The longer I work in a corporate field, the more I realize that I define success much differently than some of the people around me. I’ve always known that I view life a little differently than most people. Growing up, my parents were sticklers for good grades, for me going to college, and for me to start working right away.
I wasn’t really a “good grades” type of kid. I put minimal effort into a lot of my school work and pulled away with an A here and there, mostly Bs, sometimes Cs, and once a D (I’ll never forget this terrible French class). I just didn’t see a whole lot of reason to put tons of effort into school. I’m glad my parents pushed me to go to college, I learned a lot socially and technically needed a degree for the field I’m in now. But I don’t necessarily think not going to college would’ve been detrimental to me, I would have found my own way eventually.
I started out in nonprofit because I wanted to help the world. I got paid hourly and only worked part-time which my mom thought was a travesty. But I only actually moved on from the job because the work environment was becoming toxic and many of my coworkers were leaving. I wasn’t driven by money.
Which is clear because I took another job in non profit and even now I think a lot of people would look at my salary and think I’m making pennies.
I know that not everyone has the luxury to not care about how much they make, but I’ve just made life decisions around the fact that money will never be my driving factor, it will never define success for me or make me happier. I don’t want kids, I don’t really want to buy a house, I don’t have long term goals that require tons of savings.
Sometimes I look at women winning awards and getting recognized for their careers and think I’d like to be like them. But I also don’t want to work to be my life. Success to me is being able to actually enjoy my life, not to get sucked into toxic jobs or bad relationships or feeling bad about myself. My career, my title, my salary doesn’t define my success and I feel that I am much happier because of this.