Monday, 1 December 2008

Judging career success

When you talk to people about their careers, they may speak in general terms at first but conversations can quickly become deeper and replies get more personal and more meaningful as a result. The next time you are talking about your career or making career decisions, it might help to think about some of the following sentiments.

“My career is ideal for anyone who values their time.”
“I want to end my career with a bang!”
“Freelance work pays the bills but it’s not what I want for the rest of my career.”
“Companies are interested in my experience but I’m no longer enthusiastic about work and it shows.”
“I need a job right now but I don’t want to take anything that will damage my career prospects in the future.”
“It won’t make me rich but I have never been happier at work.”

Looking back on our careers to see how satisfied we are with our achievements, I would argue that the judgement that carries the most meaning is the one we make privately. Traditionally, this was a judgement most people made later in life or on retirement. Today, changes in employer/employee relationships have encouraged a greater number of individuals to take responsibility for their choices at an earlier stage in their careers.

As in the past, we can wait to judge the relative success of our careers when we look back on our achievements later in life. Alternatively, we can look to ourselves earlier in our careers to establish and confirm a personal definition of success and its greater potential for satisfaction and fulfilment over time.

It takes genuine bravery to admit that you don’t know what you want to happen next in your career. The reward for doing so - the only sure-thing if you prefer - is that from the moment you place yourself in this position, you begin to learn invaluable lessons about your career and your individual definition personal success.

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