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How much of your "success" do you base on your career?

(66 Posts)
DemiTomato Fri 19-May-17 07:18:44

I was just wondering about this really.

What I'm asking is, do you think you are successful and have done well for yourself primarily based on your job?

If you took the job out if the equation, how would you feel about yourself?

The reason I'm asking is because I am in low paid entry level job and have always thought of myself as a failure based on this because my parents did and i have totally disregarded all the things that I've achieved. I've only realised this recently and just wondered how much weight people put on the job/ career they have.

maggiethemagpie Fri 19-May-17 16:24:39

I'm increasingly beginning to feel like if I don't get further up the career ladder I won't be 'succcessful'. Especially now my children are not in the little baby stage any more so I don't have that excuse.

I have a job that is quite basic compared to what I'm capable of, but well paid and working from home so excellent work life balance. So I think maybe I should just appreciate that, but I am seeing people who were the same level as me five years ago in previous roles now head of department, and it makes me feel like I've got left behind.

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-May-17 16:26:12

I am ambitious, so quite a bit I suppose. Doesn't mean it's tbe right way though, people place different values on different things.

Mise1978 Fri 19-May-17 16:58:18

I love my job. I am good at it. And am proud to have it. So what if I didn't need a four year university degree and I don't earn $100000+ a year? The pay is poor. I take care of most of our vulnerable people in society and that is so much more important than sitting in an office crunching numbers

teefury Fri 19-May-17 17:09:36

None whatsoever. I have never had a career, just some part time/temp min wage type jobs, and I haven't worked at all for the past 18 years. But I'm happily married, financially secure, have a great family, I'm well educated and I have a bunch of achievements not related to work. I'm quite lucky that my parents have never considered a job or career as the basis for success so I don't see it as an essential part of my identity.

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-May-17 17:21:07

Well I sit in an office crunching numbers and i like to think I contribute to taking care of the population as a whole smile

PartII Fri 19-May-17 17:25:13

I was thinking recently that I put too much importance in what I do. I do consider myself 'successful,' and I'm proud of my career, but to the extent that I have let it define me. It's who I am rather than just a job to me.

I'm not sure this is healthy, and I am concerned about how much value I'll feel in myself when/if I need to stop working.

2ducks2ducklings Fri 19-May-17 17:39:01

None really. I enjoy my job and (mostly) like the people I work with. But if I could afford not to work, I don't think I would. Or at least I would reduce my hours. I was promoted quite quickly after I joined, so I suppose I'm a little bit proud of that. But I'm mostly happy that I have my husband and kids and a wonderful (if slightly mad and interfering) family who I know I can rely on for absolutely anything.
Work to live, don't live to work.

AceholeRimmer Fri 19-May-17 17:40:10

Nothing at all as I'm a SAHM.. if I measured my success with work I would feel depressed! Even before having babies I had low paid jobs as I just wanted to pay the bills. I mark my success with trying to have a happy life, raising toddlers who laugh a lot, putting a lot into my relationship with DP and getting through hard times together. Luckily I don't move in circles where people are career minded so never made to feel less successful. My SIL is surrounded by affluent people with careers and feels lesser than them.

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-May-17 17:42:31

Is your dp not career minded?

MiladyThesaurus Fri 19-May-17 19:11:06

I try not to judge myself on my career because, frankly, I'm not very successful at it. (I am paid well but certainly have failed to live up to my potential and cannot see how I will ever get to the point where promotion is a realistic prospect).

DH (same career) is much more successful and definitely does see this as the most important way to be successful.

GetAHaircutCarl Fri 19-May-17 19:19:23

I'm very ambitious in terms of my career and feel enormously proud of the success I've had/am having.

I feel happy that my talent is recognised both in terms of respect and money. Especially since I'm entirely self made.

But there is a whole other raft of stuff that makes me a person of worth; a long and happy marriage, two lovely kids, a great relationship with my mum. I'm proud of all that too.

shaggedthruahedgebackwards Fri 19-May-17 19:23:04

I don't define myself by my profession at all, or by how far up the career ladder I have climbed but I do find that working helps in a wider sense by giving my day to day life some purpose and worth.

Success can be defined in lots of ways though financial security certainly makes life easier but being content, confident, having strong friendships and generally enjoying life tends to be the things that make me think that someone's life has turned out well.

SaintEyning Fri 19-May-17 19:29:56

Interesting thought, OP. I have a fairly senior and high pressure job, but I am thinking about 'downsizing' as I'm a lone parent and my DS needs more of my time now he's at school. My definition of success is changing from my own achievements at work (being a good colleague, meeting/exceeding targets, being innovative, showing a good example) to being a supportive, available parent until he's off to uni/work at 18. And then I will think again. Nice thread!

OublietteBravo Fri 19-May-17 19:33:03

I've been very successful career-wise. Which makes it very difficult for me to tell whether I'd feel successful if this hasn't been the case. I certainly feel very lucky though. I love my job, it's well-paid, and nearly always office hours only (08:15-16:45, Mon-Fri). My salary means I can afford to do lots of nice things in my spare time (and I feel secure as I've got a significant chunk of savings). My hours mean I can spend time with my family. My DC are beyond the toddler years, but not yet into the teenage years. I really can't complain.

Kursk Fri 19-May-17 19:36:57

I feel successful, I have a strong work ethic which helps me outside of work. DH is the same he enjoys his job but works hard at home doing stuff around the house

HeadDreamer Fri 19-May-17 19:37:56

I do and I used to feel quite bad about not earning much and not getting promotions. I see old university friends on LinkedIn and see there titles. Made me feel very bad. Now I'm much happier as I have changed company and had a promotion. So yes I do think it is an important part of my self esteem

GetAHaircutCarl Fri 19-May-17 19:40:37

oubliette indeed it's hard to know.

I have a super healthy level of self esteem so in theory I ought to be the sort of person who would have been perfectly happy if my career had not taken off as it did ( and TBH the chances of it taking off were slim, most people never make any headway in this industry).

But would I? The ambitious part of me probably would have been annoyed/dissatisfied. Maybe?

DrMadelineMaxwell Fri 19-May-17 19:42:13

I'm a teacher. It gives me a sense of pride that I do the job I do.

I am the only person in my family apart from my late Dad who graduated. And he was always proud of me for being a teacher (as well as lots of other fatherly reasons).

On the other hand, I took part time hours when my first DD was born and have only gone full time now my 2nd DD has started secondary school, 15 years later. My 2nd maternity leave coincided with the passing of our dept and I missed out on having acting-dept and the experience that would have given me, handed to me on a plate - seriously, that's how it worked at my school back then. The head even apologised to me for giving it to someone else! (That person is now a head).
Part time, and keeping my head down and just doing my classroom job as well as I could meant I'm really experienced, and bring home a good wage, but am 'only' a classroom teacher.

That's fine. It's what I went into my career to do.

Bluntness100 Fri 19-May-17 19:44:05

No it's not primarily because of my job. I feel not so much I've done well, but that I am lucky. I've been with my husband for 27 years since I was 20,I have a gorgeous, happy intelligent daughter who I am very close to, I have good friends and an active social life, a lovely home and I personally earn a six figure salary.

I grew up in a very dysfunctional family unit in charity housing. Council housing was aspirational and if was due to some awful things that happened.. So I don't ever think I've done well, I just think I'm incredibly lucky and only part of that is due to career.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Fri 19-May-17 19:47:53

Interesting. I used to place huge value on it. I'm in a professional job but now I have DC I am really struggling to make the hours work with school and childcare. So the value I put on it has dramatically reduced. Currently I am in the position of struggling to balance any type of success in my career with being there at home. Don't think I can do both anymore and am seriously looking at scaling work down. I see so many people making the same decisions as they cannot make it work.

Similar thoughts to Saint, I suppose.

hellokittymania Fri 19-May-17 19:54:20

People place far too much importance on what you accomplish and how much you accomplish. I have a disability and run a very small organization. Although the organization is not doing huge things, it does things that everybody can be proud of. I also am really happy and can manage quite well . I have had people say to me, oh well your organization could be a multinational huge organization like the Oxfam Or we could do 30,000 things etc. my organization does well, because it is small and because it's a friendly place, and we can easily do what we need and want to do even though some of us have special needs. If we became a huge organization , we would lose this. It's not how much you do, it's the impact of what you do that counts.

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-May-17 19:58:44

There is a bit of a downer on mn to ambition. It's as if once you have children you should see the light and realise your job is worthless and all that progression you had pre dc (and these women always emphasise how senior they were in the last) is now meaningless

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Fri 19-May-17 20:03:24

Stealth, I hope I don't come across that way. I absolutely don't think my job is / was worthless. I do think in my case thought that family life would be much easier if I could scale it down or afford to reduce hours etc. In my case too most available jobs are not particularly family friendly hours (shift work).

GetAHaircutCarl Fri 19-May-17 20:08:52

stealth I find it prevalent among mothers in RL too.

The idea runs that motherhood should be enough for women. That in fact ambition runs contrary to proper motherhood, the two being contraindicated.

Men on the hand manage to balance too with relative ease.

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