day in and day out." — Robert Collier

61. "I have lots of hidden talents. The problem is, even I can't find them." — Anonymous

Career Development Quotes

62. “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” — Steve Jobs

63. “Don't let your ego get too close to your position so that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn't go with it.” — Colin Powell

64. “Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.” — Tim Berners-Lee

65. “Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile.” — Gary Ryan Blair

66. “You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ― Roy T. Bennett

67. “Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” —Dale Carnegie

68. "Behind every successful man, there's a lot of unsuccessful years." — Anonymous

69. “Sometimes we all need a little motivation in our lives, so I put together this list of inspirational productivity quotes to help get you motivated.” — Abraham Lincoln

Success Quotes

70. “I've learned that it doesn't matter how many times you failed. You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lots of times, and I learned from them all.” — Mark Cuban

career quotes

71. “If you're prepared, and you know what it takes, it's not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.” — Mark Cuban

72. “It's not about money or connections—it's the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone...And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.” — Mark Cuban

Starting a New Job Quotes

73. "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." — Theodore Roosevelt

74. "The expert in anything was once a beginner." — Unknown

75. "I still get the jitters every time I start a new job! I love it -- makes you feel alive." — Camille Guaty

76. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!" — Henry David Thoreau

77. "A new job is not a new beginning. It is a path to create a new ending." — Unknown

78. "To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth." — Pearl S. Buck

79. "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." — Thomas Edison

80. “Massive success has never been the outcome of playing small.” — Edmond Mbiaka

81. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ― Winston S. Churchill

82. "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And 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. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it." — Steve Jobs

Quotes about Career Goals and Career Path Desires

83. "If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid." – Epictetus

84. "You don’t need to win every medal to be successful." – Jason Fried

85. "A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm." – Charles Schwab

86. "Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense." — Paulo Coelho

87. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” — Peter Drucker

88. “Some people's lives are affected by what happens to their person or property, but for others, fate is what happens to their feelings and their thoughts--that and nothing more.” — Willa Cather

89. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

90. “Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

91. "The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

92. “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill

93. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

94. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford

95. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker

96. “Risk something or forever sit with your dreams.” — Herb Brooks

97. “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

98. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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