Defining Success

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.

12 thoughts on “Defining Success

  1. I used to define success by how much money I made, and not even in the sense of looking for six figures. I mean the ease of making enough to pay my bills.

    Then, I defined it by flexibility. How much say do I have over my work, when I do it and how much of it I have to do today?

    Now, I define success by my free time. How much time can I spend NOT working and still pay my bills? How much vacation time can I give myself each year? I think this definition will stick with me for some time.

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  2. You and Alexis have such a great outlook! For me (and it sounds like you can relate as well), I have to be in a position that is having a positive impact on my community. Do I wish I was paid more to be a public servant…? Duh. But I am morally fulfilled by the work I do. I’m not sure I would be as satisfied working elsewhere earning more money doing something less impactful.

    With that being said, I wouldn’t have my current job if my husband wasn’t earning as much as he does, which is saying something…

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    1. Yes I definitely feel the same way! I’m also in the position where I’ll be able to choose my jobs based off of satisfaction rather than money as long as I have my partner and he has a job

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  3. With every good thing there is a bad thing coming along with it. In most cases success means cutting out friendships and not having a lot of spare time. It is not for everybody and should not be glorified. I’m glad you’re one of a kind, happiness can’t be measured by money.

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  4. My mom made me get good grades in school. I spent all of my weekends studying and hated it. I wasn’t allowed to do anything fun. I hated university even more – ended up really slacking off because I was studying things I wasn’t enjoying. I ended up taking an entirely different path after realizing my worth was much higher than a job I hated.

    My mom didn’t approve of me of going back to university to study nursing. I have also have a degree in biological sciences, which I still say was a compete waste of time (my mother disagrees haha). I’m now a RN which is something I chose to do rather than what my parents wanted me to do. I define success not by the paycheck but being able to pay the bills and live debt-free. I define success by being able to pick up shifts whenever I want and working as many hours as I need to (flexible schedule). It’s not about the money and yet I’m making way more than I ever did with my previous 2 jobs combined.

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  5. I too have never seen money as a driving factor, and people don’t believe me, yet here I am pursuing a path of fiction. I think it’s great that we all have our different yardsticks. I, for one, have been in corporate for quite a while and can attest to having a different definition for success. Anyway, thanks for this post!

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  6. I feel you. I’m not driven by money at all either, and my partner thinks it’s crazy I only work 4 days a week but i am sooooo happy, and that’s what matters. I’m glad we are able live without stressing about money and defining success by it. You keep doing you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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